House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
Labor & Workplace Standards Committee
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
Brief Description: Concerning the time period for workers to recover wages under prevailing wage laws.
Sponsors: Representatives Frame, Sells, Gregerson, Doglio, Stambaugh, Ormsby, Manweller, Dent, Stonier, Steele, J. Walsh, Goodman, Bergquist and Pollet.
Hearing Date: 2/2/17
Staff: Joan Elgee (786-7106).
Prevailing Wage Determinations.
State law requires that contractors pay prevailing wages to laborers, workers, and mechanics
employed on all public works contracts and public building service maintenance contracts.
The prevailing wage is the hourly wage, usual benefits, and overtime paid in the largest city
in each county to the majority of individuals in the same trade or occupation. The prevailing
wage for each county and occupation is established by the industrial statistician for the
Department of Labor and Industries (Department).
The industrial statistician is authorized to issue determinations regarding the prevailing wage
in response to requests by interested parties. These determinations may be sought to clarify
how prevailing wage law applies to a specific project. For example, determinations may
examine whether the prevailing wage is owed for work on a project or the appropriate scope
of work governing the wage of a given group of workers.
Recovering Prevailing Wages Owed.
If an employer fails to pay a worker wages owed, the worker may file a wage complaint with
the Department. The Department must investigate and if a violation is found, may order the employer to pay backpay and interest. The Department applies a three year statute of limitations and looks back three years for wages owed. As an alternative to collecting wages through the Department's complaint process, workers may file a private right of action for unpaid prevailing wages.
Summary of Bill:
The time period to recover wages affected by a prevailing wage determination is tolled until the determination is final.
Fiscal Note: Requested on January 27, 2017.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.