Department of Labor

Enforcement of the Prevailing Wage on Public Construction Contracts

Contractors on public construction projects are required by State law to provide their employees with wages and fringe benefits commensurate with those received by similarly employed workers in the locality of the project. This requirement is enforced by the Department of Labor, which establishes prevailing wage rates and investigates complaints. State law provides that complaint investigations be settled or closed within six months of the date the complaint was received by the Department. However, we found that the investigations generally were not completed within six months and often took more than two years to complete. In our review of the investigation process, we determined that investigations were often slow to be initiated, as 37 of the 60 complaints in our sample (62 percent) were not even assigned to an investigator for at least six months. Department officials attributed delays in assigning complaints to a shortage of investigators, and stated that the investigations themselves were delayed when contractors were uncooperative and investigators were unable to obtain information from other government units. We recommended that the Bureau develop an action plan for reducing the large backlog of open investigations, develop caseload standards for investigators, analyze staffing needs in terms of these standards, and better coordinate with other government units.

For a complete copy of Report 2001-S-68 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.