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Paso Robles, CA 93446
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Engineering Division


What are prevailing wages?
How are prevailing wage rates determined?
What are the requirements for prevailing wages?
Where can I find prevailing wage rate information?

What are prevailing wages?

  • Prevailing wages are specific, minimum hourly rates, predetermined by federal or state government that must be paid to construction workers on public works projects.
  • Public works projects are defined as construction, alteration, demolition or repair work done under contract and paid for in whole or in part out of public funds.
  • Prevailing wages also stipulate fringe benefit amounts for health insurance, pension, vacation and holiday time off.

How are prevailing wage rates determined?

  • Individual rates are determined for various crafts and trades (e.g., operating engineers, carpenters, cement mason, laborers, ironworkers, pipefitters, etc.) for different experience levels, tasks and types of projects.
  • Rates are usually, but not always, based on local (San Luis Obispo County) collective bargaining agreements.
  • Federally-funded jobs require prevailing wage rates on contracts more than $2,000; state-funded jobs require prevailing wage rates on contracts more than $1,000.
  • When City of Paso Robles projects are funded with a combination of federal and state funds, the higher wage rate must be paid.
  • If a wage rate increases during the course of a project, the higher rate must be paid.

What are the requirements for prevailing wages?

  • The state Davis-Bacon Act encourages a "level playing field" for bidders on public works projects.
  • As awarding agency, the City of Paso Robles must ensure contractors working on publicly funded construction projects comply with prevailing wage laws, regulations and codes. "Publicly funded" includes federal, state, city, redevelopment agency, and other local public agency sources.
  • The City requires submission of certifies payroll records on state of California Labor Code, Section 1776(c) forms; Caltrans form HC-347; or state Department of Industry Relations Public Works Payroll Reporting form A-1-131.

Where can I find prevailing wage rate information?

  • State rates are listed in the annual publication "General Prevailing Wage Determinations Made by the Director of Industrial Relations." This free publication and updates are available from Division of Labor Statistics and Research,  P.O. Box 420603, San Francisco, CA 94142-0603, (415) 972-8628.
  • Federal Davis-Bacon wage decisions can be found at
  • Weekly updates are incorporated in the Federal Register.
  • California state laws and regulations covering prevailing wages are set forth in the California Labor Code, Division 2, Part 7, and California Code of Regulations, Title 8.
  • Rates are regional; therefore local firms must refer to rates for San Luis Obispo County and California.

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