Legislative and Executive Developments

Seyfarth’s Construction team is pleased to announce the release of our 2023-2024 edition of the 50 State Lien Law Notice Requirements Guide. The Guide provides the general time requirements for filing lien notices in each state, plus Washington, DC.

Seyfarth’s Construction team prepared the survey for use by owners, commercial contractors, and real estate developers

Less than a month after taking effect, the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) broad changes to the regulations implementing Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (“DBRA”) are facing legal challenges in two federal courts. These newly-filed lawsuits could change things for those trying to navigate the new regulatory landscape. Contractors on DBRA-covered contracts should keep an eye out

On August 8, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its final rule related to the Davis-Bacon Act (the “Act”), entitled “Updating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations.”  However, the official final rule must be published in the Federal Register – likely by week’s end – before going into effect 60 days after publication.

DOL issued its notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) in March 2022 and received more than 40,000 comments from interested stakeholders. Evaluating and addressing those comments took the better part of a year, as DOL did not send the rule to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA”) for White House approval until December 16, 2022.  After languishing for months, OIRA has now concluded its review, allowing DOL to move forward with its final rule.Continue Reading Break out the Neon: ‘80s Era Davis-Bacon “Prevailing Wage” Definition Restored in DOL Final Rule

Seyfarth Synopsis: On January 10, 2023, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released for public comment its draft 2023-2027 Strategic Enforcement Plan (“SEP”)—a document that will guide the Commission’s enforcement priorities for the next five years. The EEOC’s prior Strategic Plan described how it would pursue its enforcement goals. (See our earlier blog on the Strategic Plan here). The Strategic Enforcement Plan, on the other hand, describes what the EEOC’s enforcement priorities will be. Earlier actions by the EEOC suggested that it might be turning its attention to the construction industry. In the SEP, the EEOC makes its intentions explicit, putting the construction industry—and especially those receiving federal funding—squarely in its sights.

History of the SEP

The EEOC’s first SEP covered Fiscal Years 2013-2016 (the EEOC’s fiscal years begin on October 1) and identified six broad subject-matter priorities. The EEOC’s second SEP set the course for enforcement priorities for FY2017-2022. The latest proposed SEP, published in the Federal Register for comment for the first time, provides notable additional details that put the employer community on notice of the Commission’s intentions for FY2023-2027.[1]Continue Reading The EEOC Targets Construction Industry For Heightened Enforcement

While China commands the media spotlight in the global war on trade, new trade battles are being waged south of the equator. On Monday December 2, 2019, President Trump announced that he would reinstate tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Argentina and Brazil amid accusations that those countries have been engaging in a “massive devaluation of their currencies.” The President’s announcement, which came via Twitter, also urged the Federal Reserve to take measures to counter foreign currency devaluation, which negatively impacts US manufacturers and farmers ability to fairly export their goods.

Details of the new mandate are unclear as the White House has yet to release an order explaining the changes. Although the US started imposing global tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum in 2018 on countries such as China, certain countries, including Brazil and Argentina, were quick to negotiate exemptions from the tariffs in the form of duty-free quotas. The President’s mandate comes on the heels of softening economies and weaker currencies in Brazil and Argentina, which has the effect of making farm goods in those countries cheaper than US farm production.
Continue Reading President Trump to Restore Tariffs on Aluminum and Steel Imports from Brazil and Argentina

On September 18, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed California’s Assembly Bill 5 (“AB 5”). This landmark bill takes effect on January 1, 2020, and will require gig economy workers to be reclassified as employees instead of independent contractors. As it relates to the construction industry, AB 5 provides that the “relationship between a contractor and an individual performing work pursuant to a subcontract in the construction industry” shall be governed by pre-existing law, provided that the contractor satisfies seven new criteria set forth in AB 5.[1]  AB 5 also includes an exception for certain construction trucking services performed prior to January 1, 2022,[2]  as well as active California licensed architects and engineers.[3]
Continue Reading Update on California Assembly Bill 5 and its Potential Impact on Construction Contractors and Subcontractors

The Illinois Contractor Prompt Payment Act, 815 ILCS 603/1, et seq. (the “Act”) was first enacted in 2007 and designed to safeguard contractors and subcontractors on private projects by providing a mechanism to expedite payments for work performed. The Act applies to all private construction projects in Illinois, except those involving single family residences or multiple family residences with twelve or fewer units in a single building. With the Act, Illinois joined a growing number of states that had enacted similar legislation.

On August 20, 2019, Illinois amended the Act and again joined a growing number of states that are expanding their protections for contractors, this time by restricting the amount of retainage that may be withheld on a construction project. The amendment, codified at 815 ILCS 603/20, imposes a ten percent (10%) cap on the amount of retainage that may be withheld and reduces that cap to five percent (5%) once the project is fifty percent (50%) complete. Specifically, the Act provides:
Continue Reading Illinois Expands Protections Under the Contractor Prompt Payment Act by Imposing New Restrictions on Retainage

26 days and counting, the partial government shutdown has left many federal employees with an endless weekend and no paycheck. While those workers grapple with the financial hardship and uncertainty as Congress and the Administration try to reconcile their differences, contractors working under a government contract may be forced to deal with their own issues.
Government contractors may feel the impact of the shutdown in three primary ways: (1) availability of funds, (2) financing performance of the contract, and (3) handling financial responsibility for an idle workforce.

Continue Reading Don’t Shut Me Down: Tips For Federal Contractors During A Government Shutdown