Davis Bacon Related Acts

Resources for California prevailing wage contractors



Whether you are just starting out as a prevailing wage contractor or just looking to keep yourself updated, we have compiled these resources about state prevailing wage. Here are the most common questions of prevailing wage contractors and workers to help expand your knowledge!

California prevailing wage contractors are expected to comply with the rules and regulations set by the Davis-Bacon Act and the Department of Labor. Contracting agencies will be tasked with the responsibility to hire inspectors to ensure the compliance of prevailing wage contractors, and failure to follow regulations can result to fines and penalties. To help you have an idea about the California Prevailing Wage law, here are some of most asked questions by prevailing wage contractors like you. For help with fully compliant fringe benefit plans in California please get in-touch via email or give us a call today!

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What should I know about California’s Supplemental Unemployment benefits?
In section 1265 of the California labor code, the Supplemental Unemployment Benefits are discussed. It explains that payment to a person with a supplemental unemployment benefits plan, or to employees in general with supplement unemployment compensation benefits, shall not be considered as wages. This also says that payable benefits must not be denied or lessened due to the receipt of supplemental unemployment payments. The California Employment Development Department explains the supplemental unemployment benefits in detail under their Total and Partial Unemployment (TPU 460.62) page.
Are Northern California prevailing wage rates the same as those in Southern California?

The prevailing wage rates (as well as the apprenticeship rates) in Northern and Southern California are not the same. The apprenticeship rates differ depending on the trade and the county of the prevailing wage worker. In the website of the California Department of Industrial Relations, they wage decisions have 5 categories:

(a) state-wide decisions which involves various trades have similar rates throughout the state;
(b) decisions by Northern California that can only be applied to counties called out on the wage decision;
(c) decisions by Southern California that can only be applied to counties called out on the wage decision;
(d) decisions in San Diego can only be applied in the county of San Diego, and;
(e) county decisions with specialty sub-trades listed in an excel format.

To view the Davis-Bacon Act rates for prevailing wage California, visit Wage Determinations Online. Journeyman determinations by California’s Department of Industrial Relations will be published separately by the Division of Labor Statistics and Research. Since California has its own prevailing wage rates and laws, make sure that your project is a federal Davis-Bacon project before using the listed rates.

What is California’s Division of Apprenticeship Standards?
The Division of Apprenticeship Standards is part of California’s Department of Industrial Relations. This division is responsible for the enforcement and administration of California’s apprenticeship laws. Its responsibilities include the regulation of wage standards, number of hours, working conditions, and wage determinations for apprentice wages.
Are there threshold requirements for public works projects in California?
Yes. In California, prevailing wage contractors are required to pay prevailing wages to its workers if the public works project is worth over $1000. However, if the awarding body initiates and enforces a labor compliance program with DIR approval, prevailing wages may not be paid to public works projects worth $25000 or less if it is for construction work, or projects worth $15000 if the project is for demolition, repair, alteration, or maintenance work.
What is the definition of overtime in California Prevailing Wage?
California defines a work as overtime if the time spend on working is in excess of 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. In some trades, overtime must be paid if the worker has exceeded 7 hours of work in a day. To know more about the terms of overtime payment in California, study the prevailing wage determinations in California with respect to the different overtime requirements of each trade or craft.
What does the asterisk (*) after the expiration date of a California prevailing wage determination mean? What about double asterisk (**)
An asterisk after the expiration date of the prevailing wage means that the determination shall remain to be for the duration of the project. The double asterisk, on the other hand, means that the overtime, hourly, fringe, and holiday pay rates for the work after the expiration date has been pre-determined already.
What does “coverage determination” mean?
A coverage determination happens if a written determination by the director of the Department of Industrial Relations is requested by interested factions for particular construction projects or type of work.
What are special California prevailing wage determinations?

If the issued prevailing wage determination rates does not cover a particular trade or craft, a special prevailing wage determination request can be made by the prevailing wage contractors and the contracting agency. The special determination request must be done 45 days before the advertisement date of the bid.

What should I know about the issue date of the California Prevailing Wage?
California publishes the general prevailing wage determinations twice a year: during February 22 and August 22. These determinations are effective 10 days after their issuance. The formal issue date of the prevailing wage determination would be the date when the copies of the prevailing wage determinations are placed in the mail by the CA Department of Industrial Relations. Prevailing wage contractors should look at the advertisement date of the bid to determine the wage rates that must be used for their project.
Is the method of determining California prevailing wage rates the same with the Federal Government?

Like the federal government, the California Department of Industrial Relations determines the prevailing wage rate from the hourly rate paid to workers (with same craft or trade) in public works projects within the locality or labor market area. If no single rate has been found for the majority, the single rate for the most number of workers will be considered as the prevailing wage rate.


Prevailing wage contractors must follow the regulations set by prevailing wage laws in their area. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) will ensure that these rules are enforced strictly, and failure to comply can result to fines and penalties for prevailing wage contractors.

To make sure that your business transactions with government contracting agencies are smooth and efficient, it would be wise for you to approach experienced advisors like ARCHER JORDAN now. Let us help your company develop and grow! Contact our team now for more details.

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