California’s SB 776 was signed by Governor Jerry Brown August 28, 2013. The bill strengthens existing workplace and labor protections for workers throughout California by protecting the wages and fringe benefits of workers on public works projects. Specifically, it closes loopholes in the prevailing wage law by clarifying that contractor payments for monitoring and enforcing laws related to public works cannot count as a credit towards the contractor’s obligation to pay prevailing wages if payments are inconsistent with federal law.
Both federal and state prevailing wage laws ensure public works projects are completed by competent workers, rather than allowing contractors to import low cost unskilled or low skilled labor from other areas. Some companies are utilizing contract compliance committees, which exclude workers and focus on repealing prevailing wage laws instead of complying with existing wage regulations.
Senator Ellen Corbett says, “This critical bill stops unscrupulous contractors from paying their workers less than prevailing wage and ensures that we codify these much needed worker protections in state law.”
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To ensure prevailing wages are being paid correctly on public works projects, many cities have utilized electronic monitoring software such as LCPtracker. The software will also catch fringe benefits and other wage regulations for all contractors submitting their Certified Payroll Reports; if there is any discrepancy, the Administrator will receive immediate notification. The LCPtracker system will collect, check and verify the contractors’ and subcontractors’ certified payrolls, thus helping to ensure that all contractors are compliant with the labor laws.