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Resources for Tennessee 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!

Prevailing wage projects or state contracts in the state of Tennessee are governed by the provisions of the Tennessee Prevailing Wage Act (TPWA) which was recently amended as of January 1, 2014.
The Tennessee Prevailing Wage Act has defined a state contract as a written or oral contractual agreement between a person, corporation, or firm and the State of Tennessee particularly for the construction of a state highway. The newly amended law likewise provides that the Labor Standards Division has no authority to inspect and regulate state building projects.
Read on below to learn more about prevailing wage law in Tennessee and its enforcement. For help with fully compliant fringe benefit plans in Tennessee please get in-touch via email or give us a call today!

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What does the amendment mean for state building projects contracted before and after January 1, 2014?
For state building projects contracted before January 1, 2014, prevailing wage rates apply. Inspection and regulation by the Labor Standards Division are also required. The prevailing wage rates apply throughout the lifespan of the project.
For state building projects entered into after January 1, 2014, prevailing wage rates will no longer apply.
What prevailing wage projects are not affected by the amendment?
The amendments in the TPWA are not applicable to contracts for state roads, highways, and bridges.
How much should a public construction cost in Tennessee so that prevailing wage regulations will apply?
Public construction projects that cost more than $50,000 must follow the prevailing wage regulations prescribed in the TPWA.
How often are the prevailing wage rates in Tennessee updated?
The Prevailing Wage Commission of Tennessee updates the prevailing wage rate on state-funded highway, road, and bridge construction projects on a yearly basis. To determine the appropriate rates for state-funded projects, a survey is conducted to each applicable industry. The rates are effective from January 1 to December 31.
How do I pay for overtime incurred by my prevailing wage workers in Tennessee?
According to state law, overtime refers to work incurred after forty hours in a week. The TPWA has no provisions on payment of daily overtime.
Is there a different rate for work incurred on weekends?
The TPWA has no provisions on payment of different wage rate for work incurred on a weekend.
Is there a different rate for each working shift for prevailing wage workers in Tennessee?
There is no provision in the TPWA for different payments for working different shifts throughout the day. All prevailing wage workers earn the same prevailing wage rate regardless of their shift or time of work in a day.
Does the TPWA prevailing wage include fringe benefits?
There is provision in the TPWA which mandates the payment of fringe benefits.
Am I required to contribute to a training fund?
No. The TPWA does not require you to make payment for training contribution.
I want to hire apprentices in my prevailing wage project in Tennessee. What should I know before hiring one?
The apprentice that you must hire must be individually registered under a bona fide apprenticeship program registered with the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training of the US Department of Labor. You are required to submit proof of the apprentice’s registration to your contracting agency when the apprentice’s name appears on the submitted payroll for the first time.
Do I need to pay for travel and subsistence of my prevailing wage workers?
No. The TPWA does not require payment for travel and subsistence of your prevailing wage workers.
Are there licenses that I should have in order to work for any state contracts in Tennessee?
To perform state funded construction work in Tennessee, the state requires all contractors to be licensed.
What are the penalties should a contractor violate the Tennessee Prevailing Wage Act?
Should a contractor be found to be paying less than the prevailing wage rates, the contractor will be required to pay the prevailing wage plus due back wages. The certified payroll will be reviewed.
If the contractor is proven to have violated provisions in the TPWA, the state contracting agency will be informed by the WRC – Labor Standard Inspectors. It is in the discretion of the contracting agency to place a hold on the payment to the contractor, or handle matters in accordance with rules of the agency.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation Construction Division may also debar contractors as it sees fit. The period of debarment will depend on the gravity of the violation. Ideally, it should not be more than 3 years, but a longer period may be imposed.


Each state’s prevailing wage laws and regulations may vary, and as a contractor working for state-funded or federal-funded public work projects, it is important that you comply with them.
ARCHER JORDAN has been in the business of helping government contractors comply with the law. Call us at your earliest convenience, and allow us to help make prevailing wage administration easier for you.

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