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Calculating Prevailing Wages Best Practices

Calculating Prevailing Wages Best PracticesI work for a company that does asset maintenance with Public Water Hydrants and Valves. We are not a construction company but rather an asset management company for the public sector such as Water Hydrants, Valves for the public utilities. In order to pay prevailing wages, I need to classify this industry to determine the prevailing wage rate. In the wage rate determination both at the Federal and State Level, there is no mention of the type our company falls into. As an employer, are we still required to pay the prevailing wage rate when our industry does not fall into any of the categories listed on the Federal and State Level? Your input is greatly appreciated!


Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

There are different requirements for prevailing wage depending on the purpose. For immigration prevailing wage analyses, the nature of the employer (whether the employer is large or small, public or private, or specific industry etc.) is NOT relevant in determining the prevailing wage. Relevant factors are limited to the job’s: title, skill level, geographic location. ERI has online course on this topic for more detail (at no cost except setting up a virtual learning locker). Hope this helps.

(CFO) |

As a public sector employee I can tell you that, that any requirement for the payment of "prevailing wage" is on the public agency that issued the contract to you.

If it is a requirement of the contract, you can ask your customer for help in finding a reliable source for this data. It is up them to ensure that you actually are paying prevailing wages as required by the laws that govern the funding they are using for the procurement. That's what certified payrolls are for.

Most public procurement of goods do not have prevailing wage requirements. For services, it depends on the funding source that the agency is using.

If you are in CA, try the Caltrans website. They generally have a large database of prevailing wages for various positions. There are other, large public contracting agencies that maintain similar lists.

For the rest of you, if you want a laugh at government overreach, take a look at the prevailing wage tables in CA. They would make millionaires at out of laborers if they were universally applied. Or drive companies and public agencies completely out of business. It's the worst aspect of unions applied as public policies.


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