- Question: What is Prevailing Wage?
The prevailing wage is a base pay rate established by State and Federal
law to ensure that all construction workers engaged in public works
projects are paid adequately for the craft they are working in. It is
a combination of an hourly pay rate plus fringe benefits. Payment of
the prevailing wage ensures that contractors will hire qualified workers
and the City will therefore receive quality work.
How does the Office of Contract Compliance assist contractors?
By providing quick and easy access to accurate information, the OCC helps
to ensure that contractors avoid making mistakes. The emphasis of the
Labor Compliance Section is on providing education, assistance and direction
to contractors doing work for the City. The OCC offers seminars upon request,
custom-designed to address issues of interest to individuals or groups
of contractors who work on City public works projects.
On the second Monday of each month the OCC offers a free class dealing with prevailing wages, certified payrolls and apprenticeship requirements.
helps to "level the playing field" by ensuring that all contractors
are paying correct rates and "playing by the same rules".
Contractors who would hope to gain advantage by underpaying their own
workers face stiff penalties.
can also receive updates and improved access to Federal and State labor
laws through OCC.
Who is subject to receiving prevailing wages?
All construction personnel who actually work on a project are required
to receive prevailing wages. Professional or support personnel such as
architects, clerical staff or security guards are not subject to prevailing
fide material suppliers who deliver materials to a job site are not
subject to payment of prevailing wages. However if they then begin to
help with the construction/installation, they are covered from that
point forward. If you are uncertain as to whether someone should receive
prevailing wages, call the Labor Compliance Section at (213) 847-2662.
How can I find the current Prevailing Wage Rates?
The State of California's Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) determines
the state's prevailing wage rates. The rates are generally revised twice each
year. The OCC provides these, free of charge, to any contractors interested in doing business
with the City.
DIR maintains a web site at www.dir.ca.gov
which has the latest rates and other valuable information.
Federal rates are published intermittently by Federal Department of Labor. These rates may be found on the Department of Labor web site at www.wdol.gov
What is the proper classification for a contractor's workers?
The proper classification depends upon the scope of work being done
and the specifications called for by the awarding body. If a contractor
is uncertain as to how to classify a worker(s), they should call the
Labor Compliance section at (213) 847-2662.
Must a contractor join a union in order to work on City of Los Angeles
Public Works projects?
No. Contractors do not have to join a union in order to work on City
projects. However, they must comply with the terms of the contract,
including the payment of prevailing wages.
What about apprentices?
State law requires that apprentices be employed on all public works projects.
If no apprentices are available, or if the work is not in an apprenticeable
craft, proper documentation must be submitted to indicate this. All
apprentices must be in a State approved program and must
be in proper ratio to the number of journeymen present.
If the project has any federal funding, any apprentices must be in a federally approved program.
What is the proper ratio of apprentices to journeymen?
The apprentice ratio varies depending on the craft of the workers. Contractors
may contact the Department of Industrial Relations Division of Apprenticeship
Standards or the Labor Compliance Section for clarification.
What about Certified Payrolls?
Certified Payrolls provide a true and accurate record of the labor hours
worked on a project. They are signed under penalty of perjury and are
due weekly from the prime contractor and ALL subcontractors, owner-operators,
vendors and suppliers who provide personnel to work at the job site.
Prime contractors are responsible for ensuring that ALL subcontractors,
etc. submit the required payroll documents.