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A Guide to Prevailing Wage Laws in Connecticut
I. Introduction

Public Contract Compliance Unit

The Wage and Workplace Standards Division administers a wide range of laws that protect and promote the interests of Connecticut's 1.7 million workers. The Division also devotes considerable resources to encourage and assist Connecticut's 97,000 employers to comply with the laws primarily through seminars and educational materials. The Division is comprised of three separate compliance units: Employment Regulation and Minors Compliance; Wage and Hour Compliance; and Public Contract Compliance.

 

The Wage and Workplace Standards Division has primary responsibility for enforcement of the state's prevailing wage law, although other governmental entities and private parties also have roles. The Division encourages voluntary compliance with the law, and enforcement activities are focused on bringing violators into compliance rather than punishing them.

 

The Public Contract Compliance Unit handles oversight of the law. We respond to telephone inquiries regarding the law, investigate complaints, conduct payroll audits, perform site inspections on public works projects, and participate in educational activities aimed at improving public understanding of the law. The Divisionís Agents are empowered with the statutory authority to investigate and ascertain wages paid to workers in the state, including entering a workplace to examine records.

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Summary of Connecticut's Prevailing Wage Law

In the 1930ís, the federal government and 18 states, including Connecticut, adopted prevailing wage laws to ensure that the hourly wages commonly paid to construction workers in that area were maintained, and prevented the low bid requirements from reducing the market price for labor to levels that would disrupt the local economy.  There are currently 30 states with prevailing wage laws.  Connecticut's prevailing wage law is codified in Connecticut General Statutes Section 31-53 and 31-53a. The law applies to each contract for the construction, remodeling, refinishing , refurbishing, rehabilitation, alteration or repair of any public works project by the State or its agents, or by any political subdivision of the State.

Coverage: Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 31-53(g) provides monetary thresholds which must be met before the law is applicable. The prevailing wage law does not apply where the total cost of all work to be performed by all contractors and subcontractors in connection with new construction of a public works project is less than four hundred thousand ($400,000) dollars. The prevailing wages law does not apply  where the total cost of all work to be performed by all contractors and subcontractors in connection with remodeling, refinishing, refurbishing, rehabilitation, alteration or repair of any public works project under one hundred thousand ($100,000) dollars.

Prevailing Rate: The prevailing wage rate consists of a base rate and a fringe benefit rate which may be paid in cash and/or benefits. Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 31-53(d) permits the Labor Commissioner to adopt and use the prevailing wage rate determinations as have been made by the Secretary of Labor of the United States under the provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act, as amended. The agent empowered to let such contract shall contact the Labor Commissioner at least ten, but not more than twenty days, prior to the date such contracts will be advertised for bid, to ascertain the proper prevailing rate. Under Public Act 02-69 the rates will be adjusted annually on or before July 1st of each year. These new rates will be on the Department of Labor website. 

Certifications: Both the Contractor and the Contracting Agent must provide certifications to the Labor Commissioner. Prior to the award of any contract subject to the prevailing wage law, the contracting agent shall certify in writing to the Labor Commissioner the total dollar amount of work to be done in connection with the public works project, regardless of whether such project consists of one or more contracts. Upon the award of a contract subject to the prevailing wage law, the contractor who is awarded the contract shall also certify, under oath, to the Labor Commissioner the pay scale to be used by the contractor and any of his subcontractors for the work to be performed under the contract. Additionally, each employer subject to the prevailing wage law must file weekly certified payrolls with the contracting agent including but not limited to: employee names; occupations; hours worked; rates paid; and the employers compliance with various provisions of law.

Penalties: There are various civil, criminal and administrative penalties for violations of the prevailing wage law. Failure to pay the prevailing rate is a crime which may be a felony depending upon the amount of unpaid wages. Knowingly filing a false certified payroll or failure to file a certified payroll is a Class D felony for which an employer may be fined up to five thousand dollars, imprisoned for up to five years, or both. Disregarding obligations under Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 31-53 may result in an administrative debarment which may preclude any firm, corporation, partnership or association in which such person or firms have an interest from receiving an award of a contract until a period of up to three years have elapsed. Additionally, civil penalties of $300 per violation of law may also be assessed upon the employer.

finger pointing FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT:

WAGE AND WORKPLACE STANDARDS DIVISION
PUBLIC CONTRACT COMPLIANCE UNIT
(860) 263-6543

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Summary of Changes in Prevailing Wage Law

fingerFull Restitution/Disqualification Period
In addition to being fined not less than two thousand five hundred dollars but not more than five thousand dollars for each offense of failure to pay the prevailing wage, for the first violation, a person shall be disqualified from bidding on contracts with the state or any political subdivision until the contractor or subcontractor has made full restitution of the back wages owed to such persons and for an additional six months thereafter. For subsequent violations, the disqualification may increase to not less than an additional two years.

fingerWithholding Payment
The law has been clarified so that if it is found by the contracting officer representing the state or political subdivision that there was a failure to pay the required prevailing rate to a mechanic, laborer or workman employed on the site, the state or political subdivision may withhold payment of money to the contractor or subcontractor.

fingerFiling of Certified Payroll/Failure to File Certified Payroll
 An employer subject to the prevailing wage law must now file the weekly certified payroll on a monthly basis (rather than weekly) with the contracting agency by mail, first class postage prepaid. Failure to file a certified payroll pursuant to subdivision (2) of section 31-53(f) is a class D felony for which the employer may be fined up to five thousand dollars, imprisoned for up to five years, or both.

fingerContracting Agency Withhold Contractor's Payment
The Contracting Agency is authorized to withhold payment of money owed to any contractor and subcontractor when it is found the prevailing wage has not been paid. 

fingerAnnual Adjustment
Any contract awarded on or after October 2, 2002 requires all contractors and subcontractors to pay the annual prevailing wage rate increases posted on or before July 1st each year, after the issuing of the initial rate schedule by DOL for the project. The rates can be found at www.ct.gov/dol go to Wage and Workplace Standards Division, Prevailing Wage Information, Annual Prevailing Wage Rates by Town or at: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/prevailing-rates/rates.htm.

fingerDebarment Certification
Each contractor and subcontractor must certify in writing to the general contractor/prime contractor or construction manager that they are not debarred. Any contractor or subcontractor who performs work on a prevailing wage project while debarred will be fined $1,000.00 per day.

fingerThe PERSONS Act
Effective October 1, 2005 ALL PERSONS who perform work as a mechanic or laborer on site MUST be paid the prevailing wage rate and be reported on the certified payroll. This includes Owners, Corporate Officers, LLC Members, and Independent Contractors. Reporting and payment of wages weekly is required regardless of any contractual relationship alleged to exist between the contractor and such person.

fingerOSHA SAFETY AND HEALTH CERTIFICATION
Any contract awarded on or after July 1,2009 requires any mechanic, laborer, or worker who performs work in a classification listed on the prevailing wage rate schedule on any public works project is required to complete a ten (10) hour federal OSHA safety and health course and provide proof of completion. Contractors must provide proof of completion by attaching a copy of each certification card with the first certified payroll in which such mechanic, laborer, or worker performed work.

For questions relating to the prevailing wage law, call Public Contract Compliance Unit, Wage & Workplace Standards Division at the Department of Labor (860) 263-6543.

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Annual Adjustments Notice

~ Special Notice ~

To: All State and Political Subdivisions, Their Agents, and Contractors

Connecticut General Statute 31-55a - Annual adjustments to wage rates by contractors doing state work.

arrowEach contractor that is awarded a contract on or after October 1, 2002, for (1) the construction of a state highway or bridge that falls under the provisions of section 31-54 of the general statutes, or (2) the construction, remodeling, refinishing, refurbishing, rehabilitation, alteration or repair of any public works project that falls under the provisions of section 31 -53 of the general statutes shall contact the Labor Commissioner on or before July first of each year, for the duration of such contract, to ascertain the prevailing rate of wages on an hourly basis and the amount of payment or contributions paid or payable on behalf of each mechanic, laborer or worker employed upon the work contracted to be done, and shall make any necessary adjustments to such prevailing rate of wages and such payment or contributions paid or payable on behalf of each such employee, effective each July first.

  • The prevailing wage rates applicable to any contract or subcontract awarded on or after October 1, 2002 are subject to annual adjustments each July 1st for the duration of any project which was originally advertised for bid on or after October 1, 2002.

  • Each contractor affected by the above requirement shall pay the annual adjusted prevailing wage rate that is in effect each July 1st, as posted by the Department of Labor.

  • It is the contractor's responsibility to obtain the annual adjusted prevailing wage rate increases directly from the Department of Labor's Web Site. The annual adjustments will be posted on the Department of Labor Web page: http://www.ct.gov/dol. For those without Internet access, please contact the division listed below.

  • The Department of Labor will continue to issue the initial prevailing wage rate schedule to the Contracting Agency for the project. All subsequent annual adjustments will be posted on our Web Site for contractor access.

  • Contracting Agencies are under no obligation pursuant to State labor law to pay any increase due to the annual adjustment provision.

pencilAny questions should be directed to the Contract Compliance Unit, Wage and Workplace Standards Division, Connecticut Department of Labor, 200 Folly Brook Blvd., Wethersfield, CT 06109 at (860) 263-6543.

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Informational Bulletin

The 10-Hour OSHA Construction Safety and Health Course

(Applicable to public works projects entered into on or after July 1, 2009, where the total cost of all work to be performed is at least $100,000.)

  1. This requirement was created by Public Act No.08-83, which is codified in Section 31-53b of the Connecticut General Statutes (pertaining to the prevailing wage statutes);
     

  2. The course is required for public works construction projects (projects funded in whole or in part by the state or any political subdivision of the state) entered into on or after July 1,2009;
     

  3. It is required of mechanic, laborer, or worker (not state or municipal employees) and apprentices who perform manual labor for a general contractor or subcontractor on a public works project where the total cost of all work to be performed is at least $100,000;
     

  4. The ten-hour OSHA safety course pertains to the ten-hour Outreach Course conducted in accordance with federal OSHA Training Institute standards, and, for telecommunications workers, a ten-hour training course conducted in accordance with federal OSHA standard, 29 CFR 1910.268;
     

  5. The internet website for the federal OSHA Training Institute is http://www.osha.gov/dte/oti/index.html; The statutory language leaves it to the contractor and its employees to determine who pays for the cost of the ten-hour Outreach Course;
     

  6. Proof of completion may be demonstrated through either: (a) the presentation of a bona fide student course completion card issued by the federal OSHA Training Institute; or (2) the presentation of documentation provided to an employee by a trainer certified by the Institute pending the actual issuance of the completion card;
     

  7. Any card with an issuance date more than 5 years prior to the commencement date of the construction project shall not constitute proof of compliance;
     

  8. Each employer shall affix a copy of the construction safety course completion card to the certified payroll submitted to the contracting agency in accordance with Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-53(f) on which such employee's name first appears;
     

  9. Any mechanic, laborer, or worker who is found to be in non-compliance shall be subject to removal from the worksite if such mechanic, laborer, or worker does not provide satisfactory proof of course completion to the Labor Commissioner by the fifteenth day after the date the mechanic, laborer, or worker is determined to be in noncompliance;
     

  10. Any such mechanic, laborer, or worker who is determined to be in noncompliance may continue to work on a public construction project for a maximum of fourteen consecutive calendar days while bringing his or her status into compliance;
     

  11. The Labor Commissioner may make complaint to the prosecuting authorities regarding any contractor or agent of the contractor, or officer or agent of the corporation who files a false certified payroll with respect to the status of a mechanic, laborer, or worker who is performing manual labor on a public works construction project;
     

  12. The statute provides the minimum standards required for the completion of a safety course by manual laborers on public works projects;, any contractor can exceed these minimum requirements; and
     

  13. Regulations clarifying the statute are currently posted on the CTDOL website at:  http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/prevailwage.htm http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/ConstSafetyFinalRegs.pdf
     

  14. Any questions regarding this statute may be directed to the Wage and Workplace Standards Division of the Connecticut Labor Department by telephone at (860) 263-6543 or via the internet website of  http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/index.htm

THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED EXCLUSIVELY AS AN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE, AND IS NOT INTENDED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL INTERPRETATIONS, WHICH MAY ULTMATELY ARISE CONCERNING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE STATUTE OR THE REGULATIONS.

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