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What Is the Prevailing Wage Rights Law in Ohio?


According to Ohio law, prevailing wage laws are applicable to the wages and hours received on certain public work projects. Improvements that are being funded, in whole or in part, by public dollars. The overall project does have to have a certain cost to be subject to prevailing wage rights law.

Talk to our Columbus employment attorneys to understand the law and if you have experienced a situation where laws were broken. If you are involved in public work projects, you owe it to yourself to learn about the laws governing your income.

Do Prevailing Wages Change?

Yes, prevailing wages change because they are set and subject to adjustment or variation. Typically, these agreements are adjusted every two years depending on what terms were agreed to between government organizations and trade unions. Because of this, if you hear of a tradesperson receiving a prevailing wage in another city, that does not mean the same wage would apply to you working the same trade in Columbus, Ohio.

The advantage of prevailing wage laws is they require contractors to pay construction labor compensation that is fair for the area they are working in when working on a public project. The wages calculate hourly rates, benefits, and overtime pay and are calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor and Ohio Department of Commerce. As a protection to trades workers, prevailing wage law has been in place since 1931, when The Davis–Bacon Act was established.

Who Is Eligible for the Prevailing Wage Rate?

Prevailing wage is for public work construction workers, including union trade workers. This could include bricklayers, drywall finishers, electricians, laborers, painters, roofers, and many more.

There are usually two paths to establishing a prevailing wage within an area. Surveys are done collecting information from workers employed on similar projects, as political contract workers in the same state, or the rate cited by the United States Department of Labor.

Prevailing wage should be an amount that takes the following into account:

  • Apprentice plans
  • Hourly pay
  • Holiday and vacation pay
  • Insurance, health and life

Exemptions to prevailing wages can be made, but the project has to have an overall cost of less than $250,000 to qualify for this exemption.

What Do I Do If I Suspect I’m Underpaid?

If you are working on a public works construction project and you feel your paycheck is too low, talk to the contractor in charge of the project. The error could be a result of a mistake made in the accounting departments and it could be solved quickly. Particularly if there was an administrative error. But, if you have tried talking to the contractor and you are still not satisfied, discuss your situation with a Columbus employment lawyer.

The lawyers at Coffman Legal LLC are strong and committed advocates for all Ohio workers. Contact our attorneys today to further discuss your employment claim. They can guide you through the process of securing compensation that you deserve. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation.



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