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Prevailing Wage Requirements

On public works projects, the contractor and subcontractors are required to pay the “prevailing wage rate,” fringe benefits and contributions to various funds as determined by the government and depending on the type and location of the work. There are limited exceptions. If you are a contractor participating in public works projects, you need to understand prevailing wage law to ensure project profitability and lawful performance of the contract.

The federal application of prevailing wage law is found primarily in the Davis-Bacon Act, related federal acts, and regulations contained in the Code of Federal Regulations. The California application of prevailing wage law is found primarily in the California Labor Code and regulations contained in the California Code of Regulations. In addition, relevant case law and precedential decisions from the United States Secretary of Labor and the California Department of Industrial Relations add to the body of law that governs prevailing wages in California

Prevailing wages differ for each trade, and also differ according to geographical area. Prevailing wages also change frequently, sometimes during the course of a job. Contractors and subcontractors are required to fill out certified payroll reporting forms to prove that they have paid the correct wages and benefits. Sometimes the forms are provided by the public agency performing the work, and sometimes the contractors must provide their own forms.

Porter Law Group advises contractors and subcontractors on proper compliance with prevailing wage requirements. Correct compliance minimizes the possibility of a challenge, and, should a challenge be raised, provides the documentation needed for a solid defense. Prevention is always the best course of action. However, should a client be challenged on a prevailing wage issue, we will vigorously represent their interests to obtain the best possible outcome.