Thursday, May 27, 2010

Revised Prevailing Wage Rules Proposed by Washington State

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has published a notice of Proposed Rule Making to amend and update its prevailing wage regulations in chapter 296-127 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC)

L&I has scheduled public hearings to consider comments on the proposed changes.  The hearings will be held at L&I's offices in the cities noted below:
  • June 28, 2010, Tumwater, 1:00 p.m.
  • June 29, 2010, Tukwila, 10:00 a.m.
  • July 1, 2010, Spokane, 10:00 a.m.
The following is a high level summary of just some of the many proposed changes.  Click here to review a track changes version of the proposed changes to the WAC.
  • Public Works Definition:  Clarifies that the definition of public works is only "for the purposes of chapter 39.12 RCW."  This is a significant change.  Its impact would be to acknowledge that the definition of public work in the WAC only applies with respect to prevailing wage requirements, and not with respect to solicitation or other public works requirements.  This proposed change would recognize that there is a difference between what is a public work and what is subject to prevailing wages.
  • Ordinary Maintenance Definition:  Deletes the frequency and type of activity that is the basis of ordinary maintenance, and limits the definition of ordinary maintenance to maintenance work performed by public agency employees.
  • Wage Increases for Certain Work:  Requires that maintenance, service, and building service maintenance (janitorial) contracts covering more than one year include language providing for an update of the prevailing wages after the first year, with the costs of any increases being borne by the public agency.
  • Journey-level Wage Rates Only:  Clarifies that only journey-level (not apprentice) wage rates must be included in bidding and contract documents.
  • Supervisory Exemption from Prevailing Wages:  Changes the standard of when supervisors must be paid prevailing wages.  One of the current standards requires payment of prevailing wages to supervisory personnel who perform physical labor for more than 20% but less than 50% of the hours in any week.  The proposed revision would require payment of prevailing wages to any supervisory personnel who perform physical labor for more than 10% of their hours on any day.
  • Owner Exemptions from Prevailing Wages:  In addition to the existing standards relating to sole owners, partnerships, and corporations, the proposed revisions add "limited liability companies,"  (LLC) requiring that any member of an LLC who owns at least 30% is exempt from payment of prevailing wages.
  • Requirements for Exempt Owners:  Formalizes existing L&I policy that exempt owners are only exempt from payment of prevailing wages, but must comply with other prevailing wage requirements, including the requirement to file a Statement of Intent to Pay Prevailing Wages and an Affidavit of Wages Paid.
I will be reviewing and commenting on the proposed revisions, and hope to attend the public hearing on June 28, 2010 as well.

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about the revisions proposed by L&

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