New Jersey Prevailing Wage Information
The New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act (N.J.S.A. 34:11-56.25 et seq.) establishes a prevailing wage level for workers engaged in public works in order to safeguard the workers efficiency and general well-being, and to protect them as well as their employers from the effects of serious and unfair competition resulting from wage levels that are detrimental to the efficiency and well-being of all concerned.
The Act requires the payment of minimum rates of pay to laborers, craftsmen and apprentices employed on public works projects. Covered workers must receive the appropriate craft prevailing wage rate as determined by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. Prevailing wage rates are wage rates based on the collective bargaining agreements established for a particular craft or trade in the locality in which the public work is performed. In New Jersey, these rates vary by county and by the type of work performed.
Public works projects subject to the Act are those funded in whole or in part with the funds of a public body. Contracts awarded directly by municipal government must be valued at $15,444 (effective July 1, 2014) or more to be covered by the Act. For all other public entities, including municipal utility authorities and boards of education, the threshold is $2,000.
Anyone interested in bidding on or engaging in any contract (or part thereof) for public work which is subject to the provisions of the Prevailing Wage Act must register with the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance as required by the Public Works Contractor Registration Act (PWCRA) P.L. 1999, c.238-N.J.S.A. 34:11-56.48 et seq. which establishes a unified procedure for the registration of contractors and subcontractors engaged in public works building projects. The PWCRA requires an annual registration fee of $300. After successful completion of two consecutive years of registration, a contractor may elect to register for a two-year period and pay a registration fee of $500.
Upon registration, the contractor and/or subcontractor will be issued a certificate indicating compliance with the requirements of the Act. Public bodies are expected to require proof of registration of all contractors bidding on the project and all subcontractors identified in such bids.
Public works contract
Public work means any construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration or repair work, or maintenance work including painting and decorating, done under contract and paid for in whole or in part out of the funds of the public body, except work performed under a rehabilitation program.
Public work also means construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration, or repair work done on any property or premises, whether or not the work is paid from public funds, if at the time of entering into the contract:
- Not less than 55% of the property or premises is leased by a public body, or is subject to an agreement to be subsequently leased by the public body; and
- The portion of the property or premises that is leased or subject to an agreement to be subsequently leased by the public body measures more than 20,000 square feet.
The Division of Wage and Hour Compliance Public Contracts Section regulates the payment of prevailing wage rates on public work projects through:
- the distribution of a prevailing wage rate determination for each trade, craft and classification;
- the routine site inspections of public construction projects;
- the implementation of fines and penalties to offenders; and
- the debarment from bidding and working on public works projects for three years for those contractors determined to be serious offenders.
New Jersey prevailing wage law requires the following thresholds:
- the total value must exceed $2,000 if the work is being done for, or on property or premises owned by, any other public entity, including boards of education and municipal utility authorities;
- the total value of the project must exceed $15,444 (effective July 1, 2014) if the work is being done for, or on property or premises owned by, a municipality; or
- the total value of aggregate cost of maintenance and repair of the project is $50,000.
(e.g., If the state wants to repair a sewer and they send down cameras to investigate whether the repair is needed and conclude that the repair is needed. If the cost of sewer repair and investigation cost (e.g., taking camera in for investigation) exceeds $50,000, then the state funds the project. Generally, investigation cost is not included when calculating a project value but this law made an exception
TIMING OF WAGE DETERMINATIONS & INCREASES
The Prevailing Wage Rate Determinations list wage and fringe benefit rates based on collective bargaining agreements established for a particular craft or trade on the locality in which the public work is performed. In New Jersey, rates vary by county and statewide and by the type of work performed.
To view either the statewide and/or individual county lists detailing Prevailing Wage Rate Determinations click here.
Applicable prevailing wage rates are those wages and fringe benefits in effect on the date the contract is awarded. All pre-determined rate increases listed at the time the contract is awarded must also be paid, beginning on the dates specified.
Rates may change between the time of issuance of the determination and the award of the public works contract. Therefore, verification must be made to insure that the rates contained in the determination are prevailing rates in effect for the specific location the work is being performed prior to the award of the public works contract. If a new rate is not listed after the expiration date, the old rate will be deemed the prevailing wage rate.
According to New Jersey prevailing wage law, overtime varies depending on trade classification. Generally, overtime is paid at a rate of time and one-half for working on Monday thru Saturday. Generally, for "municipal water works" projects only, four ten hours days may be worked at straight time Monday thru Thursday Overtime is generally recognized as any hours worked in excess of eight hours per day on Monday thru Friday. When the wage determination states that overtime is "inclusive of benefits" the benefit rate is increased by the same factor as the wage rate (e.g., multiplied by time and one-half, double time, etc.).
Details on Daily Overtime Rules Per Trade
WORKING ON WEEKENDS
New Jersey prevailing wage law generally has different rates of pay for working on the weekend. Generally, workers are paid at a rate of time and one-half for working on Saturday and double time for working on Sunday.
Access the Prevailing Wage Rate Determinations for Detail on Pay Rates Per Trade
WORKING ON LEGAL HOLIDAYS
New Jersey prevailing wage law has different recognized holidays per trade. Some examples of holidays include: New Year's Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day. The rate of pay for working on a legal holiday is generally double time.
Access the Prevailing Wage Rate Determinations to View Legal Holidays Specific to each Trade and the Rate of Pay
According to New Jersey prevailing wage law, contractors and subcontractors are paid different prevailing wages pre trade depending on the shift worked.
Wage Determinations for Specific Details on Shift Differentials
A company may take credit for the actual cost of providing their employees certain fringe benefits, such as: Medical/Hospitalization coverage, Dental coverage, Pension or Retirement plan, Paid Time Off (vacation, holidays, sick days), or Life Insurance. To calculate the cost per hour, divide the annual cost of the benefits by 2,000 hours, for each employee. This amount should be entered in the column labeled "Total Fringe Benefit Cost / Hr." on the Certified Payroll Form, for each employee.
Items such as use of company vehicles or cell phones, lodging reimbursement, or company-provided tools may not be credited towards the Prevailing Wage. Under no circumstances may statutory deductions (Unemployment Insurance, Income Tax, etc.), Workers' Compensation Insurance, or the portion of any fringe benefit that is deducted from the employee's pay, be credited towards the Prevailing Wage.
Under New Jersey prevailing wage, training contributions are not listed as a bone fide fringe benefit.
Under New Jersey prevailing wage law, the only requirement to be classified as an apprentice is that he or she is enrolled in an apprenticeship program that is approved by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training. Otherwise, the employee must be paid at least the "Journeyman" rate.
TRAVEL & SUBSISTENCE
New Jersey prevailing wage law does not require travel and subsistence rates per trade. The only requirement is that the contractor or subcontractor is paid for all the time worked.
In New Jersey, contractors must register to be in the business of building new homes within the state. Moreover, he or she must also warrant each new home built and provide warranty follow-up services. Registration is required do business as a home repair contractor. Moreover, registration is required to do business as a home improvement contractor. Plumbers and electricians are licensed in New Jersey.
To check if a new homebuilder holds a license in New Jersey, call 609-984-7910.
To check if a plumber holds a license in New Jersey, call (973) 504-6420.
To check if an electrician holds a license in New Jersey, call (973) 504-6410.
Search for a Licensed Plumber or Electrician Online
Search for a List of Licensed Asbestos or Lead Abatement Contractors
New Jersey's Contractor Licensing Policy
Public Works Contractor Registration
All contractors and subcontractors who bid on or engage in the performance of any construction-related public works project must register with the Department.
Public Works Contractor Registration Certificate
Provided that the application is properly completed, a certificate of registration will be mailed to the applicant within 30 days from the receipt of the application.
List of Registered Public Works Contractors & Subcontractors
Apparel Industry Registration
All manufacturers, contractors and subcontractors engaged in the making, cutting, sewing, finishing, assembling, pressing or otherwise producing of apparel, designed or intended to be worn by any individual and sold or offered for sale for that purpose must register with the Department. The term "Contractor" includes, but is not limited to, a subcontractor, jobber or wholesaler, but does not include a production employee employed for wages that does not employ others.
Application for Appeal Industry Certificate of Registration
Agricultural Crew Registration
Any person who transports, recruits, supplies or hires farm or food processing labor and who directs all or any part of the work of such workers must register with the Department.
Copy of the Application
This application is required for any person who transports, recruits, supplies or hires farm or food processing labor and who directs all or any part of the work of such workers. Once you have completed the application you should contact one of the following One-Stop Career Centers to make an appointment to register.
Crew Leader Certificates of Registration expire at midnight on December 31st of the year for which the certificate was granted. A certificate of registration may be renewed each year upon filing an application of renewal.
Certificates of Registration are not transferable and shall be kept by the registrant in his/her immediate personal possession and shall be displayed by the registrant upon request of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and by request of the individual employer or any seasonal farm worker or prospective farm worker.
Any individual holding a valid certificate of registration shall wear and display such identification when engaging in activities as a crew leader.
DUTIES OF CONTRACTORS
Under the NJ Prevailing Wage Act, contractors and subcontractors must:
1) be registered with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, pursuant to the Public Works Contractor Registration Act;
2) pay prevailing wage rates based upon work classifications actually worked for all actual hours of work;
3) post a wage determination in a prominent place where workers have access;
4) submit certified payroll records to the public body within 10 days of payday;
5) permit on-site inspection and employee interviews by authorized representatives of the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development;
6) produce payroll-related records to authorized representatives of the Commissioner within 10 days of a request.
Posting wage rate determinations
All contractors and subcontractors performing public work for a public body must post the prevailing wage rates for each craft and classification, including the effective date of any changes to the rate, in a prominent and easily accessible place at the site of the work or at such places that are used by employers to pay workers their wages.
NJ Prevailing Wage Act requires every contractor or sub-contractor performing public work for a public body to maintain the following records:
1) the name, address, social security number, craft or trade of each worker, and;
2) the actual hourly rate of pay, actual daily, overtime and weekly hours worked in each craft or trade, gross pay, itemized deductions, and net pay paid to the employee;
3) any fringe benefits paid to approved plans, funds or programs on behalf of the employee; and
4) fringe benefits paid in cash to the employee.
These records must be preserved for a two year period from the date of payment and shall be open at all reasonable hours to the public body awarding the contract, to any other party to the lease or agreement to lease pursuant to which the public work is done and to the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development.
Certified Payroll Records
A "certified payroll record" is a payroll record that is certified by a principal or authorized agent of any business entity employing covered workers on a public project, to be true and accurate. The law requires that all subcontractors and contractors must file certified payrolls within 10 days of pay dates with the awarding public body. An original signature certifying the accuracy of the payroll records is required on the payroll filed with the public body.
A corporate officer that performs craft type work on public construction is an employee of the corporation, and thus must report and pay yourself just as you would any other employee.
Contractors that violate provisions of the NJ Prevailing Wage Act are subject to administrative fees and penalties, and may be prohibited from engaging in future public works projects:
Any employer who willfully hinders or delays the commissioner in the performance of his duties in the enforcement of this act, or fails to make, keep, and preserve any records as required under the provisions of this act, or falsifies any such record, or refuses to make any such record accessible to the commissioner upon demand, or refuses to furnish a sworn statement of such record or any other information required for the proper enforcement of this act to the commissioner upon demand, or pays or agrees to pay wages at a rate less than the rate applicable under this act or otherwise violates any provision of this act or of any regulation or order issued under this act shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense and shall, upon conviction therefore, be fined not less than $100.00 nor more than $1,000 or be imprisoned for not less than 10 nor more than 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each week, in any day of which a worker is paid less than the rate applicable to him under this act and each worker so paid, shall constitute a separate offense. N.J. PWA 34:11-56.35.
Additional Details on Prevailing Wage Penalties and Violations
The Division of Wage and Hour Compliance Public Contracts Section maintains a list of contractors that are debarred from public works projects for three years if they are determined to be “serious offenders.”
List of Debarred Contractors
NJ Prevailing Wage Act and Regulation
State Building Services Contract Act
Prevailing wage rates on construction-related public works projects
Request official prevailing wage rate determinations
Prevailing wage rates for state building service workers
Payroll certification for public works projects
Wage claim form (employee working in NJ or for NJ based company
Wage claim form (SPANISH)
Anonymously filing a claim form
Employee wage claim form for non-payment of prevailing wage rate
Employee mandatory overtime complaint form
Registration and permits
Prevailing wage FAQ
Kevin Triplet, Public Contracts Section Chief
NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development
Division of Wage & Hour Compliance
Public Contracts Section
P.O. Box 389
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0389
Phone: (609) 292-2259; (609) 292-2283
Division of Wage and Hour Compliance's Email
Kevin’s email: Kevin.firstname.lastname@example.org