CA DIR Prevailing Wages Q&A

What is the methodology for determining the prevailing wage rate?

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). If there is no single rate paid to a majority, then the single or modal rate being paid to the greater number of workers is prevailing.

How does the prevailing wage affect me?

California's prevailing wage laws ensure that the ability to get a public works contract is not based on paying lower wage rates than a competitor. All bidders are required to use the same wage rates when bidding on a public works project. California law requires that not less than the general prevailing rate of per diem wages be paid to all workers employed on a public works project.

What is a general prevailing wage determination?

When the director of the California Department of Industrial Relations determines that the general prevailing rate of per diem wages for a particular craft, classification, or type of worker is uniform throughout an area, the director issues a determination enumerated county by county, but covering the entire area. General determinations are issued twice a year on February 22 and August 22.

What is a special prevailing wage determination?

When a particular craft, classification or type of worker is not covered by a general determination, the awarding body may request a special prevailing wage determination. Requests must be made at least 45 days prior to the bid advertisement date.

General Information
What does public works mean?

Under the Labor Code, public works in general refers to:
- Construction, alteration, demolition, installation, maintenance, or repair work,
- Done under contract, and
- Paid for in whole or in part out of public funds

It can include preconstruction and post-construction activities related to a public works project.

What are prevailing wages, and who must receive them?

All workers employed on public works projects must be paid the prevailing wage determined by the Director of the DIR according to the type of work and location of the project. The prevailing wage rates are usually, but not always, based on rates specified in collective bargaining agreements.

How do I identify the public works project that I am working on (or will be working on) on the reports?

Public works projects have a unique DIR Project ID, often referred to as the "PWC-100" number. Any registered project can be located in the DIR's searchable database of public works projects. Entering just a few pieces of information in the search tool should yield a list that includes your project.

Consulting Services We Provide

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