FAQ

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Help for Contractors

How We Help Contractors
The III FFC is the contractor’s advocate in the construction industry. We’re dedicated to ensuring the fair enforcement of federal and state prevailing wage laws.

For Contractors we…

  • Provide accurate wage rate and worker classification information.
  • Help contractors understand their rights and responsibilities under the law.
  • Monitor prevailing wage projects for compliance.

The III FFC ‘s goal is to provide a “level playing field" for all contractors who choose to bid public works projects. Our work provides firms with a fair competitive opportunity to compete on the basis of skill and efficiency, rather than losing bids to disreputable and unfair contractors who underbid the specifications in the contract.

All services are confidential!
No matter what kind of assistance you need from the III FFC, you can count on the strictest confidentiality.
All it takes to put us into action is a call to 815-254-3332, a letter, or inquiry. Email us at [email protected].

How We Help Workers

How We Help Workers

It is essential that every worker knows and understands the classification of the work they are performing. Once you know the classification, you can find out what the prevailing wage benefits are.
Each job classification on a public works project requires payment of a prevailing wage. The work you perform on the job is important, not your classification when hired.

Each job classification requires that specific duties be performed. If you perform work that falls under a different classification that has a higher prevailing wage, you must be paid the higher wage.
The III FFC offers assistance for workers who are unsure of their job classification or believe they are being misclassified or underpaid.

The III FFC helps workers determine the type of project they are working on and interpret the laws so that workers can better understand their rights and entitlement to prevailing wages, overtime pay, and benefits due to them according to the type of classification of work performed.

Misclassification of workers and wage underpayment are the most prevalent unfair wage practices in the construction industry. The III FFC educates workers on understanding that each separate craft classification of work they are doing requires a certain basic wage rate and fringe benefits. In addition, the III FFC will provide workers with the prevailing wage rate for each classification and geographical area they perform work in.

Is your hard earned money going down the drain? Want to know how much money you are losing by not being paid the proper Prevailing Wage?
All it takes to put us into action is a call to 815.254.3332, a letter, or inquiry. Email us at [email protected].

How We Help Public Bodies

How We Help Public Bodies

Wage laws have an important role in helping maintain a stable local economy by providing a more reliable and predictable tax flow into our public treasuries. A reputation for effective enforcement of these laws will help keep disreputable contractors from bidding your projects. Bear in mind that contractors who cheat the workers that are making them profits would not think twice about cheating you or the taxpayers you represent.

Enforcement of Prevailing Wage laws should be a high priority on your next project.

For Agencies we can…

  • Provide you with accurate wage rate and worker classification information.
  • Help you understand your rights and responsibilities under the law.
  • Conduct periodic interviews with employees on construction projects.
  • Conduct seminars and presentations about the Prevailing Wage laws.

Do prevailing wage projects cost more?
We are here to help you ensure that taxes expended are used in the most efficient manner possible–with fairness to all citizens.

All it takes to put us into action is a call to 815-254-3332, a letter, or inquiry. Email us at [email protected].

What Territory Does III FFC Cover?

III FFC area of responsibility is the Northern one third of Illinois, North Central and Northwest Indiana and 7 counties in Eastern Iowa. See our III FFC Construction Analyst page for a complete list of counties and assigned Analysts.

What Are Prevailing Wage Rates?

Prevailing Wage Laws regulate wages paid to workers performing public works. The Prevailing Wage Act requires contractors and subcontractors to pay laborers, workers and mechanics employed on public works construction projects no less than the general prevailing wage rates for work performed in a county. These rates consist of hourly cash wages plus fringe benefits to the employee. An employer must pay the combined total in either wages or cash wages plus benefit contributions. While the basic premise of these laws is “worker protection,” contractors and the community benefit as well. Prevailing Wage Laws create a level economic playing field for those bidding on publicly funded work. According to numerous studies, the laws also result in the best possible finished product in return for the taxpayers’ investment.

Who Determines Prevailing Wage Rates?

The contractor or subcontractor does not determine the rate of pay on public works projects. The Prevailing Wage rate is a predetermined hourly wage including fringe benefits for the classification of work performed. The U.S. Department of Labor sets the Davis Bacon wages. To see the Davis Bacon Wage Determinations for your state and county click here. State wages are determined in Illinois by the Illinois Department of Labor.

What Are Fringe Benefits? (Health and Welfare and Pension)

Fringe Benefits are monies paid over and above the basic trade wage rate for a given area. Fringe benefits can include apprenticeship and training, health and welfare, insurance, vacations, and pensions paid generally, in the locality in which the work is being performed, to employees engaged in work of a similar character on public works projects. The Federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) sets standards for administering certain fringe benefit plans. This law requires employers or plan administrators to:

  1. Set up an account in each worker’s name.
  2. Make promised contributions.
  3. Make contributions at least every 90 days.
  4. Provide a Summary Annual Report.
  5. Provide copies of plan documents that tell workers how to file a claim for benefits, the requirements to qualify for participation and the worker’s rights under the law.

What health/welfare/pension plans can an employer deduct money for?

If the plan is bona fide, the contractor may make the deductions. Questions regarding validity of benefit plans should be addressed to:

Illinois Attorney General’s Office
500 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62706
217.782.1090

Or the U.S. Department of Labor, Pension Welfare and Benefits Administration 617.565.9600.

More Pension information can be found at FreeERISA.com or the USDOL site Protecting My Pension.

Who is Required to Pay Prevailing Wage Rates?

The Davis-Bacon Act as amended, requires that each contract over $2,000 to which the United States or the District of Columbia is a party for the construction, alteration, or repair of public buildings or public works shall contain a clause setting forth the minimum wages to be paid to various classes of laborers and mechanics employed under the contract. Under the provisions of the Act, contractors or their subcontractors are to pay workers employed directly upon the site of the work no less than the local prevailing wages and fringe benefits paid on projects of a similar character.

What do III FFC services cost?

In short, nothing. The III FFC is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the public works construction industry. The III FFC services are available to you free of charge. Please call 815.254.3332 or Email us at [email protected].

What Are Public Works Projects?

Public works projects consist of federal, state, and local taxpayer-financed construction projects such as airports, highways, roads, streets, city sidewalks, sewers, waterlines, schools, libraries, and federal, state, or city buildings, all of which are entered into for construction, alteration, repair, painting or decorating, financed in whole or in part by government funds.

What is the Davis-Bacon Act?

The Davis-Bacon Act requires payment of prevailing wages on federal construction contracts over $2000. As stated by Representative Robert L. Bacon, a sponsor of the law: “It seems to me that the federal government should not engage in construction work in any state and undermine the labor conditions and the labor wages paid in the state….The least the Federal Government can do is comply with the local standards of wages and labor prevailing in the locality where the building construction is to take place.”

How Do I File a Prevailing Wage or Davis-Bacon Complaint?

A complaint can be filed by any injured party, worker or contractor. It is imperative that you keep a record of your hours worked as well as what tasks you performed on your job, i.e. carpenter, truck driver, plumber etc. as well as your recent pay stubs. These records are needed in order for the III FFC to assist you in obtaining back wages due. Please remember all information provided to our office is handled with the strictest confidentiality. If you feel you have not been paid correctly please call 815.254.3332 or Email us at [email protected].

Is my employer required to post Prevailing Wage Rates on the job site?
On all Federal (Davis-Bacon) projects, and in Illinois, the contractor and all the subcontractors are required to post the U.S. Department of Labor Wage Determinations and IDOL wages at the job site in a prominent and accessible place where they may be easily seen by all workers. Indiana and Iowa currently do not have to post wage rates on non-federal jobs.

 

What is the Importance of Apprenticeship?

Participation in an apprenticeship program that is approved by and registered with the USDOL helps ensure workers receive the skills, training and experience necessary to produce the highest quality construction in a safe and efficient work environment. The USDOL’s Office of Apprenticeship requires program sponsors to submit written standards outlining the terms of apprenticeship employment, training and supervision and must include minimum hours of classroom and on-the-job training.

III FFC Record of Success

The III FFC has investigated over 1500 cases, and filed over 900 complaints with the USDOL and state agencies covering 20 counties in Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa since 1999. In more than three-quarters of these cases, individual investigators recorded pertinent project information. Since our inception in July of 1999, the III FFC investigations have resulted in assessments by various enforcement agencies of over $1,700,000 in back wages and penalties for underpaid workers.

This kind of additional monitoring, above what the states can provide, is what helps keep all contractors on an equal footing and ultimately brings stability and consistency to the industry. When everyone is doing business under the same rules and conditions, only the best prosper, rather than those who can merely best manipulate the system.

The III FFC is helping to “keep it fair for contractors and workers” in Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa’s construction industry.