A contractor may employ apprentices and pay the applicable apprenticeship rate only for those individuals who are properly enrolled in a Bureau of Apprenticeship Training (BAT) program. The BAT may have agreements with various state apprenticeship agencies so that many (but not all) apprenticeship programs have both BAT and local state approval. Only those workers enrolled in a bona fide approved BAT apprenticeship program may be employed as apprentices and paid the lower apprenticeship rates for workers performing work on Davis-Bacon projects.
There is also an approved apprenticeship ratio that controls the number of apprentices on a particular jobsite. Some programs provide that there can be one apprentice for every three journeyman working. That means after there are three journeymen working, the fourth employee can be an apprentice. Once there are 6 more journeymen working, then the 8th employee may be an apprentice. Each apprenticeship may have a different ratio, so it is important for those contractors employing apprentices to comply with the ratio. A contractor may NOT hire any worker, call them an apprentice and pay the lower apprenticeship rate. It does not matter if you hire a local college student or summer help that knows little or nothing about construction. All workers must be paid the Davis-Bacon rate published for the project unless they are enrolled in a BAT approved apprenticeship committee.
The information above is brought to you by: Deborah Wilder’s “What Every Contractor Should Know About Prevailing Wages”