Still the Most Frequent Error that Contractors Make
Prevailing wage law is never easy. Whether a contractor is working on a Davis Bacon project or a project subject to New York, Maryland or California prevailing wage laws, the classification of workers into the correct classification can be complicated. The most frequent error that contractors make is to classify workers in the wrong prevailing wage category. Most of this misclassification is a good faith error.
The difference between a Communications and Systems Installer versus a Communication and Systems Technician can be confusing. And if a Laborer classification allows for the laying of pipe, but the Plumbers also claim that work, the issue becomes which prevailing wage classification do you use? The rules can be different depending on if you are subject to federal or state prevailing wage requirements.
In some states there are published Scopes of Work which can help the contractor. In other instances, clarification needs to be requested of the awarding agency or the state enforcement agency. For Davis Bacon projects, the DOL Regional Office is the proper entity to conclusively clarify that issue for you. (A ruling by a contracting officer is not considered "binding" by the US DOL.) However, sometimes that means the answer is not readily available and requires a limited area survey. In other instances, a conformance will need to be requested.
A contractor should know that "unskilled laborer" is NOT the default classification if you otherwise cannot find a classification covering the work performed.
California DIR Director Retires
Christine Baker, the Director of California's Department of Industrial Relations announced her retirement on April 2, 2018. Christine has worked for the DIR for many years and has been the Director of the DIR for the last 7 years. The Acting Director will be Labor and Workforce Development Agency undersecretary André Schoorl. Schoorl joined LWDA as a gubernatorial appointee in 2014. Prior to that Schoorl was deputy director at the Assembly Speaker's Office of Member Services.
In California the mandatory construction retention amount
on public works projects was reduced to 5% several years ago with that law to sunset this year. The legislature has now extended the 5% maximum retention for five additional years through 2023.