Contractor & Prevailing Wage Information

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Prevailing Wage SignNOTICE: Effective January 1, 2021, All Public Works Contracts are subject to Skilled and Trained Workforce (STW) requirements as enacted in Public Contract Code Section 2600.5 which specifies that the failure of the Awarding Body to include the required notice does not excuse: A bidder, contractor, or other entity from the obligation to use a STW, if the requirement is imposed by a statue or regulation.

Public Works Contractor Registration Fee Increased, Small Project Exemption Established Effective July 1, 2017

The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) is advising public works contractors of 2017-2018 State Budget changes that go into effect on July 1. Annual registration fees for public works contractors have increased from $300 to $400, and contractors on small projects are exempt from public works registration and electronic certified payroll reporting requirements..

What Is a Public Works Project? What is "Prevailing Wage?"

Public works law requires private construction contractors to pay prevailing wages to their workers and requires the construction contractor to follow public works law when working on a project funded by a public entity. A public entity can be the State of California, or any public agency such as a county, city, school or a special district.

The prevailing wage rate is the basic hourly rate paid on public works projects to a majority of workers engaged in a particular craft, classification or type of work within the locality and in the nearest labor market area (if a majority of such workers are paid at a single rate).

Prevailing wages are due, in most instances, if the project costs more than $1,000, and involves the following (Public Works Project) construction work: new construction, alteration, demolition, installation, repair and maintenance, and the hauling and delivery of ready-mixed concrete to carry out a public works contract, with respect to contracts involving any state agency, including the California State University and the University of California, or any political subdivision of the state.

What is Small Project Exemption?

Contractors who work exclusively on small public works projects are not required to register as a public works contractor or file electronic certified payroll reports for those projects. Contractors are still required to maintain certified payroll records on a continuous basis, and provide them to the Labor Commissioner’s Office upon request. Additionally, awarding agencies are not required to submit the notice of contract award through DIR’s PWC-100 system on projects that fall within the small project exemption.

The small project exemption applies for all public works projects that do not exceed:

  • $25,000 for new construction, alteration, installation, demolition or repair
  • $15,000 for maintenance

What about Apprentices?

Contractors must make an attempt to hire apprentices when the total project costs exceed $30,000.

A contractor on a public works project must employ one (1) hour of apprentice work for every five (5) hours performed by a journeyman. Title 8 California Code of Regulations, Section 230.1.for each separate craft at the end of a project. Please check the DAS Important notices to determine if any exemptions exist for your craft or trade.

Contractors who do not already employ enough apprentices to meet the ratio requirements must request dispatch of an apprentice from an apprenticeship program (for each apprenticeable craft or trade) by giving the program actual notice of at least 72 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays) before the date on which apprentices are required. A DAS 142 form is provided for this purpose. All requests for dispatch must be in writing and sent by first class mail, fax or email.

Contractors who do not receive a sufficient number of apprentices from their initial request, must request dispatch apprentices from all other apprenticeship committees, if more than one exists in the area of the public works project. To determine which apprenticeship programs are approved for your craft or trade in a specific geographic location on their website.

Where can I get help?

With so much paperwork to be completed on California prevailing wage and Federal Davis-Bacon projects, the acronyms for the forms – WH-347, California A-1-131, DAS 140, DAS 142, CAC 2 – can become quite confusing as all of them are part of Federal and/or California prevailing wage requirements. See link below to INSTRUCTIONS on how to complete a Certified Payroll Report.

Follow the links to the State of California, Department of Industrial Relations Public Works Page for information on the following CONTRACTOR responsibilities:

  1. Registering as a Public Works Contractor
  2. Paying Prevailing Wages
  3. Following Apprenticeship Requirements
  4. Participate in a Live Webinar Training!

Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)

CA.govView information on Public Works Projects, Prevailing Wage, and Contractor Registration from the California State Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Public Works.


Information Regarding Department of Industrial Relations Registration:

Certified Payroll Reporting Instructions:

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