California Agencies Responsibility to Monitor for Prevailing Wages
Recently there have been several public agencies that asked me what is the obligation of a Public Agency to monitor and enforce prevailing wage compliance? California Labor Code Section 1726 states that a public agency has an obligation to be cognizant of the prevailing wage compliance on its projects. If items are identified as potentially not meeting prevailing wage requirements, the agency can choose to investigate and enforce (require restitution) or the entire matter can be turned over to the Department of industrial Relations (DIR) for investigation. The DIR has publicly stated that public agencies share in the responsibility to enforce prevailing wage compliance.
For some agencies that means auditing every project, every payroll, every worker of every day. On the other extreme are those agencies who put the prevailing wage information in their contracts, do not collect certified payrolls (CPRs) and do nothing until there is a complaint. Most agencies fall somewhere in the middle with the collecting of CPRs, but maybe not apprenticeship forms, and a review of the CPRs does not occur on a regular basis.
All agencies should know that federal funding requiring Davis Bacon compliance does require that the CPRs be collected, an audit take place and onsite interviews occur. For projects which have California Proposition 84 funding, there are very specific labor compliance tasks which must be performed. Best Practices dictate that all public agencies create a protocol for prevailing wage review and enforcement. That could mean designating an in house employee to collect and review the CPRs or contract that out to a third part, such as CCMI.