Public Contracts/Prevailing Wage
Prevailing Wage Guide on Public Works Contracts
The Montana Prevailing Wage Law requires the prevailing wage rates established by the Montana Department of Labor and 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 and Industry, Labor Standards Bureau uses:
- • wage surveys conducted by the Department of Labor and 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 and Industry, Labor Standards Bureau, at (406) 444-5600, or at http://erd.dli.mt.gov/labor-standards/state-prevailing-wage-information.html
Responsibilities of the Department of Labor and 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 and 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 therafter 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 therafter 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 and 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.
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 and Industry, Wage and Hour Unit.
What happens when a complaint is filed?
The Wage and Hour Unit, 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.
Labor Standards Bureau
Wage & Hour Unit
PO Box 201503
Helena, MT 59620-1503
Phone: (406) 444-5600