Prevailing Wages Washington State

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Washington State Prevailing Wage Requirements

In Washington State, prevailing wage requirements are outlined in Chapter 39.12 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). These requirements pertain to contractors and subcontractors working on public works and maintenance contracts for local government projects.

It's important to note that these requirements apply to all workers involved in the covered projects, regardless of the contract's dollar value. The types of contracts and work covered by these requirements include:

  1. Public Works (RCW 39.04.010): Prevailing wage requirements are applicable to public works projects. This includes various construction, maintenance, and repair undertakings funded by government agencies.

  2. Building Service Maintenance (RCW 39.12.020 and WAC 296-127-023): The prevailing wage regulations extend to building service maintenance work. This category covers individuals engaged in tasks like janitorial services, waxing, shampooing, and window washing for public buildings.

  3. Construction, Reconstruction, Maintenance, or Repair (RCW 39.12.030): Contractors and subcontractors involved in construction, reconstruction, maintenance, or repair work for public projects are obligated to adhere to prevailing wage rates.

  4. Turn-Key Leases, Rentals, or Purchases (RCW 39.04.260): Prevailing wage requirements also encompass turn-key leases, rentals, or purchases associated with public works projects. This ensures that even when certain aspects of a project are outsourced through leasing or rental agreements, prevailing wages still apply.

  5. Off-Site Fabrication of Non-Standard Items (WAC 296-127-010(5)(b)): The regulations extend to off-site fabrication of non-standard items specifically intended for a public works project. This means that even work conducted off-site to create custom or non-standard components for a project falls under prevailing wage requirements.

XML File Upload

The Compliant Client is a software solution designed to streamline and simplify the process of managing prevailing wage requirements in Washington State. One of its notable features is the ability to facilitate Washington State-specific XML uploads, which can significantly enhance the efficiency and accuracy of prevailing wage compliance for contractors, subcontractors, and project stakeholders.

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.

Certified Payroll Reporting

Starting from January 1, 2020, contractors working on prevailing wage jobs, regardless of project amount, must submit certified payroll reports at least once per month. These reports should be directly filed with L&I through the online Prevailing Wage Intent and Affidavit (PWIA) system (RCW 39.12.120).

It is important to note that the responsibility of reviewing or checking these reports does not lie with the local government agency. However, if desired, local agencies can access and view these reports through the L&I Awarding Agency Portal.

For ongoing projects that commenced prior to January 1, 2020, contractors must provide certified payroll reports for all work performed starting from January 1, 2020 onwards. However, reporting is not necessary for any work completed before January 1, 2020.

Contractors should always ensure they provide weekly certified payroll reports for federal projects. If there are any inquiries or concerns about federal law, it is recommended to contact the federal Department of Labor.

Common Prevailing Wage Mistakes and Preventive Measures

Prevailing wage compliance can be complex, but avoiding common mistakes is crucial. Here are some prevalent mistakes local agencies make, along with steps to prevent them:

Common Mistakes:

  1. Lack of Notification: Failing to inform contractors about prevailing wage requirements for public works or building maintenance contracts.

  2. Non-Compliance with Responsible Bidder Criteria: Neglecting criteria like contractor registration, debarment status, and workers' compensation premium status as outlined in RCW 39.04.350.

  3. Subcontractor Intents and Affidavits: Not obtaining intents and affidavits from all subcontractors involved.

  4. Paying Contractors Prematurely: Disbursing payments to contractors before obtaining the required statements of intent.

  5. Federal Projects Wage Rates: For federally funded projects, failing to ensure payment of the higher of the state or federal wages.

  6. Record Management and Wage Payment: Not overseeing record management and contractor compliance with prevailing wage payment.

  7. Certified Payrolls: Neglecting to acquire a contractor's certified payrolls when mandated.

Preventive Measures:

  1. Verify Prevailing Wage Rates: Double-check that contract documents reflect accurate prevailing wage rates.

  2. Scope of Work Verification: Confirm that the wage class information aligns with the actual work performed to avoid discrepancies.

  3. Documentation for Responsible Bidders: Gather necessary documentation to confirm responsible bidder criteria compliance.

  4. Periodic Inspections and Interviews: Regularly conduct job site inspections and worker interviews to ensure proper wage compliance.

  5. Comprehensive Record-Keeping: Maintain precise records for all contractors and subcontractors, including payroll and fringe benefits data.

The Compliant Client can help maintain compliance for businesses and projects of all sizes.

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