State law requires prevailing wages be paid to laborers, workers, and mechanics employed upon all public works and under all public building service maintenance contracts. The prevailing wage is the hourly wage, usual benefits, and overtime to the majority of workers, laborers, or mechanics in the same trade or occupation
Under current law, the director of the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is required, to the extent necessary to prevent curtailment of opportunities for employment, to provide for the employment of individuals with disabilities at wages lower than the applicable prevailing wage rate through the issuance of special certificates.
L&I has implemented rules carrying out the statute, authorizing nonprofit vocational rehabilitation programs to apply for subprevailing wage certificates for workers with certain disabilities. Subprevailing wage certificates are valid for a maximum of one year and may be renewed.
The statute requiring the director of L&I to provide for the employment of individuals with disabilities at wages lower than the applicable prevailing wage rate through the issuance of special certificates is repealed.
PRO: Last year, the Legislature eliminated subminimum wage certificates for people with disabilities, but the prevailing wage statute remains and continues to undervalue people with disabilities. This bill is an extension of the values and priorities of the bill from last year. People with different abilities should not be subject to less pay and all people deserve equal wages and employment opportunities. No certificates have been issued since 2017 and the bill would not affect any current employment relationships.