Department of Labor to Set Prevailing Wages by July 15th
By Douglas E. Spale
Reminder! As of June 1, 2019, Illinois municipalities will no longer be required to approve a prevailing wage for public work projects. This change is a result of the passage of Public Act 100-1177, which amended the Prevailing Wage Act (820 ILCS 130/0.01 et seq.), to grant the Illinois Department of Labor (Department) the sole authority to ascertain a prevailing wage for municipalities. Thus, the Department will base its calculations for the prevailing wage upon the rate paid to workers under collective bargaining agreements that employ at least 30% of laborers, workers, or mechanics in the same trade or occupation in that county. However, if the Department cannot ascertain a prevailing wage it will look towards the nearest county for guidance.
The Department will now be required to publish a wage schedule by July 15 of each year, instead of municipalities passing an ordinance setting the prevailing wage. Further, by 2020 the Department will also create an electronic database of certified payrolls submitted by contractors and subcontractors who perform public work projects. However, until that time, those contractors are required to submit their certified payrolls to municipalities. The submission of the payrolls must also include certain worker information such as gender, race, ethnicity, last four digits of a worker’s social security number, and veteran status. Any contractor who objects to these new requirements must now file their objection with the Department rather than any municipality.
The Act’s new reporting requirements are geared towards protecting wages and promoting diversity among both contractors and workers. Accordingly, the Department will rely upon the information contained within the database to create recommendations to increase female and minority participation in public work projects.
As such, municipalities will not need to pass their own prevailing wage ordinances this year and instead must rely upon the Departments publication. Although the intent of the Act is to establish wage uniformity, its impacts are yet to be determined.