A Guide to Prevailing Wage Laws in Connecticut
III. Information for Contractors and Subcontractors
course of an investigation, DOL wage enforcement agents interview workers,
employers, and others connected with a project. They also examine payroll
records, time records, daily logs, cancelled checks, fringe benefit and pension
contributions, and other documents either at the job site or at the location
where the contractor maintains the employment records for the business. Figure I
summarizes the steps an agent may take in the complaint investigation process.
(As noted on figure I, most of the same steps may be followed by DOL agents when
they conduct a routine inspection.)
violation of the law is found, the DOL agent calculates the amount of back wages
owed individual workers. If the contractor or subcontractor is willing to
reimburse the workers but cannot pay the entire amount immediately, the agent
may develop a repayment plan and monitor adherence to that plan.
contractor or subcontractor refuses to make restitution, the options available
to the department depend on whether or not the project has been completed. If
the project is still active and the party violating the law is still owed money,
the contracting agency or the general contractor/prime contractor on the project
can be asked to pay the workers out of those funds. If the project has been
completed, the Department of Labor can refer the case to the collections unit
within the Office of the Attorney General, which will pursue repayment.
The department also has enforcement options to pursue enforcement and collection
through criminal prosecution.
department can also seek imposition of civil and criminal penalties on employers
that violate the prevailing wage law. Paying the back wages owed to workers does
not preclude other penalties, but the department is more likely to pursue legal
action against businesses that refuse to provide restitution to workers who were
underpaid. The imposition of civil penalties is mandated by statute and handled
separately by the Department of Labor. Cases for criminal prosecution are
referred to the Office of the Chief State's Attorney. Cases are reviewed to
determine the nature of the violations and prior history. If the violations are
determined to be serious, the case will be referred to the Commissioner of Labor
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General/Prime Contractor's Liability
Liability of General
Contractors/Prime Contractors When Subcontractors Fail to pay Prevailing
The Department of Labor's
position is that a general contractor/prime contractor is liable for wages
due to all workers of a subcontractor when the subcontractor fails to pay
its workers the prevailing rate of pay on a public works project subject to
Connecticut General Statutes Section 31-53. Under
the statute, it is the responsibility of the general contractor/prime
contractor to ensure that the proper prevailing rate of pay is paid to their
own workers as well as other workers on the project. Toward this end, each
general contractor/prime contractor executes the Contractor’s Wage
Certification Form, which is a sworn statement that they and all of their
subcontractors will pay all workers on the project the proper prevailing
rate of pay.
The Attorney General's
office has confirmed in writing its opinion that the general
contractor/prime contractor is, in fact, liable in such circumstances based
on an analysis of the statutory language of Connecticut General Statutes
Section 31-53 and 31-53a. In 2004, the Department of Labor
successfully pursued a general contractor in civil court for prevailing
wages due to the subcontractor’s employees: C.J.M. Services, Inc., et al.
Commissioner of Labor v CJM 268Conn. 283(2004).
This division will continue
to request that the general contractor/prime contractor withhold payments to
the subcontractor from funds retained under the contract for violations
which occurred. In such cases, if the subcontractor is in violation of
the law, it is also in breach of their contract, relieving the general
contractor/prime contractor from its obligation to promptly pay the
Although this department has pursued a general
contractor/prime contractor for payment of wages to a subcontractor's
workers, the practice of the Wage and Workplace Standards Division has
always been to utilize this option as a last resort only when it is clear
that any further attempts to collect from the subcontractor are futile.
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Who is Covered Under the Prevailing Wage Law?
Prevailing Wage is
required to be paid to all Laborers and Mechanics who perform work on
the project Site in a classification listed on the prevailing wage rate
Laborer and Mechanic
is defined to include ALL WORKERS whose duties are manual or physical
in nature as distinguished from mental or managerial. It does
not include workers whose duties are primarily administrative, executive,
professional, or clerical. Generally, mechanics are considered workers
who use TOOLS or who are performing the work of a TRADE.
THE Site of Work
is limited to the physical
place, where the construction called for in the contract, will remain when
the work on it has been completed.
The Department of Labor
looks to the Davis-Bacon Act for interpretation and enforcement:
Site of Work is
limited to the physical place or places where the construction called
for in the contract remains after the work is completed, and other
adjacent or virtually adjacent property used by the contractor that
would be reasonable to include in the site of the work.
mobile factories, batch plants, job headquarters, and tool yards are
part of the site of work if:
they are dedicated
exclusively or nearly so to the contract AND,
adjacent or virtually adjacent to the actual construction location.
permanent home offices, fabrication plants, batch plants, tool yards
whose location and continuance in operation are determined without
regard to a particular project.
Who is required to be paid prevailing wage and who is exempt?
INDIVIDUALS NOT COVERED under the prevailing wage law:
Architects, engineers, draftspersons, Security Guards /
Watchmen, Material Suppliers or Carriers, Manufacturers, Supervisors,
Superintendents, Project Managers who do not perform any
trade/classification work, Government/State/Municipal employees, and Truck
Driver Owner/Operators delivering material to site or hauling off site
except for time actually on site is covered (computed to nearest unit of 15
INDIVIDUALS/WORKERS WHO ARE COVERED under the prevailing wage
Employees, family members – spouse, children, parents, etc.,
Owners, Equal Partner, Majority or equal corporate officer, LLC majority or
equal member, Bona fide Independent Contractors determined based on site
work only, Independent Contractors who do not meet the “ABC Test”, working
supervisors, Truck Drivers on site transporting and distributing materials,
and Clean-up work performed as a condition to the acceptance of the building
as satisfactorily complete - window scraping, window washing,
Independent Contractors vs. Employee
EFFECTIVE 10/01/2005 ALL WORKERS who perform work ON SITE
must be paid prevailing wage. Independent contractors are no longer
exempt from the payment of prevailing wage.
Currently, the Department of Labor also must determine if an
Employer/Employee relationship exists on the site of work. A contract,
certificate of insurance, 1099’s, business cards, and certified payrolls are
not the sole determining factors.
WILL MAKE A DETERMINATION BASED UPON THE FOLLOWING:
Bid Documents and
Specifications for subcontract requirements
Examine the portion of
the specifications performed by the alleged independent contractor
Observe the work being
performed – independent or side by side
Review IRS 20 Common
Law Factors and IRS SS-8 Questionnaire
Determine if the on
site work being performed meets all 3 criteria defined in C.G.S. Section
31-222 (ABC TEST)
The worker is free
from control and direction in connection with the performance of
such service, both under his contract and in fact,
Such service is
performed either outside the usual course of business for which the
service is performed, AND
Such individual is
customarily engaged in an independently established trade,
occupation, profession or business of the same nature as that
involved in the service performed.
The Department of Labor
has found misclassification to commonly occur in the following trades:
Sheetrocker, Taper, Flooring/Tile Setter, Masonry, and Carpentry.
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Wage Payment Laws 31-71a-i and other
Connecticut General Statutes
The following represents a summary of
selected laws; sections 31-69a through 31-76k. To review the full text, consult
Connecticut General Statutes.
31-71a. Payment of Wages; Definitions.
Whenever used in sections 31-71a to 31-71i, inclusive; (1) "Employer" includes
any individual, partnership, association, joint stock company, trust,
corporation, the administrator or executor of the estate of a deceased person,
the conservator of the estate of an incompetent, or the receiver, trustee,
successor or assignee of any of the same, employing any person; including the
State and any political subdivision thereof; (2) "Employee" includes any person
suffered or permitted to work by an employer; (3) "Wages " means compensation
for labor or services rendered by an employee, whether the amount is determined
on a time, task, piece, commission or other basis of calculation; (4)
"Commissioner" means the labor commissioner.
Sec. 31-71b. Weekly
payment of wages.
(a) Except as otherwise
provided in section 12-34b, each employer, by himself, his agent or
representative, shall pay weekly all moneys due each employee on a regular
pay day, designated in advance by the employer, by cash, by negotiable
checks or, upon an employee's written request, by credit to such employee's
account in any bank which has agreed with the employer to accept such wage
deposits. (b) The end of the pay period for which payment is made on a
regular pay day shall be not more than eight days before such regular pay
day, provided, if such regular pay day falls on an non-work day, payment
shall be made on the preceding work day.
Sec. 31-71c. Payment of
wages on termination of employment.
(a) Whenever an employee voluntarily terminates his employment, the employer
shall pay the employee's wages in full not later than the next regular pay
day, as designated under section 31-71b, either through the regular payment
channels or by mail. (b) Whenever an employer discharges an employee, the
employer shall pay the employee's wages in full no later than the business
day next succeeding the date of such discharge. (c) When work of any
employee is suspended as a result of a labor dispute, or when an employee
for any reason is laid off, the employer shall pay in full to such employee
the wages earned by him not later than the next regular pay day, as
designated under section 31-71b.
Sec. 31-71d. Payment
where wages disputed.
(a) In case of a dispute over the amount of wages, the employer shall pay,
without condition and within the time set by sections 31-71a to 31-71i,
inclusive, all wages, or parts thereof, conceded by him to be due, and the
employee shall have all remedies provided by law, including those under said
sections as to recovery of any balance claimed. (b) The acceptance by an
employee of a payment under this section shall not constitute a release as
to the balance of his claim and any release required by an employer as a
condition to payment shall be void.
Withholding of part of wages.
No employer may withhold or divert any portion of an employee's wages unless
(1) the employer is required to do so by state or federal law, or (2) the
employer has written authorization from the employee for deductions on a
form approved by the commissioner, or (3) the deductions are authorized by
the employee, in writing, for medical, surgical or hospital care or service,
without financial benefit to the employer and recorded in the employer's
wage record book, or (4) the deductions are for contributions attributable
to automatic enrollment, as defined in section 2 of this act, in a
retirement plan described in Section 401(k), 403(b), 408, 408A, or 457 of
the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any subsequent corresponding internal
revenue code of the United States, as from time to time amended, established
by the employer.
Sec. 31-71f. Employer to furnish employee certain information.
Each employer shall: (1)
Advise his employees in writing, at the time of hiring, of the rate of
remuneration, hours of employment and wage payment schedules, and (2) make
available to his employees, either in writing or through a posted notice
maintained in a place accessible to his employees, any employment practices
and policies or change therein with regard to wages, vacation pay, sick
leave, health and welfare benefits and comparable matters.
Any employer or any
officer or agent of an employer or any other person authorized by an employer to
pay wages who violates any provision of this part may be: (1) Fined not less
than two thousand nor more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more
than five years or both for each offense if the total amount of all unpaid wages
owed to an employee is more than two thousand dollars; (2) fined not less than
one thousand nor more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one
year or both for each offense if the total amount of all unpaid wages owed to an
employee is more than one thousand dollars but not more than two thousand
dollars; (3) fined not less than five hundred nor more than one thousand dollars
or imprisoned not more than six months or both for each offense if the total
amount of all unpaid wages owed to an employee is more than five hundred but not
more than one thousand dollars; or (4) fined no less than two hundred nor more
than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than three months or both for
each offense if the total amount of all unpaid wages owed to an employee is five
hundred dollars or less .
Sec. 31-71h. Regulations.
The commissioner is authorized to issue regulations for the
establishment of procedures for carrying out the provisions of sections 31-71a
to 31-71i, inclusive.
31-71i. Waiver of weekly payment requirement.
The commissioner may, upon application, waive
the provisions of section 31-71b with respect to any particular week or weeks,
and may also, upon application, permit any employer, subject to the provisions
of this section to establish regular payday less frequently than weekly,
provided each employee affected shall be paid in full at least once in each
calendar month on a regularly established schedule.
31-72. Civil action to collect wage claim or arbitration award.
When any employer fails to pay
an employee wages in accordance with the provisions, of sections 31-71a to
31-71i, inclusive or fails to compensate an employee in accordance with section
31-76k or where an employee or a labor organization representing an employee
institutes an action to enforce an arbitration award which requires an employer
to make an employee whole or to make payments to an employee welfare fund, such
employee or labor organization may recover, in a civil action, twice the full
amount of such wages, with costs and such reasonable attorney's fees as may be
allowed by the court, and any agreement between him and his employer for payment
of wages other than as specified in said sections shall be no defense to such
action The labor commissioner may collect the full amount of any such unpaid
wages, payments due to an employee welfare fund or such arbitration award, as
well as interest calculated in accordance with the provisions of section 31-265
from the date the wages or payment should have been received, had payment been
made in a timely manner. In addition, the labor commissioner may bring any legal
action necessary to recover twice the full amount of unpaid wages, payments due
to an employee welfare fund or arbitration award, and the employer shall be
required to pay the costs and such reasonable attorney's fee as may be allowed
by the court. The commissioner shall distribute any wages, arbitration awards or
payments due to an employee welfare fund collected pursuant to this section to
the appropriate person.
31-76k Payment of fringe benefits upon termination of employment.
If an employer policy or
collective bargaining agreement provides for the payment of accrued fringe
benefits upon termination, including but not limited to paid vacations,
holidays, sick days and earned leave, and an employee is terminated without
having received such accrued fringe benefits, such employee shall be compensated
for such accrued fringe benefits exclusive of normal pension benefits in the
form of wages in accordance with such agreement or policy but in no case less
than the earned average rate for the accrual period pursuant to sections 31-71a
to 31-71i, inclusive.
See. 31-69a. Civil Penalty.
In addition to the penalties provided in part III of Chapter 557 or of Chapter
558 of the general statutes, any employer, officer, agent, or other person who
violates any provision of part III of Chapter 557 or Chapter 558 of the general
statutes, or both shall be liable to the labor department for a civil penalty of
three hundred dollars for each violation of said chapters. The Labor
Commissioner has promulgated regulations to implement the assessment of the
civil penalty. (amended by P.A. 97-263 to $300.00, effective October 1, 1997).
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Keeping Requirements: Section 31-60-12(c)
OVERTIME - ONE AND
ONE-HALF TIMES THE EMPLOYEES REGULAR RATE OF PAY AFTER 40 HOURS PER
WEEK. FOR EXCEPTIONS - SEE SECTION 31-76i OF THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL
Sec. 31-60-12 Records.
purpose of this regulation, "true and accurate records" means accurate
legible records for each employee showing:
his home address;
the occupation in
which he is employed;
the total daily and
total weekly hours worked, showing the beginning and ending time of each
work period, computed to the nearest unit of 15 minutes;
his total hourly,
daily or weekly basic wage;
his overtime wage as a
separate item from his basic wage;
additions to or
deductions from his wages each pay period;
his total wages paid
each pay period;
such other records as
are stipulated in accordance with sections 31-60-1 through 31-60-16.
The labor commissioner may
authorize the maintenance of wage records and the retention of both wage and
hour records as outlined either in whole or in part at a place other than
the place of employment when it is demonstrated that the retention of such
records at the place of employment either
works an undue
hardship on the employer without materially benefiting the inspection
procedures of the labor department, or
is not practical for
enforcement purposes. Where permission is granted to maintain wage
records at other than the place of employment, a record of total daily
and weekly hours worked by each employee shall also be available for
inspection in connection with such wage records.
In the case of an employee
who spends 75% or more of his working time away from his employer's place of
business and the maintaining of time records showing the beginning and
ending time of each work period for such employee either imposes an undue
hardship upon the employer or exposes him to jeopardy because of his
inability to control the accuracy of such entries, a record of total daily
and total weekly hours will be approved as fulfilling the record-keeping
requirements of this section. However, in such cases,
the original time
entries shall be made by the employee in his own behalf
the time entries made by the employee shall be used as the basis for payroll
The employer shall
maintain and retain for a period of 3 years the following information and
data on each individual employed in a bona fide executive, administrative or
his home address;
the occupation in which he is employed;
his total wages paid each work period;
the date of payment and the pay period covered by payment.
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Civil Penalties Regulations for Wage Violations Regulations
The regulations of
Connecticut State Agencies are amended by adding Sections 31-71h-1 through
31-71h-6, inclusive, as follows:
purposes of Section 31-71h-1 through 31-71h-6, inclusive, of these
Regulations, the following definitions apply:
means a penalty of $300.00 for each violation of part 111 of Chapter
557 or Chapter 558.
means the Labor Commissioner, whose mailing address is Labor
Department, 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, Connecticut
06109, or his designee.
means the Wage and Workplace Standards Division which is responsible
for enforcement of part III of Chapter 557 and Chapter 558 of the
Connecticut General Statutes whose mailing address is Labor
Department, 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, Connecticut
means any employer, officer, agent or any other person who may have
violated part III of Chapter 557 or Chapter 558 of the Connecticut
means a failure by an employer, officer, agent or any other person
to comply with any applicable provision of part III of Chapter 557
or Chapter 558.
Sec. 31-71h-2 Assessment of civil penalty
In addition to and
apart from any other penalties and/or remedies provided in part III
Chapter 557 or Chapter 558 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the
Labor Commissioner shall assess a civil penalty of $300.00 upon the
an employer has
violated a statutory provision of part III of Chapter 557; or
an employer has
violated a statutory provision of Chapter 558.
In determining the
number of violations committed by an employer, the Commissioner shall
assess a separate civil penalty for each individual employee adversely
affected by the employer's violation.
In addition, the
Commissioner may assess more than one civil penalty against an employer
with respect to the same adversely affected employee if the employer has
violated more than one statutory provision under Chapter 557 or Chapter
Sec. 31-71h-3 Notice of violation
The employer shall be
notified of a civil penalty assessment by the 'Notice of Violation and
Opportunity to Show Cause" which shall be sent to the employer along
with the 'Notice to Employer - Unpaid Wages Due" statement, if
In cases where there
is a violation but no wages are due to any employees, the employer shall
be notified of the civil penalty assessment by the "Notice of Violation
and Opportunity to Show Cause" which shall be sent to the employer.
The 'Notice of
Violation and Opportunity to Show Cause" shall provide the following:
the total civil penalty assessed;
right of the employer to request in writing a hearing to show cause
why the civil penalty should not be assessed;
advisement that no hearing shall be granted unless a written request
for hearing is received by the Division within twenty-one (21) days
from the date of mailing of the notice; and
right of the employer to waive the right to request a hearing and to
respond in writing to the notice within twenty-one (21) days of the
date of mailing of the notice.
Sec. 31-71h-4 Request for hearing
Any employer who seeks to
contest a civil penalty assessment shall file, within twenty-one (21) days
of the date the "Notice of Violation and Opportunity to Show Cause" was
issued, a written request for an opportunity to be heard which shall clearly
state the reason(s) for such request, including facts to demonstrate that no
violation has occurred.
Sec. 31-71h-5 Show cause hearing
If the Commissioner
determines that the employer has stated adequate facts or legal grounds
to warrant a hearing, the Commissioner shall provide written notice of
the hearing to show cause why a civil penalty should not be assessed and
shall mail written notice to the employer of the date, time and place of
the hearing. Such determination shall be within the sole discretion of
the Commissioner. The notice shall inform the employer of its rights in
the show cause hearing including:
right to be represented by any person, including an attorney; and
the right to
present documentary evidence and written and/or oral argument in
support of the employer's position.
A request for
postponement of a hearing so scheduled shall only be granted where the
rights of an employer would be substantially prejudiced by the denial of
the request or in a medical emergency. The Commissioner has sole
discretion to grant such requests.
Sec. 31-71h-6 Determination of penalty
Following a hearing or
after the employer has waived the right to request a hearing, the
Commissioner may uphold or modify the civil penalty assessment, such
determination shall be within the sole discretion of the Commissioner.
If the employer
requests a hearing but the Commissioner denies the request for a
hearing, the total civil penalty assessed in the Notice shall be the
final civil penalty.
If the employer does
not request a hearing or respond in writing to the Notice, the total
civil penalty assessed in the Notice shall be the final civil penalty
unless otherwise modified by the Commissioner.
purpose: To establish procedures and guidelines necessary to implement the
assessment of civil penalties for violations of part III of Chapter 557
and/or Chapter 558, established in P. A. 93-392.
In Witness Whereof:
March 17, 1994, Ronald F. Petronella, Commissioner.
Approved by the
Attorney General as to legal sufficiency in accordance with Sec. 4-169, as
amended, Connecticut General Statutes; March 30, 1994.
Approved by the
Legislative Regulation Review Committee in accordance with Sec. 4-170, as
amended, of the General Statutes: June 21, 1994.
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