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California Prevailing Wage Law: Proper Determination Tied to Bid Advertisement Date

Prevailing wages are determined by the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and are issued twice a year in February and August. These wage rates create a “minimum wage” rate for workers employed on public works projects. The wage rates are adopted by using a modal rate, which means the rate most frequently paid to employees. This is not an average rate. Most often the wage rates adopted are those paid to union workers.

In California, prevailing wage determinations are issued on February 22 and August 22 of each year. The wage rates goes into effect ten days after the determination issue date.

The date of the first advertisement for bids, sometimes referred to as the “call for bids,” determines which prevailing wage determination is used. A project advertised for bid on August 15, 2009 with a bid opening date of September 10, 2009 is governed by the determination in effect on August 15 (2009-1) and not the determination issued at the end of August (2009-2).

The information above is brought to you by: Deborah Wilder’s “What Every Contractor Should Know About Prevailing Wages”

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