ElI5: How does prevailing wage work?

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Looking at a job that has prevailing wage and don’t know what it means. Is it a good thing?

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4 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s kind of like saying “industry standard” wage. They’re claiming that they pay roughly what most of their industry would pay for a similar role and experience.

What it really means is they’re not committing to anything up front and you’re going to have to do research on the offer IF you get it to verify that it’s ACTUALLY a competitive wage.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Odds are it’s a good thing. We use that term frequently in Union labor. It’s a benchmark to be sure that no one in a particular industry or specialty is significantly undercutting everyone else in that same industry or specialty.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Are you in construction? If so, generally that means the wages are pretty high.

Sometimes people use the term interchangeably with something like “market rate,” but it does have a specific legal definition as outlined in the Davis-Bacon Act.

I work in real estate development. Some project I work on are legally required to pay prevailing wages which roughly track with union wages.

If the job means the actual legally defined term of prevailing wages, you should be able to look up exactly what the wage is for your county. In my county though, a carpenter for instance makes a base rate of $50/hour, increased pay for weekend and holidays, double pay if it’s overtime on a weekend, plus we have pay into their pension and benefits.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It might vary by state, but in my state, Labor and Industry (L&I, the same people that do worker’s comp claims) has access to Collective Bargaining Agreements. Prevailing wage is then established using CBA rates by job function and by county (usually, I think some ports, cities, and other municipalities will sometimes have unique prevailing wages). The prevailing wage then becomes the minimum wage allowable for work that receives funding from government contracts.

Paying people by job can be administratively burdensome, so larger government contracts often end up with prevailing wage as just their minimum wage.