Friday, June 28, 2019

Local Governments Can No Longer Adopt a Prevailing Wage

Overlooked by many in the flurry of legislation that has been passed since Governor Pritzker’s inauguration is P.A. 100-1177, which took effect on June 1, 2019. This Act abolishes the ability of local governments to determine their own prevailing wage and instead, puts that power in the hands of the Department of Labor.

Prior to P.A. 100-1177, every June each local government which secured contracts for public works (e.g. the construction of roads, buildings, waterworks, etc.) was required to adopt a prevailing wage ordinance. This ordinance would determine the “prevailing wage”, i.e., the amount that would be paid to workers on those public works projects. This “prevailing wage” needed to be at least the same wage as that paid to workers for similar projects in the area.

The Illinois Department of Labor set forth a prevailing wage, and many local governments simply adopted an ordinance that made their prevailing wage the same as the DOL’s. But many didn’t, preferring to adopt a prevailing wage more appropriate to the economic conditions of their communities. P.A. 100-1177 takes away their ability to do this, forcing all local governments to pay workers on public works contracts the amounts set forth by the Department of Labor.

P.A. 100-1177 does not require municipalities to continue to adopt prevailing wage ordinances, so that is one thing they can take off of their agenda. And P.A. 100-1177 does not require local governments to use union labor or hire only general contractors. It also does not change any of the requirements of contractors receiving public works contracts, which I describe in detail here.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions about P.A. 100-1177 or the Prevailing Wage Law.