Walsh–Healey Public Contracts Act

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The Walsh-Healey Act or Walsh–Healey Public Contracts Act, passed in 1936 as part of the New Deal, is a United States federal law that applies to U.S. government contracts exceeding $10,000 for the manufacture or furnishing of goods. Walsh-Healey establishes overtime pay for hours worked by contractor employees in excess of 40 hours per week, and sets the minimum wage equal to the prevailing wage as determined by the Secretary of Labor. The law prohibits the employment of youths less than 16 years of age and convicts (only those currently in prison), except under certain conditions.[1] The Act sets standards for the use of convict labor, and job health and safety standards. The Walsh-Healey Act does not apply to commercial items.

The Act was named for its Congressional sponsors, both Massachusetts Democrats, Senator David I. Walsh and Representative Arthur Healey.[2]

The Act was based on Executive Order 6246, issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 10, 1933, which required government contractors to comply with codes of fair competition issued under the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which became moot when the Supreme Court struck down the NIRA in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States (1935).[3]

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  1. ^ "Federal Contracts-Working Conditions: Wages in Supply & Equipment Contracts". United States Department of Labor. 
  2. ^ Charles H. Trout, Boston, the Great Depression, and the New Deal (NY: Oxford University Press, 1977), 211
  3. ^ Kenneth R. Mayer, With the Stroke of a Pen: Executive Orders and Presidential Power (Princeton University Press, 2001), 47,239n69

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