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Federal Mandates Requiring Strict Contractor Compliance


Contractors must consider the legal obligations they owe to varying parties when commencing a construction project.  They have a responsibility to the owner of the project, the workers including all subcontractors, and to the public–in the local sense and at-large.  There are environmental considerations as well as utility, zoning, and permitting considerations.  The larger the project, the more the workers.  More care is required with a large workforce given how easy it can be to lose track of employees.   Outside of the state and local laws that regulate the workers, the contractor is required to be in strict compliance with federal mandates.

Wage & Hour Laws

The Department of Labor (DOL) requires employers to pay certain employees overtime pay of “time and a half” for work that surpasses a certain amount of hours.  The DOL also regulates the conditions in which an employee can work as well as other laws covering child labor.  The DOL administers and enforces these directives under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Wage & Hour Division of the DOL typically utilizes the help of investigators to gather wage, conditions, and other information regarding a suspect employer to determine compliance. If non-compliance is determined, the employer will have an opportunity to redress the issue.  However, willful non-compliance can result in a hefty fine and possible criminal prosecution.

Occupational Safety & Health 

Naturally, the construction industry is heavily regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) .  OSHA is another government agency within the DOL. OSHA passes health and safety regulations that govern the workplace and it ensures state adherence on the local level. In addition, OSHA has a compliance division that audits and investigates employers for possible non-compliance. In the construction industry, compliance with OSHA standards is imperative to the safety of workers and the public. In 2016, OSHA released a list of leading hazards on construction sites. The list included hazards pertaining to falls, excavation and electrical work.

Workers’ Compensation

In short, workers’ compensation is a programmatic system, which stems from federal laws that protect people who become injured or disabled while working at their jobs. Although workers’ compensation flows from federal laws, the ones affecting most construction workers are state-run compensation schemes.  Workers’ compensation is important on construction sites given the daily dangers inherent in the industry.  Non-compliance with state-run workers’ compensation programs can cause an investigation, which can result in fines or criminal prosecution.  That is because the employer is obligated to perform certain responsibilities before the employee can access the program. For example, the employer is required to give the employee notice of his or her coverage and inform them of all the obligations under the insurance. 

Contact Our Attorneys Today for Help

Fort Lauderdale construction attorney Brendan Sweeney has years of experience advising clients on federal and state compliance issues.  Sweeney Law is highly experienced in this area and is ready to guide you through your rights and obligations as a contractor providing construction services.  Contact us now for a consultation.


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