If you are a contractor or subcontractor in the state of Illinois, you should be aware of the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, which pertains to wages for construction workers, laborers, and mechanics on public works. Understanding the Act is important, as even unintentional violations of the law could have severe impacts on the economic health of a business and even prevent it from obtaining future public contracts with the state.
Under the Act, employees on public works must be paid the general prevailing rate on public works projects, which consists of the hourly cash rate as well as any fringe benefits awarded to other workers conducting work similar in character in the locality where the job is performed. To help aid with compliance, the Illinois Department of Labor provides a county by county list of the prevailing wages for various trades, including:
- Truck drivers
- Brick layers
- Cement masons
- Iron workers
The law defines “public works” as “all fixed works constructed or demolished by any public body, or paid for wholly or in part out of public funds” and includes “all projects financed in whole or in part with bonds, grants, loans, or other funds made available by or through the State or any of its political subdivisions.”
Penalties for violating the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act
Contractors and subcontractors found underpaying their laborers on public works projects must compensate the employees the difference between the wages paid and the prevailing wage under the law. Furthermore, violators could be subject to other penalties including fines and punitive damages.
Even worse, repeat violators could be barred for receiving contracts for public works projects for four years if found to have broken the provisions of the Prevailing Wage Act two times within a five-year period. Without the income from state government contracts, many construction companies would struggle to stay in business.
When the Illinois Department of Labor receives a complaint, the director conducts an audit and investigation of the incident and provides a notice of violation to the employer if one exists. After receiving a second notice of violation, the contractor may request an initiation of a hearing within 10 days of the notice to try and prevent the prohibition from receiving state contracts.
Illinois employment lawyers
If you received a notice your business violated the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, contact our office for a consultation on your case. The experienced employment lawyers of Goldman & Ehrlich can help your business avoid costly penalties or debarment which could cripple your company. Call us today 312-332-6733.