FAQ'S 
Illinois Prevailing Wage Frequently Asked Questions

The Illinois Prevailing Wage Act can be very confusing.  Please take time to browse through the FAQ's below, if you are unable to find your question or you need further explaination to a question below, please call the ABCIL office.

What is a public work?

Public works are all fixed work construction by any public body, paid in whole or in part with public funds.  It also includes all projects funded in whole or in part by the Industrial Project Revenue Bond Act, the Illinois Development Finance Authority Act, the Build Illinois Bond Act, and the Build Illinois Act.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/2.  The Illinois Attorney General issued an opinion regarding the term, "public works," warning that a narrow application of the prevision would "serve only to sanction schemes for circumventing the intent and purpose of the law..."  If you wish to review the Attorney General opinion, click here Op.Ill. Att'y Gen. No. 97-014, p.7 (July 7, 1997).

What does, "the locality in which the work is being performed" mean?

Generally, "locality" means the county where the physical work upon public works is performed.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/2.

What type of work is covered?

Construction work on public works and the transportation of materials and equipment to or from the site.  Construction means all work on public works including laborers, workers or mechanics.  Transportation by the sellers and suppliers or the manufacture of processing of materials or equipment is not included.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/2 and 3.

What is the penalty for a violation of the Act?

Anyone found to have violated the Act is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.  A violation occurs when: (1) records are not kept, (2) records are not provided or access is denied; and (3) less than the prevailing wages are paid.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/4

Who determines prevailing wage classifications and rates, and what is the process?

Section 9 of the Prevailing Wage Act charges a public body (or IDOL upon the public body's default of this right and duty) to investigate and ascertain the prevailing rate of wages on a countywide basis during June of each calendar year. Section 4 of the Act requires the public body (or IDOL, upon the public body's request) to apply the wage rates ascertained under Section 9 to each contract that the public body undertakes.  Section 2 of the Act defines the term, "public body," to include the State and all of its political subdivisions.  Section 4 further provides that IDOL may revise the rates and that the revisions shall apply to contracts of public bodies.  Public bodies are responsible for notifying contractors and subcontractors of the revised rates.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/2, 4 and 9.  The Illinois Attorney General issued an opinion addressing the procedure for investigating, finding, announcing, defending, and adjusting prevailing wage classification and rate determinations.  If you wish to review the Attorney General opinion, click here Op. Ill. Att'y Gen. No. 99-010 (July 9, 1999).

When do prevailing rates change?

The prevailing wage rates are ascertained during the month of June each year (820 ILCS 130/9) with revisions published monthly.  Fore more information click here 920 ILCS 130/4.

When is the payment of prevailing wage required?

Prevailing wage is required to be paid when there is consturction of a fixed work by a public body paid for in whole or in part with public funds.  Additionally, all projects financed in whole or in part with bonds issued under the Industrial Project Revenue Bond Act, the Industrial Building Revenue Bond Act, the Illinois Development Finance Authority Act, or the Build Illinois Bond Act, and all projects financied in whole or in part with loans or other funds made availalbe pursuant to The Build Illinois Act as now or when any of these Acts may hereafter be amended.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/2.

When there is no call for bids or written contract and a public body contacts a contractor for minor repairs with a purchase order, does the prevailing wage apply?

Yes.  Not less than the general prevailing rate of hourly wages for work of a similar character on public works in the locality in which the work is performed, and not less than the general prevailing rate of hourly wages for legal holiday and overtime work, shall be paid to all laborers, workers and mechanics employed by or on behalf of any public body engaged in the construction of public works.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/3.

Is demolition work covered?

Yes, when it is done in connection with a public works construction project.

Is landscaping work covered?

Yes, when it is done in connection with a pubic works construction project.

Is driving time to and from a job site covered by prevailing wage requirements?

Only such laborers, workers, and mechanics as are directly employed by contractors or subcontractors in actual construction work on the site of the building or construction job, and laborers, workers and mechanics engaged in the transportation of materials and equipment to or from the site, but not incuding the transportation by the sellers and suppliers or the manufacture or processing of materials or equipment, in the execution of any contract or contracts for public works with any public body shall be deemed to be employed upon public works.  This activity requires prevailing wage payments.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/3

I'm a non-union contractor.  Am I required to pay prevailing wage, including fringe benefits?

Yes.  All contractors performing construction requiring the payment of prevailing wage must pay ALL components of the prevailing wage package.

Fringe benefits are a part of the total prevailing wage package just like the basic hourly rate.  To be in compliance with the Act, all components of the prevailing wage package must be paid by all contractors who perform work pursuant to the Act regardless of their affiliation or lack of affiliation with a union.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/2.

As a contractor, if the public body does NOT notify me that prevailing wage is required, what are my responsibilities and rights?

It is the contractors responsibility to pay their workers the proper wage payments, even if you have not been properly notified by the public body.  You would have the right to discuss the situation with the public body and request reimbursement for any shortage caused due to lack of notification.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/3.

In addition, any contract for public works awarded at a time when the prevailing wage prerequisits have not been met shall be void as against public policy and the contractor is prohibited from recovering any damages for the voiding of the contract or pursuant to the terms of the contract.  The contractor is limited to a claim for amounts actually paid for labor and materials supplied to the public body.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/11.

What happens if I can't find a classification for the type of work that my company's employees perform?

Call the Illinois Department of Labor for clarification on which classification would perform the work in question.

What is "training" and how does it apply to me?

"Training" became a component of the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act effective January 1, 2000 (Public Act 91-0105).  All contractors subject to the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act must pay the training allotment.  If the employer does not have a U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship Training program, the difference must be paid to the employee.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/2.

Can I deduct from the prevailing wage requirement any of the cost for training that I give my employee?

You may receive credit toward the "training" requirement if your training program is approved through the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship Training.  However, if your per hour training cost is less than the prevailing wage training requirement, the difference must be paid to the employee.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/2

If I do not have a pension of health and welfare plan and I add these allotments to the base rate do I tax the entire amount?

Yes.  Absent the approved plans the allotments are considered a taxable wage.

Why can't I call my workers "laborers" and pay them the laborer rate?

Not less than the general prevailing rate of hourly wages for work of a similar character on public works in the locality in which the work is performed, and not less than the general prevailing rate of hourly wages for legal holiday and overtime work, shall be paid to all laborers, workers and mechanics employed by or on behalf of any public body engaged in the construction of public works.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/3.

If there is an increase in any component of the prevailing wage package during a project, am I required to pay my employees the increase even though I bid the project at a lower rate?

All bid specifications shall list the specified rates to all laborers, workers and mechanics in the locality for each craft or type of worker or mechanic needed to execute the contract.  If the Department of Labor revises the prevailing rate of hourly wages to be paid by the public body, the revised rate shall apply to such contract, and the public body shall be responsible to notify the contractor and each subcontractor, or revised rate.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/4.

How am I to know when rate increases occur?

If the Department of Labor revises the prevailing rate of hourly wages to be paid by the public body, the revised rate shall apply to such contract, and the public body shall be responsible to notify the contractor and each subcontractor, of the revised rate.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/4.

If not informed of increases, it is still the contractors responsibility to pay the increased rate.  You do have the right to discuss the situation with the public body and request reimbursement for any shortage caused due to lack of notification.

Illinois Prevailing Wage rates are posted on the Department's website approximately two weeks before the effective date.  By checking the site, you will be away of any increases prior to any hours worked at a new rate.

Do contractors and subcontractors have to pay the State prevailing wage rates on federal construction projects requiring compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act?

No.  The Illinois Prevailing Wage Act does not apply to federal construction projects requiring a prevailing wage determination by the U.S. Secretary of Labor under the Davis-Bacon Act.  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/11.  If you wish to locate additional information on the Davis-Bacon Act, click here.

As a contractor, do I need an attorney to deal with a prevailing wage claim?

Only you can answer that question.  While attorneys are not required, the regulations allow for both parties to be represented by a licensed attorney.  Attorneys are not provided by the Department for either party.

Do I have to be in a union to be entitled to the prevailing wage?

No, Section 3 requires that "not less than the general preavailing rate of hourly wages...shall be paid to all laborers, workers and mechanics employed on behalf of any public body engaged in the construction of public works."  For more information, click here 820 ILCS 130/3.

What constitutes holiday?

Each prevailing wage explanation sheet lists the holidays considered applicable to the Act.  Check the website for the county in question and refer to the explanation sheet.


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