If you work on a government-funded project and your employer didn't pay you the full prevailing wage you are entitled to, you should contact an employment lawyer immediately. We invite you to call us at 888-762-0297 to discuss your case.
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What is a prevailing wage?
In California, prevailing wage is the rate of pay that contractors and subcontractors must pay their workers when doing business with government agencies. Prevailing wage is a fixed hourly rate predetermined for eligible occupations employed in the performance of public works projects.
The rate of prevailing wage is typically based on rates established by collective bargaining agreements.
In California, prevailing wage determinations are updated twice a year, on February 22 and August 22. Prevailing wages vary depending on the location of the public works project, the type of work performed, and job classification.
What type of projects uses prevailing wages?
California law requires that workers employed on public works projects are paid prevailing wages. Public works projects are projects funded in whole or in part out of public funds. Examples of public works projects include:
- Public housing, including HUD housing
- Recreational facilities
- Healthcare institutions, including hospitals
- Governmental structures, including courthouses and jails
- Public education facilities, including schools, colleges, and universities
- Bridges and roads
- Power facilities
Generally, prevailing wages projects include repair work, construction, pre-construction, installation, design, alteration, and demolition. The only exception is work done directly by a public utility company (see California Labor Code § 1720 for more info).
What kind of workers receive prevailing wages?
All workers employed on public works projects must receive prevailing wage determined according to (a) the location of the project and (b) the type of work performed. Typically, the following workers who work on public works projects receive prevailing wages:
- Operating engineers
- Fence builders
- Cement masons
- Asbestos workers
That is not the complete list of job classifications and occupations that may be eligible for prevailing wages in California. (See California Department of Industrial Relations website for more info.)