Prevailing Wages New York State

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New York Prevailing Wage Requirements

According to the Labor Law of New York State, both contractors and subcontractors are mandated to pay their workers the prevailing wage and additional benefits (known as fringe benefits) when engaged in a public work contract. The prevailing wage employers must provide is determined by the standards set for the particular locality where the work is being done. It's worth noting that the prevailing wage is a legally established pay rate specific to public work projects.

This requirement encompasses all individuals, whether laborers, workers, or mechanics, employed under a public work contract. All these are managed and regulated under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Public Work, which is responsible for implementing Articles 8 and 9 of the Labor Laws of New York State.

Prevailing Wage Determinations

As of September 30, 2020, the prevailing wage law for building service workers has been amended. The amendment, found in Section 42-A of the Public Service Law, now mandates that building service employees at active major electric or steam-generating facilities, as well as transmission or distribution facilities deemed critical infrastructure by the NYS Division Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) in consultation with the NYS Department of Public Service (DPS), must receive wages and benefits in accordance with the prevailing wage requirements outlined in Labor Law Article 9.

Wage schedules are issued on a county-by-county basis in New York.

What is a Public Work Worksite?

A "public work" worksite refers to either a construction worksite or a building where three specific conditions must be met in order for prevailing wages to be paid:

  • A contract must exist between a public agency or government entity and a private entity or company, obligating the former to compensate the latter for performing the work.
  • The nature of the work must be construction-related, encompassing activities such as repair, maintenance, construction, erection, or demolition.
  • The purpose of the work must be to benefit the public at large, indicating that whatever is being built or carried out serves the general public's interests.

New York Prevailing Wage FAQs

Q 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.

Q Who is subject to receiving prevailing wages?


All construction personnel working on a publicly-funded project must receive prevailing wages.

Q What about apprentices?


State law requires that apprentices be employed on all public works projects. If no apprentices are available or 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 an appropriate ratio to the hours worked by the of journeymen present. If the project has federal funding, apprentices must be in a federally approved program.

Q Do Workers Have To Be In A Union To Receive Prevailing Wages?


No, any worker who performed work for a public project covered by either the Comptroller's schedules in New York City or the Commissioner's schedules in New York State has to be paid prevailing wage rates.

Q Are Undocumented Workers Eligible for Prevailing Wages?


Immigration status does not affect the payment of prevailing wage rates. Undocumented workers are entitled to receive prevailing wages.

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