Pennsylvania Prompt Payment Overview

Pennsylvania’s prompt payment statutes set forth specific timeframes for when general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and others involved with a construction project must be paid. This page provides an overview of these regulations and addresses frequently asked questions related to the Pennsylvania prompt payment laws.

Pennsylvania Prompt Payment for Private Projects FAQs

Prompt Payment Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Have To Send A Letter or File Anything To Qualify For Prompt Payment Penalties or Remedies in Pennsylvania?

In order for the provisions of the Pennsylvania prompt pay statutes to apply, the party requesting payment must be entitled to payment pursuant to the terms of the contract. If the contract does not provide for a time period for payment, the timing requirements begin to count down upon receipt of a payment application.

Can I Include Prompt Payment Fees In My Pennsylvania Mechanics Liens Claim or Bond Claim?

No. Pennsylvania doesn’t allow miscellaneous amounts to be included on the face of a bond claim.

If I am paid late according to prompt payment statutes, can I obtain interest or other penalty payments?

There is no specific requirement for interest to begin to accrue on late payments provided the complex requirements for interest to apply are met. Further, if the board of Claims or an arbitrator determines that amounts were withheld in bad faith, an additional penalty of 1% per month on the wrongfully withheld amounts may be assessed.

Are there reasons for which payment may be withheld past the general deadline?

Pennsylvania allows payments to be withheld for deficiencies according to the contract between the parties. If payments are withheld, however, the party to be paid must be notified within 7 days of the paying party’s receipt of the invoice.

What is the best practice for making a demand to a non-paying party to get prompt payment fees?

Sending a notice of intent to lien and prompt payment demand is generally the best method for encouraging parties to make payment.

Pennsylvania Prompt Payment for Public Projects FAQs

Prompt Payment Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Have To Send A Letter or File Anything To Qualify For Prompt Payment Penalties or Remedies in Pennsylvania?

In order for the provisions of the Pennsylvania prompt pay statutes to apply, the party requesting payment must be entitled to payment pursuant to the terms of the contract. If the contract does not provide for a time period for payment, the timing requirements begin to count down upon receipt of a payment application.

Can I Include Prompt Payment Fees In My Pennsylvania Mechanics Liens Claim or Bond Claim?

No. Pennsylvania doesn’t allow miscellaneous amounts to be included on the face of a bond claim.

If I am paid late according to prompt payment statutes, can I obtain interest or other penalty payments?

There is no specific requirement for interest to begin to accrue on late payments provided the complex requirements for interest to apply are met. Further, if the board of Claims or an arbitrator determines that amounts were withheld in bad faith, an additional penalty of 1% per month on the wrongfully withheld amounts may be assessed.

Are there reasons for which payment may be withheld past the general deadline?

Pennsylvania allows payments to be withheld for deficiencies according to the contract between the parties. If payments are withheld, however, the party to be paid must be notified.

Pennsylvania Prompt Payment Statutes

Getting informed about prompt payment laws is important. An examination of Pennsylvania’s prompt payment laws, the rules and regulations related to payment timing, is important to know your rights and responsibilities as a party on a construction project. Pennsylvania’s specific laws can be found in: 73 Pa. C.S. §§ 501-516, 62 Pa. Con. Stat. §§ 3931 et seq., and are reproduced below.

Prompt Payment Statute on Private Projects

73 § 501: Short Title

This act shall be known and may be cited as the Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act.

73 § 502: Definitions
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
“Billing period.” A payment cycle agreed to by the parties or, in the absence of an agreement, the calendar month within which work is performed.
“Construction contract.” An agreement, whether written or oral, to perform work on any real property located within this Commonwealth.
“Contractor.” A person authorized or engaged by an owner to improve real property.
“Deficiency item.” Work performed but which the owner, the contractor or the inspector will not certify as being completed according to the specifications of a construction contract.
“Delivery.” Transmittal to an addressee, including, but not limited to, delivery by first class or registered mail, hand delivery or transmission by facsimile machine. Mail, properly addressed, shall be deemed delivered three days from the day it was sent.
“Improve.” To design, effect, alter, provide professional or skilled services, repair or demolish any improvement upon, connected with, or on or beneath the surface of any real property, to excavate, clear, grade, fill or landscape any real property, to construct driveways and private roadways, to furnish materials, including trees and shrubbery for any of these purposes, or to perform any labor upon improvements.
“Improvement.”
(1) All or any part of a building or structure.
(2) The erection, alteration, demolition, excavation, clearing, grading or filling of real property.
(3) Landscaping, including the planting of trees and shrubbery, and constructing driveways and private roadways on real property.
“Inspector.” The contractor or a person authorized or engaged by the owner to inspect the work performed pursuant to a construction contract to determine whether the work completed is in compliance with the construction contract.
“Owner.” A person who has an interest in the real property that is improved and who ordered the improvement to be made. The term includes successors in interest of the owner and agents of the owner acting with their authority.
“Person.” A corporation, partnership, business trust, other association, estate, trust foundation or a natural individual.
“Real property.” Real estate that is improved, including lands, leaseholds, tenements and hereditaments, and improvements placed thereon.
“Subcontractor.” A person who has contracted to furnish labor or materials to, or has performed labor for, a contractor or another subcontractor in connection with a contract to improve real property.
73 § 503: Application of act
(a) Number of residential units.–This act shall not apply to improvements to real property which consists of six or fewer residential units which are under construction simultaneously.
(b) Owner’s exclusion.–This act shall not apply to contracts for the purchase of materials by a person performing work on his or her own real property.
73 § 504: Performance by contractor or subcontractor

Performance by a contractor or a subcontractor in accordance with the provisions of a contract shall entitle the contractor or subcontractor to payment from the party with whom the contractor or subcontractor has contracted.

73 § 505: Owner's payment obligations
(a) Construction contract.–The owner shall pay the contractor strictly in accordance with terms of the construction contract.
(b) Absence of payment term.–In the absence of a construction contract or in the event that the construction contract does not contain a term governing the terms of payment, the contractor shall be entitled to invoice the owner for progress payments at the end of the billing period. The contractor shall be entitled to submit a final invoice for payment in full upon completion of the agreed-upon work.
(c) Time for payment.–Except as otherwise agreed by the parties, payment of interim and final invoices shall be due from the owner 20 days after the end of a billing period or 20 days after delivery of the invoice, whichever is later.
(d) Interest.–Except as otherwise agreed by the parties, if any progress or final payment to a contractor is not paid within seven days of the due date established in subsection (c), the owner shall pay the contractor, beginning on the eighth day, interest at the rate of 1% per month or fraction of a month on the balance that is at the time due and owing.
73 § 506: Owner's withholding of payment for good faith claims
(a) Authority to withhold.–The owner may withhold payment for deficiency items according to the terms of the construction contract. The owner shall pay the contractor according to the provisions of this act for any item which appears on the invoice and has been satisfactorily completed.
(b) Notice.–If an owner withholds payment from a contractor for a deficiency item, it shall notify the contractor of the deficiency item within seven calendar days of the date that the invoice is received.
73 § 507: Contractor's and Subcontractor's Payment Obligations
(a) Entitlement to payment.–Performance by a subcontractor in accordance with the provisions of the contract shall entitle the subcontractor to payment from the party with whom the subcontractor has contracted.
(b) Disclosure of payment dates.–A contractor or subcontractor shall disclose to a subcontractor, before a subcontract is executed, the due date for receipt of payments from the owner. Notwithstanding any other provision of this act, if a contractor or subcontractor fails to accurately disclose the due date to a subcontractor, the contractor or subcontractor shall be obligated to pay the subcontractor as though the due dates established in section 5(c) w/ere met by the owner. This subsection shall not apply to a change in due dates because of conditions outside of the contractor’s control, including, but not limited to, design changes, change orders or delays in construction due to weather conditions.
(c) Time for payment.–When a subcontractor has performed in accordance with the provisions of the contract, a contractor shall pay to the subcontractor, and each subcontractor shall in turn pay to the subcontractor’s subcontractors, the full or proportional amount received for each such subcontractor’s work and materials, based on work completed or service provided under the subcontract, 14 days after receipt of each progress or final payment or 14 days after receipt of the subcontractor’s invoice, whichever is later. Payment shall be made under this section unless it is being withheld under section 11.
(d) Interest.–If any progress or final payment to a subcontractor is delayed beyond the date established in subsection (b) or (c), the contractor or subcontractor shall pay the subcontractor interest, beginning on the next day, at the rate provided for in section 5(d) on the balance that is at the time due and owing.
73 § 508: Errors in Documentation
(a) Notice of defect.–If an invoice is filled out incorrectly or incompletely or if there is any other defect or impropriety in an invoice, the person who receives the invoice shall give written notice to the person who sent the invoice within ten working days of receipt of the invoice.
(b) Payment of amount incurred.–The person receiving the incorrect invoice shall pay the amount actually incurred on the due date in accordance with the provisions of this act.
73 § 509: Retainage
(a) Time for payment.–If payments under a construction contract are subject to retainage, any amounts which have been retained during the performance of the contract and which are due to be released to the contractor upon final completion shall be paid within 30 days after final acceptance of the work.
(b) Agreement between contractor and subcontractor.–If an owner is not withholding retainage, a contractor may withhold retainage from a subcontractor in accordance with their agreement. The retainage shall be paid within 30 days after final acceptance of the work.
(c) Payment of retainage to subcontractors.–A contractor shall pay to the contractor’s subcontractors, and each subcontractor shall in turn pay to the subcontractor’s subcontractors, within 14 days after receipt of the retainage, the full amount due each subcontractor.
(d) Withholding acceptance or failure to pay retainage.–If an owner, contractor or subcontractor unreasonably withholds acceptance of work or fails to pay retainage as required by this section, the owner, contractor or subcontractor shall be subject to the payment of interest at the rate established in section 5(d) on the balance due and owing on the date acceptance was unreasonably withheld or the date the retainage was due and owing, whichever is applicable. The owner, contractor or subcontractor shall also be subject to the provisions of section 12.
73 § 510: Prepayment; Advance Payment

This act shall not be construed to prohibit an owner, contractor or subcontractor from making advance payments or progress payments, or from prepaying if an agreement or other circumstances make such payment appropriate. All payments shall be made when they are due and owing and if not so made shall bear interest at the rate provided for in section 5(d) from the date payment was due. The person who fails to make timely payment shall also be subject to the provisions of section 11.

73 § 511: Contractor's Withholding of Payment for Good Faith Claims
(a) Authority to withhold.–The contractor or subcontractor may withhold payment from any subcontractor responsible for a deficiency item. The contractor or subcontractor shall pay any subcontractor according to the provisions of this act for any item which appears on the invoice and has been satisfactorily completed.
(b) Notice.–If a contractor or subcontractor withholds payment from a subcontractor for a deficiency item, it must notify the subcontractor or supplier and the owner of the reason within seven calendar days of the date after receipt of the notice of the deficiency item.
73 § 512: Penalty and Attorney Fee
(a) Penalty for failure to comply with act.–If arbitration or litigation is commenced to recover payment due under this act and it is determined that an owner, contractor or subcontractor has failed to comply with the payment terms of this act, the arbitrator or court shall award, in addition to all other damages due, a penalty equal to 1% per month of the amount that was wrongfully withheld. An amount shall not be deemed to have been wrongfully withheld to the extent it bears a reasonable relation to the value of any claim held in good faith by the owner, contractor or subcontractor against whom the contractor or subcontractor is seeking to recover payment.
(b) Award of attorney fee and expenses.–Notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary, the substantially prevailing party in any proceeding to recover any payment under this act shall be awarded a reasonable attorney fee in an amount to be determined by the court or arbitrator, together with expenses.
73 § 513: Contracts Involving Federal Aid

If any provision of this act conflicts with a Federal statute or regulation or with conditions attached to the receipt of Federal aid, this act shall not operate to prevent receipt of Federal aid.

73 § 514: Applicable Law

Making a contract subject to the laws of another state or requiring that any litigation, arbitration or other dispute resolution process on the contract occur in another state, shall be unenforceable.

73 § 515: Applicability
This act shall apply to construction contracts executed on or after the effective date of this act.
73 § 516: Third Party Claims
Once a contractor has made payment to the subcontractor according to the payment terms of the construction contract or the provisions of this act, future claims for payment against the contractor by parties owed payment from the subcontractor which has been paid shall be barred.

Prompt Payment Statute on Public Projects

62 § 3931: Performance by Contractor or Subcontractor

(a)  Entitlement of contractor to payment. Performance by a contractor in accordance with the provisions of a contract shall entitle the contractor to payment by the government agency.

(b)  Entitlement of subcontractor to payment. Performance by a subcontractor in accordance with the provisions of a contract shall entitle the subcontractor to payment from the contractor with whom the subcontractor has contracted.

62 § 3932: Government Agency's Progress Payment Obligations

(a)  Payments in accordance with contract.  The government agency shall pay the contractor or design professional strictly in accordance with the contract.

(b)  Application for progress payments.  If the contract does not contain a term governing the time for payment, the contractor or design professional shall be entitled to make application for payment from the government agency for progress payments, and the government agency shall make payment less the applicable retainage amount as authorized in section 3921 (relating to retainage) to the contractor or design professional within 45 calendar days of the date the application for payment is received.

(c)  Interest on progress payments not timely made.  Except as otherwise agreed by the parties, if any progress payment less the applicable retainage amount as authorized in section 3921 is not made to a contractor or design professional by the due date established in the contract or in subsection (b), the government agency shall pay to the contractor or design professional, in addition to the amount due, interest on the amount due, and the interest shall be computed at the rate determined by the Secretary of Revenue for interest payments on overdue taxes or the refund of taxes as provided in sections 806 and 806.1 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.343, No.176), known as The Fiscal Code.

(d)  When interest payment not required.  In the event that the contract does not contain a grace period and if a contractor or design professional is not paid by the payment date required by subsection (b), no interest penalty payment required under this section shall be paid if payment is made on or before the 15th calendar day after the payment date required under this subchapter.

62 § 3933: Contractor's and Subcontractor's Payment Obligations

(a)  Performance by subcontractor entitles subcontractor to payment.  Performance by a subcontractor in accordance with the provisions of the contract shall entitle the subcontractor to payment from the party with whom the subcontractor has contracted. For purposes of this section, the contract between the contractor and subcontractor is presumed to incorporate the terms of the contract between the contractor and the government agency.

(b)  Disclosure of progress payment due dates.   A contractor or subcontractor shall disclose to a subcontractor, before a subcontract is executed, the due date for receipt of progress payments from the government agency. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this subchapter, if a contractor or a subcontractor fails to accurately disclose the due date to a subcontractor, the contractor or subcontractor shall be obligated to pay the subcontractor as though the due dates established in subsection (c) were met by the government agency. This subsection shall not apply to a change in due dates because of conditions outside of the contractor’s control, including, but not limited to, design changes, change orders or delays in construction due to weather conditions.

(c)  Payment.  When a subcontractor has performed in accordance with the provisions of the contract, a contractor shall pay to the subcontractor, and each subcontractor shall in turn pay to its subcontractors, the full or proportional amount received for each such subcontractor’s work and material, based on work completed or services provided under the subcontract, 14 days after receipt of a progress payment. Payment shall be made under this section unless it is being withheld under section 3934 (relating to withholding of payment for good faith claims).

(d)  Interest due when progress payment not timely.  If any progress payment is not made to a subcontractor by the due date established in the contract or in subsection (c), the contractor shall pay to the subcontractor, in addition to the amount due, interest as computed in section 3932(c) (relating to government agency’s progress payment obligations).

(e)  When interest payment not required.  In the event that the contract does not contain a grace period and if a subcontractor is not paid by the payment date required by subsection (c), no interest penalty payment required under this section shall be paid if payment is made on or before the 15th calendar day after the payment date required under this subchapter.

62 § 3934: Withholding of Payment for Good Faith Claims

(a)  When government agency may withhold payment.   The government agency may withhold payment for deficiency items according to terms of the contract. The government agency shall pay the contractor according to the provisions of this subchapter for all other items which appear on the application for payment and have been satisfactorily completed. The contractor may withhold payment from any subcontractor responsible for a deficiency item. The contractor shall pay any subcontractor according to the provisions of this subchapter for any item which appears on the application for payment and has been satisfactorily completed.

(b)  Notification when payment withheld for deficiency item.   If a government agency withholds payment from a contractor for a deficiency item, it shall notify the contractor of the deficiency item within the time period specified in the contract or 15 calendar days of the date that the application for payment is received. If a contractor withholds payment from a subcontractor for a deficiency item, it must notify the subcontractor or supplier and the government agency of the reason within 15 calendar days of the date after receipt of the notice of the deficiency item from the government agency.

62 § 3935: Penalty and Attorney Fees

(a)  Penalty.  If arbitration or a claim with the Board of Claims or a court of competent jurisdiction is commenced to recover payment due under this subchapter and it is determined that the government agency, contractor or subcontractor has failed to comply with the payment terms of this subchapter, the arbitrator, the Board of Claims or the court may award, in addition to all other damages due, a penalty equal to 1% per month of the amount that was withheld in bad faith. An amount shall be deemed to have been withheld in bad faith to the extent that the withholding was arbitrary or vexatious. An amount shall not be deemed to have been withheld in bad faith to the extent it was withheld pursuant to section 3934 (relating to withholding of payment for good faith claims).

(b)  Attorney fees.   Notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary, the prevailing party in any proceeding to recover any payment under this subchapter may be awarded a reasonable attorney fee in an amount to be determined by the Board of Claims, court or arbitrator, together with expenses, if it is determined that the government agency, contractor or subcontractor acted in bad faith. An amount shall be deemed to have been withheld in bad faith to the extent that the withholding was arbitrary or vexatious.

62 § 3936: Contracts Involving Federal Aid

If any provision of this chapter conflicts with a Federal statute or regulation or with conditions attached to the receipt of Federal aid, this chapter shall not operate to prevent receipt of the Federal aid in accordance with any Federal statute or regulation.

62 § 3937: Certain Provisions Uneforceable

A provision in the contract making it subject to the laws of another state or requiring that any litigation, arbitration or other dispute resolution process on the contract occurs in another state shall be unenforceable.

62 § 3938: Applicability

(a)  Not applicable in certain situations.  This subchapter shall not apply in the following situations:

(1)  Section 3932 (relating to government agency’s progress payment obligations) shall not apply when the Commonwealth agency’s nonpayment on a particular project is caused by the failure of the General Assembly to enact a budget for the fiscal year of payment.

(2)  Section 3932 shall not apply when a local government unit’s nonpayment on a particular project is caused by failure of the Federal or State Government to pay funds due and payable to the local government unit.

(3)  Section 3932 shall not apply when a government agency’s nonpayment on a particular project is caused by the failure of the General Assembly to enact an operating budget for the fiscal year of payment or a capital budget for the capital project or by failure of the Federal, State or local government to pay funds designated or to be designated for the specific project.

(4)  Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to require payment of interest penalties by the Federal or State Government if the local government unit is liable for the interest.

(b)  Not applicable to following entities.  This chapter shall not apply to any of the following:

(1)  A municipality determined to be distressed under the act of July 10, 1987 (P.L.246, No.47), known as the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act.

(2)  A school district which has been determined to be a distressed school district under section 691 of the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949.

(3)  A city of the first class that has entered into an intergovernmental cooperation agreement under the act of June 5, 1991 (P.L.9, No.6), known as the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority Act for Cities of the First Class, for so long as any deficit-reducing bonds issued by the authority pursuant to section 301(b)(1) of that act are outstanding and payable.

(4)  A corporate entity or school district as defined in the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority Act for Cities of the First Class.

(5)  A transportation authority organized or operating under 74 Pa.C.S. Ch. 17 (relating to metropolitan transportation authorities).

62 § 3939: Claims by Innocent Parties

(a)  No obligation to third parties.–The government agency shall have no obligation to any third parties for any claim.

(b)  Barred claims.–Once a contractor has made payment to the subcontractor according to the provisions of this subchapter, future claims for payment against the contractor or the contractor’s surety by parties owed payment from the subcontractor which has been paid shall be barred.