CA DIR Prevailing Wages Project Exemptions

What are the threshold requirements for a public works project?

Prevailing wages must be paid to all workers employed on a public works project when the public works project is over $1,000. If an awarding body elects to initiate and enforce a labor compliance program - currently there are only four: Caltrans, County of Sacramento, Los Angeles School District and Los Angeles County, that have been approved by the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations, for every public works project under the authority of the awarding body, prevailing wages may not be required to be paid for any public works project of $25,000 or less when the project is for construction work, or for any public works project of $15,000 or less when the project is for alteration, demolition, repair, or maintenance work.

For more details, please refer to the applicable statutes and regulations regarding the payment of prevailing wages and General Prevailing Wage Determination(s) including the footnotes. Such information is available on the Department of Industrial Relations' website at You may also email questions about prevailing wage rate determinations to the Labor Research and Statistics Office.

Are there any exceptions to the registration requirement?

The contractor registration requirement does not apply to contractors working solely on public works projects awarded prior to April 1, 2015.

Some exceptions allow contractors to bid on federally funded projects or submit joint venture bids without first being registered, as long as the contractors that are parties to the joint venture and the joint venture are registered at the time the contract is awarded.

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

How much does registration cost, and how long does it last?

Registration costs $400 and covers one fiscal year (July 1-June 30), regardless of the date on which a contractor registers. Registration is renewable annually.

What if I don't register (i.e., what are the consequences of noncompliance)?

Contractors who are required to register but fail to do so are ineligible to bid or work on a public works contract and can be removed from any public works project on which they currently are working. For a single violation in a 12-month period, a contractor who is otherwise eligible may still register by paying a $2,000 penalty in addition to the $400 registration fee. Registered contractors who inadvertently fail to renew by June 30, but continue to work on public works after that date, have a 90-day grace period to renew retroactively by paying a $400 penalty in addition to the registration renewal fee.

How long does it take for DIR to process contractor registrations, verify submitted information, and post contractor information in the registration list that is accessible online?

This process can take less than 24 hours if registration fees (including penalties, if applicable) are paid by credit card. Verification of payment by other means can take up to eight weeks.

How can a list of all registered contractors be obtained?

The name and registration number of any contractor who has registered with the DIR can be found using the public works contractor search tool. An up-to-date list of all registered contractors can be obtained by entering the percentage symbol, %, in the "Contractor Legal Name" field.

I forgot to print out the contractor coupon, can I still mail in the check or do I have to start over? If I can still mail in the check, where should I mail it to?

You do not need to start over. You may mail the check to: State of California, Department of Industrial Relations, Public Works Contractor Registration Unit, P.O. Box 511215, Los Angeles, California 90051-3013. Please include the contractor registration number.


What are the instances in which a contractor on a public works project is considered exempt from the requirements of LC 1777.5?

They are:
- Labor Code 1777.5 does not apply to general contractors whose contract is under $30,000.
- When the craft or trade is not apprenticeable.
- When the project is a federal project and the funding of the project does not contain any city, county, and/or state monies unless the project is administered by a state agency in which case the apprenticeship requirements apply.
- When the project is a private project not covered by the definition of public works as found in Labor Code section 1720.

What if I am exempt from the requirements of California Labor Code Section 1777.5 as my situation falls under one of the exemptions listed above. Do I still have to provide a "Notice of Contract Award" (DAS 140 form) to the applicable program?

You do not have to submit a "Notice of Contract Award". However, for purposes of letting the applicable program know of your exemption, you may, nevertheless, want to provide the form to the applicable program so they are aware of your exemption.

I am an Owner/Operator and do not have any employees and do not carry Worker's Compensation Insurance. Am I exempt from hiring apprentices?

If your Contractor License shows you are a Sole Proprietor/Sole Owner business you are exempt. However, if your Contractor License indicates that your business entity is anything else, such as a partnership or corporation or LLC, then you are not exempt.

If I have an Individual Contractor Exemption granted by the Chief of DAS per Labor Code § 1777.5 (j), or § 1777.5(k), do I still need to send a DAS 140 to the appropriate programs?

Yes, you still need to submit a Notice of Contract Award Information (DAS 140) to the appropriate Program Committees. The Individual Contractor Exemptions and Program Committee exemptions pertain to the ratio of apprentices on a public works project and do not eliminate the DAS 140 requirement.

I am a small subcontractor and my job will take less than 40 hours. Am I exempt from hiring apprentices?

No, you must still submit a DAS 140 and 142. However, you may request apprentices in less than 8 hour increments. Important Notice: see changes in Code of Regulations section 230.1, regarding the employment of apprentices on Public Works

Consulting Services We Provide

  • Review public works preconstruction contracts
  • Monitor DIR contractor/subcontractor certified payrolls
  • Audit labor classification for each worker employed
  • Review DIR pre-DAS 140/142 submissions
  • Review CAC training fund contributions form CAC-2
  • Review DIR Fringe Benefits Statement PW-26
  • Monitor DIR wage determinations
  • Audit fringe benefits allowances
  • Review DIR holiday payment requirements
  • Audit DIR travel & subsistence requirements
  • Caltrans Labor Compliance
  • County of Sacramento Labor Compliance
  • City of Los Angeles Labor Compliance
  • Los Angeles Unified School District Labor Compliance
  • Federal Davis-Bacon Project Monitoring
  • Federal DBE Implementation & Review
  • Federal FAA AIP Goal Setting
  • DIR & Davis-Bacon Training
  • DIR Civil Wage Penalty Review
  • Local-Hire Review (e.g., San Francisco)
  • Skilled and Trained Workforce

Give us a call to discuss your labor compliance requirements: 916-234-3958.

This email is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice
or legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances.

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