29 CFR § 5.32 - Overtime payments.

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§ 5.32 Overtime payments.

(a) The act excludes amounts paid by a contractor or subcontractor for fringe benefits in the computation of overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, and the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act whenever the overtime provisions of any of these statutes apply concurrently with the Davis-Bacon Act or its related prevailing wage statutes. It is clear from the legislative history that in no event can the regular or basic rate upon which premium pay for overtime is calculated under the aforementioned Federal statutes be less than the amount determined by the Secretary of Labor as the basic hourly rate (i.e. cash rate) under section 1(b)(1) of the Davis-Bacon Act. (See S. Rep. No. 963, p. 7.) Contributions by employees are not excluded from the regular or basic rate upon which overtime is computed under these statutes; that is, an employee's regular or basic straight-time rate is computed on his earnings before any deductions are made for the employee's contributions to fringe benefits. The contractor's contributions or costs for fringe benefits may be excluded in computing such rate so long as the exclusions do not reduce the regular or basic rate below the basic hourly rate contained in the wage determination.

(b) The legislative report notes that the phrase “contributions irrevocably made by a contractor or subcontractor to a trustee or to a third person pursuant to a fund, plan, or program” was added to the bill in Committee. This language in essence conforms to the overtime provisions of section 7(d)(4) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended. The intent of the committee was to prevent any avoidance of overtime requirements under existing law. See H. Rep. No. 308, p. 5.


(1) The act permits a contractor or subcontractor to pay a cash equivalent of any fringe benefits found prevailing by the Secretary of Labor. Such a cash equivalent would also be excludable in computing the regular or basic rate under the Federal overtime laws mentioned in paragraph (a). For example, the W construction contractor pays his laborers or mechanics $3.50 in cash under a wage determination of the Secretary of Labor which requires a basic hourly rate of $3 and a fringe benefit contribution of 50 cents. The contractor pays the 50 cents in cash because he made no payments and incurred no costs for fringe benefits. Overtime compensation in this case would be computed on a regular or basic rate of $3.00 an hour. However, in some cases a question of fact may be presented in ascertaining whether or not a cash payment made to laborers or mechanics is actually in lieu of a fringe benefit or is simply part of their straight time cash wage. In the latter situation, the cash payment is not excludable in computing overtime compensation. Consider the examples set forth in paragraphs (c)(2) and (3) of this section.

(2) The X construction contractor has for some time been paying $3.25 an hour to a mechanic as his basic cash wage plus 50 cents an hour as a contribution to a welfare and pension plan. The Secretary of Labor determines that a basic hourly rate of $3 an hour and a fringe benefit contribution of 50 cents are prevailing. The basic hourly rate or regular rate for overtime purposes would be $3.25, the rate actually paid as a basic cash wage for the employee of X, rather than the $3 rate determined as prevailing by the Secretary of Labor.

(3) Under the same prevailing wage determination, discussed in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, the Y construction contractor who has been paying $3 an hour as his basic cash wage on which he has been computing overtime compensation reduces the cash wage to $2.75 an hour but computes his costs of benefits under section 1(b)(2)(B) as $1 an hour. In this example the regular or basic hourly rate would continue to be $3 an hour. See S. Rep. No. 963, p. 7.