29 CFR § 4.101 - Official rulings and interpretations in this subpart.

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§ 4.101 Official rulings and interpretations in this subpart.

(a) The purpose of this subpart is to provide, pursuant to the authority cited in § 4.102, official rulings and interpretations with respect to the application of the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act for the guidance of the agencies of the United States and the District of Columbia which may enter into and administer contracts subject to its provisions, the persons desiring to enter into such contracts with these agencies, and the contractors, subcontractors, and employees who perform work under such contracts.

(b) These rulings and interpretations are intended to indicate the construction of the law and regulations which the Department of Labor believes to be correct and which will be followed in the administration of the Act unless and until directed otherwise by Act of Congress or by authoritative ruling of the courts, or if it is concluded upon reexamination of an interpretation that it is incorrect. See for example, Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134 (1944); Roland Co. v. Walling, 326 U.S. 657 (1946); Endicott Johnson Corp. v. Perkins, 317 U.S. 501, 507-509 (1943); Perkins v. Lukens Steel Co., 310 U.S. 113, 128 (1940); United States v. Western Pacific Railroad Co., 352 U.S. 59 (1956). The Department of Labor (and not the contracting agencies) has the primary and final authority and responsibility for administering and interpreting the Act, including making determinations of coverage. See Woodside Village v. Secretary of Labor, 611 F. 2d 312 (9th Cir. 1980); Nello L. Teer Co. v. United States, 348 F.2d 533, 539-540 (Ct. Cl. 1965), cert. denied, 383 U.S. 934; North Georgia Building & Construction Trades Council v. U.S. Department of Transportation, 399 F. Supp. 58, 63 (N.D. Ga. 1975) (Davis-Bacon Act); Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. McLucas, 364 F. Supp. 750, 769-72 (D.N.J. 1973); and 43 Atty. Gen. Ops. __ (March 9, 1979); 53 Comp. Gen. 647, 649-51 (1974); 57 Comp. Gen. 501, 506 (1978).

(c) Court decisions arising under the Act (as well as under related remedial labor standards laws such as the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act) which support policies and interpretations contained in this part are cited where it is believed that they may be helpful. On matters which have not been authoritatively determined by the courts, it is necessary for the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator to reach conclusions as to the meaning and the application of provisions of the law in order to carry out their responsibilities of administration and enforcement (Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134 (1944)). In order that these positions may be made known to persons who may be affected by them, official interpretations and rulings are issued by the Administrator with the advice of the Solicitor of Labor, as authorized by the Secretary (Secretary's Order No. 16-75, Nov. 21, 1975, 40 FR 55913; Employment Standards Order No. 2-76, Feb. 23, 1976, 41 FR 9016). These interpretations are a proper exercise of the Secretary's authority. Idaho Sheet Metal Works v. Wirtz, 383 U.S. 190, 208 (1966), reh. den. 383 U.S. 963 (1966). References to pertinent legislative history, decisions of the Comptroller General and of the Attorney General, and Administrative Law Judges' decisions are also made in this part where it appears they will contribute to a better understanding of the stated interpretations and policies.

(d) The interpretations of the law contained in this part are official interpretations which may be relied upon. The Supreme Court has recognized that such interpretations of the Act “provide a practical guide to employers and employees as to how the office representing the public interest in its enforcement will seek to apply it” and “constitute a body of experience and informed judgment to which courts and litigants may properly resort for guidance” (Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134 (1944)). Interpretations of the agency charged with administering an Act are generally afforded deference by the courts. (Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424, 433-34 (1971); Udall v. Tallman, 380 U.S. 1 (1965).) Some of the interpretations in this part relating to the application of the Act are interpretations of provisions which appeared in the original Act before its amendments in 1972 and 1976. Accordingly, the Department of Labor considers these interpretations to be correct, since there were no amendments of the statutory provisions which they interpret. (United States v. Davison Fuel & Dock Co., 371 F.2d 705, 711-12 (C.A. 4, 1967).)

(e) The interpretations contained herein shall be in effect until they are modified, rescinded, or withdrawn. This part supersedes and replaces certain interpretations previously published in the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations as part 4 of this chapter. Prior opinions, rulings, and interpretations and prior enforcement policies which are not inconsistent with the interpretations in this part or with the Act as amended are continued in effect; all other opinions, rulings, interpretations, and enforcement policies on the subjects discussed in the interpretations in this part, to the extent they are inconsistent with the rules herein stated, are superseded, rescinded, and withdrawn.

(f) Principles governing the application of the Act as set forth in this subpart are clarified or amplified in particular instances by illustrations and examples based on specific fact situations. Since such illustrations and examples cannot and are not intended to be exhaustive, or to provide guidance on every problem which may arise under the Act, no inference should be drawn from the fact that a subject or illustration is omitted.

(g) It should not be assumed that the lack of discussion of a particular subject in this subpart indicates the adoption of any particular position by the Department of Labor with respect to such matter or to constitute an interpretation, practice, or enforcement policy. If doubt arises or a question exists, inquiries with respect to matters other than safety and health standards should be directed to the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20210, or any regional office of the Wage and Hour Division. Safety and health inquiries should be addressed to the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20210, or to any OSHA regional office. A full description of the facts and any relevant documents should be submitted if an official ruling is desired.

[48 FR 49762, Oct. 27, 1983, as amended at 82 FR 2225, Jan. 9, 2017]

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