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What Is a Prevailing Wage?


A prevailing wage is a rate of pay set for workers who are working on public works projects. This could be construction workers or trade workers. The basic hourly rate is set for publicly funded projects or projects supported by the government.

Are you in a situation where you feel you should be paid a prevailing wage? Contact a Columbus wage and hour attorney today. Experienced employment lawyers have the knowledge to work you through the process of securing the pay you deserve.

Base and Supplemental Wages

When prevailing wages are in place, they are set by local, state, and federal governments. Typically, the rates will be similar to union rates in the area. Often the wage rate will be distributed in two parts, a base wage and a supplement. The supplement portion refers to funds that are distributed to employee benefits such as health care and retirement accounts. There is also the possibility of rates being listed for overtime work or work done on holidays or weekends.

In the state of Ohio, prevailing wage laws state public projects that are over $250,00 for new construction should pay a prevailing wage. These rules also apply to public improvements—renovations, remodels, or repairs that are more than $75,000—supported by public funds,

All trade workers and construction laborers are entitled to prevailing wages on public work projects. Even though laws are in place to protect workers, there are times when violations occur. There are examples of contractors and subcontractors participating in the following violations.

  • Failing to pay the proper rate
  • Not including the correct benefits when calculating a worker’s wage
  • Overtime work not compensated correctly
  • Improper deductions taken from worker’s pay

The type of work done on a public project determines if an employee is eligible for prevailing wages.

Performing Duties Outside of Set Work Hours

If your supervisor or employer is requiring you to do tasks outside of work hours, and those tasks are performed for the benefit of the employer, you should be compensated. While it may not be possible to be paid for time traveling from your home to a job site, once you are there picking up tools, dropping off items, doing warehouse tasks when the weather will not allow construction work, you should be paid.

Talking to a Columbus wage and hour attorney is a path to resolving wage disputes. When issues of prevailing wage arise, it is likely the dispute will be resolved quickly. After all, contractors can be banned from public works projects if they are found to be participating in violations of prevailing wage laws. In order to secure these big ticket contracts, contractors and subcontractors need to be on the right side of the law. Workers have rights.

Do you believe you were not paid the prevailing wage you should have been? Contact the lawyers at Coffman Legal LLC today. We are strong and committed advocates for all Ohio workers and use our experience and knowledge to help you. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation.


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