The Nevada prevailing wage laws were enacted to ensure that contractors and subcontractors on public jobs are paid a reasonable amount of compensation. These prevailing wages are established by comparing the average rate paid for similar work, in a similar geographical region. Anyone working on a public project within the state should know what the rates are and the rules surrounding overtime and payments. This article will provide all you need to know about the Nevada prevailing wage laws.
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Nevada prevailing wages overview
The Nevada prevailing wage laws are found in Nev. Rev. Stat. §§338.020 to 338.090 and Nev. Admin. Code §§338.009 to 338.090. Any and all public projects that meet the contract price threshold are required to comply with these regulations. The statutes require that “The hourly and daily rate of wages must: (a) not be less than the rate of such wages then prevailing in the region in which the public work is located.” Let’s take a look at all the ins and outs of these requirements.
What types of projects
These regulations apply to public works projects (funded wholly or in part by public money) that have a contract price of over $100,000. There are some exceptions to this rule, the prevailing wage requirements don’t apply to contracts related to the normal operation or maintenance of the public body, contracts in response to emergencies or disasters, and any contracts involving railroads. This also includes construction work commissioned by the Nevada System of Higher Education where the estimated costs are at least $100,000; even if the work doesn’t qualify as a public work project.
Prevailing wage rates
The Nevada prevailing wage laws explicitly state that “the hourly and daily wages must not be less than prevailing in the region in which the public work is located.” The rate is determined by surveys conducted by the Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner. The prevailing wage rates will typically be set in October of each odd year and posted on the Office of the Labor Commissioner website.
Who must be paid prevailing wage rates?
The prevailing wage requirements apply to workers who are (a) employed at the site of the public work, and (b) necessary in the execution of the contract. Translation? Anyone who performs work on the physical place where the public work is being constructed or improved, and whose work is required in order to complete the project. So, these rates must essentially be paid to all contract and temporary workers.
There are, however, two exceptions to this rule; design professionals and apprentices. Design professionals include engineers, architects, land surveyors, landscape architects, and other similar professions. As for apprentices, they must be enrolled in a bona fide apprenticeship program and registered with the Nevada State Apprenticeship Council. These are the only classes of project participants that don’t need to be paid the prevailing wage rate.
How is overtime dealt with?
The Nevada prevailing wages law also provides that overtime will be compensated by time and a half (1 1/2 times the rate). Overtime pay will kick in when a person works more than 40 hours in a week, or more than 8 hours in one day. One exception to this is if there is a, what’s commonly referred to as a 10-4 agreement. This means that the contractor and sub mutually agreed to work 10 hours a day, for 4 calendar days within any scheduled work week.
Certified payroll reports
A certified payroll report is a monthly report that must be submitted to the public body once the project begins. Close attention to these requirements is crucial to avoid any non-compliance with the prevailing wage laws.
What should be included on a certified payroll report?
The document itself doesn’t have any particular form requirements, but it must contain all the relevant information in order to be valid. This includes the name and information of each worker, their classification, the hours worked, the rate of pay, identification of any apprentices, and if the workers are contributing to a bona fide fringe benefit program.
The classification of each worker is an incredibly important part of filling out a payroll report. When looking at the wage rates, each type of worker is given a classification number which determines their pay rate. Currently, there are 42 job classifications. Misclassifying a worker either by accident or purposefully can be a costly mistake.
How are the certified payroll reports submitted?
The certified payroll reports must be submitted to the public body by contractors and subs no later than the 15th day after the end of the month. Subcontractors can either submit the payrolls straight to the public body themselves or can send them to the prime contractor. If that’s the case, then the report must be submitted to the prime either 10 days after the end of the month, or on some other agreed upon date. Do not miss this deadline. Doing so can result in a violation and result in forfeiture (which is discussed below).
Review of certified payrolls
The public body who contracted the project has a duty to investigate any potential violations of the prevailing wage statutes. This is accomplished mainly through careful review of the certified payroll reports. So what exactly are they looking for?
One common violation is the misclassification of workers. This type of violation can be skewed in either direction. Either classifying a worker to earn a higher pay rate, or classifying a worker as an apprentice in order to pay that worker less. Also, the public entity will typically compare the hours worked against the wages paid. Particularly if the worker clocked in more than 8 hours a day, or 40 a week. They will make sure that they were paid the proper overtime wages.
Investigation of potential violations
So what exactly triggers an investigation? Any noncompliance is usually caught in one of three ways. This can be either through the public body catching deficiencies by a self-audit, a worker filing a wage complaint, or a third party complaint. Once the public entity is made aware of a potential violation, they will contact the Office of the Labor Commissioner to open an investigation.
Investigations will typically last no longer than 30 days unless the Labor Commissioner’s Office approves a longer period of time. This investigation usually consists of contractor interviews, gathering witness statements, reviewing paychecks to see if they match up with the certified payrolls, and allowing the accused an opportunity to be heard. If the person is ultimately found in violation, there are few different penalties that may be imposed.
Penalties for noncompliance
Anyone who is found to be in violation of these requirements can be charged with a misdemeanor. In Nevada, a misdemeanor can be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to 6 months, and a fine as much as $1,000. In addition to that, there are stautory penalties as well.
After given an opportunity for a hearing, the Labor Commissioner can impose fines on the person who failed to pay the prevailing wage rate. First, a general administrative penalty of $20 to $50 per day, per worker. In addition to this, other fines such as the difference between the prevailing wage rate and the actual rate paid can be imposed as well. Not to mention being forced to pay the costs that the public body incurred to investigate the matter. Depending on the job size and duration, these fines and penalties can add up quickly! Also, any major violations can lead to temporary or permanent disqualification from bidding on public projects. The Office of the Labor Commissioner keeps a running list of disqualified contractors.
The Nevada prevailing wage laws are designed to ensure that construction workers on public projects get paid a reasonable amount. However, violation of these regulations happens quite often. Blind reliance on the prime contractor and Board reviews of payrolls isn’t enough. Anyone working on a Nevada public project should be well informed of the law and their rights. They need to be proactive to be sure they get paid a reasonable wages on the project.