State Prevailing Wage Laws
In 2015, the Wisconsin legislature repealed prevailing wage protections on local public works projects. For any local project bid after January 1, 2017, there is no state prevailing wage law protection.
In the 2017 Budget Bill, the Wisconsin Legislature repealed prevailing wage protections on state public works projects. For any state project bid after September 23, 2017, there is no state prevailing wage law protection.
Federal Davis Bacon prevailing wage may still apply to state and local projects in Wisconsin.
Federal Davis Bacon Prevailing Wage
Davis Bacon federal prevailing wage requirements apply to construction, alteration, or repair of public buildings or public works over $2,000 where the contractor is working directly for the federal government or where the project is funded, wholly or in part, with federal money that has Davis Bacon requirements attached to it (called Davis Bacon Related Acts).
The Davis Bacon and Davis Bacon Related Acts require that contractors and subcontractors performing on covered contracts pay laborers and mechanics employed on the project jobsite not less than the prevailing wage rates (including fringe benefits) listed in the contract’s Davis Bacon wage determination for corresponding classes of laborers and mechanics. The rates listed are based on wages and fringe benefits the federal Department of Labor found to be prevailing for laborers and mechanics employed on similar projects in the area.
The WH-1321 “Employee Rights Under the Davis Bacon Act” poster must be posted at the site of the work in a prominent and accessible place where it may be easily seen by workers. The applicable wage determination must be similarly posted.
Contractors and subcontractors on Davis Bacon projects must pay laborers and mechanics weekly and submit weekly certified payroll records to the contracting agency. Covered contractors and subcontractors must maintain payroll and basic records for all covered laborers and mechanics during the course of the work and for a period of three years thereafter.
Contractors or subcontractors found to have disregarded their obligations to employees under the Davis Bacon Act, or found to be “in aggravated or willful violation” of any of the related Acts, may be subject to debarment from future contracts for up to three years. In addition, contract payments may be withheld in sufficient amounts to satisfy liabilities for unpaid wages and for liquidated damages that result from overtime violations. Falsification of the required certified payroll records or any kickback of wages may subject a contractor or subcontractor to civil or criminal prosecution, the penalty for which may be fines and/or imprisonment.
For more information on Davis Bacon requirements and compliance, go to the Department of Labor’s website at: www.dol.gov/whd/govcontracts/dbra.htm
If you are a worker who believes you are not being paid the proper Davis Bacon wage rate, you may file a complaint with the Department of Labor at: https://www.dol.gov/whd/howtofilecomplaint.htm.
If you are a contractor or a worker who needs assistance with Davis Bacon compliance, CBG is available to help, free of charge. Just call us at (608) 240-4170.