HOW TO DETERMINE THE CORRECT CALIFORNIA PREVAILING WAGE RATES FOR A PROJECT

When determining the appropriate prevailing wage rate.  Do not assume that the current prevailing wage rate applies to the project.  Contractors performing on public works projects that contain local or California-funding shall consider the following when determining the prevailing wage rates to apply to their project (federally-funded projects require a different set of steps).

STEP 1: IDENTIFY THE FIRST DATE OF BID ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE PROJECT. 

The effective date of a determination is on or after the bid advertisement date but before the listed expiration date, the rates listed on that particular determination constitute the prevailing wage rates for work performed under that public works contract.  Consistent with the Department of Industrial Relation’s enforcement policy, if an awarding body does not advertise the public works project for bid, other benchmarks events (including the first written memorialization of the agreement concerning the public works elements of project or the contract governing the award of public funds) will be utilized in lieu of the 1st bid ad date.

Now that the 1st bid ad date (or contract signing date in lieu of a bid ad) is known, contractors must determine the “period”.

STEP 2: DETERMINING THE “PERIOD” FOR THE PROJECT’S WAGE RATES

Each year has two periods, which is denoted “year-1” or “year-2” (e.g., 2010-1 and 2010-2).  The first period (e.g. 2010-1) is for all bids that were first advertised between February 22 and August 22 of that year.  The second period (2010-2) is for all other dates of that year.

After the period is determined, the wage rates can be obtained.

STEP 3: OBTAINING PROJECT’S WAGE RATES

Prevailing wage rates can be obtained on the California Division of Labor Statistics and Research website:  http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlsr/DPreWageDetermination.htm

  1. The first options provided are for “current” period wage rates. If your project’s “period” is the within the current period, select the first link for journeyman rates (General prevailing wage determinations menu (journeyman).
  2. If your project’s “period” is the within a previous period, select “Superseded prevailing wage determinations;” next choose the “General prevailing wage determinations” for your project’s specific period.
  3. Find your work classification / craft by within the “Statewide” menu, Southern/Northern CA” menus, “San Diego” menu, or within the county menu.  NOTE: the location of the public works project determines the county to use and whether Southern CA or Northern CA applies.

STEP 4: SINGLE vs. DOUBLE ASTERISKS / PRE DETERMINED INCREASES

When you find the determination, look for a single (*) or double (**) asterisk next to the identified expiration date.

  1. Prevailing wage determinations with a single asterisk (*) after the expiration date remain in effect for the life of the project (i.e. the rate stays the same regardless of how long the project is).
  2. Prevailing wage determinations that have double asterisks (**) after the expiration date indicate that the wage rate includes predetermined changes that the contractor shall pay upon the pre-determined increases’ “effective date.”
  3. All predetermined increases for the County-specific trades can be found in a separate tab/worksheet within the determination worksheet.  All predetermined increases for the “Statewide” menu through the “San Diego” menu can be found by selecting the “increases” pull down menu.

STEP 5: AMOUNTS DUE TO THE WORKERS

When determining the prevailing wage amount due to a worker, the training fund contribution amount should not be factored into the amount, as it is not payable to the worker unless the worker is an Owner Operator or is performing work under an “un-apprenticeable” craft.

Contractors may take hourly “credits” against the prevailing wage’s “total hourly rate” for fringe benefit contributions that the employer makes on behalf of the worker so long as those benefit contributions are verifiable (via submittal of benefit contribution reports) and do not result in lowering the worker’s “basic” hourly rate from the “basic” hourly rate identified in the wage determination.

For further assistance on determining the prevailing wage rate, or for steps on determining the wage rates on Federally-funded (Davis Bacon) projects, please contact LCP, Inc. at (951) 686-3482.