The short answer to how long a contractor is to retain Certified Payroll Report records is “it varies”.
In accordance with 29 CFR 5.5(a)(3), Federal contracts subject to the Davis Bacon Act (DBA/DBRA) stipulate that payrolls and basic records shall be maintained by the contractor during the course of work and preserved afterwards for a period of three years for all laborers and mechanics who worked at the site of the work. Among the data required to be included in these records are worker names, worker classifications, the hourly rates of wages paid, daily and weekly number of hours worked, and actual wages paid. Furthermore, the contractor must maintain additional records regarding any plan or program used to provide benefits in accordance with the Act.
Similarly, 29 CFR 4.6(g) requires that contractors performing work subject to the Federal Service Contract Act (SCA) also maintain payroll records for three years following completion of project work. Records should include worker names, worker classifications, rates of wages paid and fringe benefits provided, total daily and weekly compensation paid to each employee, daily and weekly number of hours worked subject to SCA requirements, and any deductions, rebates, or refunds from the total daily or weekly compensation received by each employee.
In Ohio, full and accurate payroll records with respect to wages paid and hours worked must be retained for a period of one year following the completion of the public improvement in connection with which the records are made.
Other states may define their record retention requirements differently. There may also be recordkeeping requirements as part of a contract that exceed the state or federal requirements.