Prevailing wages are the hourly wages, overtime, and benefits typically paid to workers in government contracting jobs. State Departments of Labor and regulatory agencies for the trade involved establish what prevailing wages will be. The purpose of prevailing wage laws is to prevent public construction jobs from undermining local construction industries.
Prevailing wages encompass all compensation a worker receives for his/her labor. In federally funded projects Prevailing wages are governed by the Davis-Bacon Act. Under the Davis-Bacon Act, workers can receive no less than the prevailing wage of the locale where the project is situated. In addition, the majority of states, including New York and New Jersey, have their own prevailing wage laws.
Under federal law, the prevailing wage is the wage paid to the majority of laborers/mechanics in the same class, on a similar project, in the local where the project is taking place, during the time period involved. State laws vary on how they calculate prevailing rates.
Foreign workers are entitled to prevailing wages as well. In the United States, the H-1B visa program establishes that employers have to pay foreign workers the prevailing wage, or the actual wage, similarly qualified workers are receiving – whichever is higher.
Our New York and New Jersey wage and hour attorneys have experience litigating claims against employers who have wrongfully denied employees prevailing wages. If you believe your employer has failed to pay you in accordance with the law, please call us at (973) 509-8500 to schedule a consultation.