Increase in 2017 Service Contract Act Health & Welfare Rate

  • 2
  • July 28, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor has released its annual memorandum regarding the rate for Service Contract Act (SCA) Health and Welfare Fringe Benefits. The new rate of $4.41 per hour (up from the 2015-2016 rate of $4.27 per hour) is required in all government contract bids or other service contracts awarded on or after August 1, 2017.

As prescribed by the regulations, the benefit rate is derived from the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment Cost Index (ECI), summary of Employer Cost for Employee Compensation (ECEC). The rate will be posted on the Wage Determinations Online ( and Wage and Hour Division (WHD) ( websites.

SCA benefit change notices are not sent directly to contractors or subcontractors, so we wanted to make sure our SCA contractor clients were aware of this rate increase. A copy of the memorandum can be viewed here.

A significant item of note in this year’s All Agency Memorandum 225 (AAM 225) is the introduction of a special reduced health and welfare fringe benefit rate of $4.13 per hour for employees performing on contracts covered by Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors.

Additionally, a special rate of $1.91 per hour is set for Hawaii, which takes into account that state’s mandatory health insurance coverage. However, an employer may use this lower rate only if it actually makes contributions for employees under the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act.

The obligation to pay employees prevailing wages and benefits in compliance with the SCA requirements falls to contractors and subcontractors, who are liable for any violations. However, it is the contracting agency’s obligation to provide correct and updated WDs to the prime contractor, and the prime contractor’s responsibility to flow-down updated WDs to their subcontractors.

Government contractors should check routinely to determine if new WDs have been provided to them by contracting agencies into their contracts. If the agency has not provided an updated WD as required, contractors should request that the agency do so and be sure to document their compliance efforts.

GSA’s counsel is working to provide official guidance on this new wrinkle in the memorandum and will be released upon completion. If you have questions about these changes and how they impact your contract(s), call us at 1.800.250.2741 or email us at


  • Airie says:

    I was wondering the same thing. Did you get an answer to your question?

  • WILLIAM TULL says:

    I represent a group of members that work under a contractor who is under the Service contract Act.
    I see that there was an increase on contracts awarded on or after August 1, 2017. His contract was signed on February 24, 2017 but has a based year and then 4 option years. The first option year started March 1, 2018, so would that trigger the increase in the Health And Welfare Increase from March 1, 2018 forward since that is after August 1, 2017.

    • admin says:

      It would depend on what the CO modified in the contract, as far as dates. We always follow the CO, even if we feel they are wrong; this is the advice that DOL will also provide. If the contractor needs a third party advocate to speak with, we recommend speaking with the DOD Labor Advisor that has the contract; if none exists you could either go to the DOL or do nothing and just follow the instructions of the C0. This may invariably end up in a DOL investigation; but if there is back pay the contractor can claim it under price adjustment, less profit and G&A.

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