Prevailing Wage Guide on Public Works Contracts

Introduction

The Montana Prevailing Wage Law requires the prevailing wage rates established by the Montana Department of Labor & Industry be paid on public works contracts. The intent of the law is to:

  • protect local labor markets,
  • maintain the general welfare of Montana workers on public works projects,
  • eliminate wage cutting as a method of competing for public contracts,
  • maintain wages and rates paid on public works at a level to attract highly skilled laborers performing quality workmanship, and
  • prevent the rate of wages from adversely affecting the equal opportunity of Montana contractors to bid on public works.

Prevailing Wage Rate Schedules

What is a prevailing wage rate?
A prevailing wage rate includes the basic hourly rate and the fringe benefit rates to be paid to a worker employed in a specific trade classification on a public works project.

What are public works contracts?
Contracts for construction services or nonconstruction services in excess of $25,000 let by the state, county, municipality, school district, or political subdivision.

How are prevailing wage rates established?
The Department of Labor & Industry, Compliance & Investigations Bureau uses:

  • wage surveys conducted by the Department of Labor & Industry,
  • established and special project rates of the previous year,
  • valid collective bargaining agreements, and
  • wage rates determined by the federal government under the Davis-Bacon Act and the Federal Service Contract Act.

When are prevailing wage rates established?
All construction and non-construction wage rates are established yearly.

How is a prevailing wage rate schedule obtained?
Prevailing wage rate schedules may be obtained upon request. Contact the Department of Labor & Industry, Compliance and Investigations Bureau, at (406) 444-6543, or at http://erd.dli.mt.gov/labor-standards/state-prevailing-wage-rates

Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the Department of Labor & Industry include:

  • establishing prevailing wage rates for use on public works contracts,
  • conducting surveys to determine the prevailing wage rate schedules,
  • filing and issuing prevailing wage rates,
  • inspecting and auditing payroll records of contractors, and
  • investigating complaints of nonpayment of prevailing wage rates.

Responsibilities of the Contracting Agent include:

  • requesting the prevailing wage rate schedule from the Department of Labor & Industry,
  • providing prevailing wage rate schedules in public works contracts let out for bid,
  • provide wage rate adjustments for multi-year contracts in excess of 30 month contract and thereafter for the term of the contract, and
  • including a provision requesting the contractor to give preference to the employment of bona fide Montana residents.

Responsibilities of the Contractor and Subcontractor include:

  • posting a prevailing wage rate schedule in a prominent and accessible location on the site of the project or work area,
  • classifying workers in accordance with the craft or trade to be performed and paying the established prevailing wage rate,
  • providing wage rate adjustments for multi-year contracts in excess of 30 month contract and thereafter for the term of the contract,
  • keeping a record of hours and wages paid to the workers,
  • providing payroll records for inspection to the Department of Labor & Industry or the contracting agent upon request, and
  • ensuring that at least 50% of the workers, except where prohibited by federal law, performing labor on the project are Montana residents.

Wage Complaints

When may a complaint be filed?
The law provides that workers who have not received the prevailing wage rate on a public works contract may file a complaint with the Department of Labor & Industry, Investigations Section.

What happens when a complaint is filed?
The Compliance and Investigations Bureau, as enforcers of the Prevailing Wage law, will conduct an investigation to determine the merits of the complaint and issue a determination of its findings.

If a violation has been determined, the contractor, subcontractor or employer may be subject to penalties.

Contact Information

Compliance and Investigations Bureau
PO Box 201503
Helena, MT 59620-1503
Phone: (406) 444-6543