PA AG presses DOL to require more documentation from contractors on public projects

03 April 2024- Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry announces, along with 13 other state Attorneys General, a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor calling for more detail on payroll forms submitted by contractors regarding workers on public projects.

The existing forms do not require comprehensive information to be provided regarding pay, deductions, and benefits — which makes it easier for employers to break fair labor laws without detection.

More detailed forms would enable state enforcers and investigative agencies to better identify violations of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, which are in place to protect workers from unfair labor practices like wage theft and fraud.

“Requiring employers to report more about their workers and their compensation will help Pennsylvania laborers and their families by ensuring they get the pay and benefits they deserve,” Attorney General Henry said. “I commend the partner states who stand with me in this endeavor to make it harder for deceitful employers to skirt the law and line their pockets by taking from workers.”

Attorney General Henry led the effort — joined by Attorneys General of Colorado, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, and Rhode Island.

The letter, which was sent March 29, states that misusers of the current reporting system concoct “complex schemes” to misappropriate fringe benefit funds or take unlawful deductions to reduce workers’ pay.

In one Pennsylvania case, an employer forced electricians and plumbers to record a portion of their hours as laborers (according to predetermined ratios). The contractor stole $64,000 through the scheme.

These schemes often cause substantial losses to workers and are difficult to detect under the current reporting system. The states, in their letter, ask the Department of Labor to require:

  • Disclosure of hourly rate equivalents claimed for each type of benefit the employer provides. Employers should be required to provide an hourly rate equivalent for each benefit claimed.
  • Information about the benefit plans provided. Employers should be required to disclose whether benefits provided are self-funded or unfunded plans.
  • Itemization of deductions. Mandating employers to itemize deductions from workers’ pay.