Key Policy Issues

Prevailing Wage

Prevailing wage laws require contractors who work on publicly-funded projects to pay skilled construction workers the region’s standards for hourly wages, benefits, and overtime, as calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Illinois Department of Labor. The purpose of prevailing wage is to level the playing field for all contractors by ensuring that public expenditures reflect local market standards of compensation and craftsmanship.

How many states have prevailing wage laws?

Roughly half of all U.S. states, as well as various cities, have their own prevailing wage laws. In our jurisdiction, Illinois has a state prevailing wage law, but Indiana and Iowa do not.

Does the prevailing wage law cost taxpayers more money?

No. Prevailing wage laws result in the best possible finished product in return for the taxpayers’ investment. In fact, 83% of peer-reviewed studies conducted since 2000 find that prevailing wage has no effect on total construction costs.

How does a prevailing wage law help:


• Prevailing wages produce a better skilled workforce that completes projects more efficiently, maximizes customer satisfaction, and helps ensure a profit.

• Lost-time injuries and workplace fatalities are significantly lower in states with prevailing wage laws.

• Prevailing wage laws help increase the share of local contractors and workers on public projects.

Public Bodies

• Keeps the work - and the money - in the community where the projects are built.

• Prevents the use of cheap outside labor, promoting the use of skilled local craftspeople.

• Prevailing wage reduces construction worker poverty and reliance on government assistance, all helping public budgets.


• Prevailing wage boosts worker earnings and expands health care coverage in construction.

• Prevailing wages increase the chance of home ownership for blue-collar construction workers.

• Prevailing wage laws support apprenticeship training, ensuring construction workers in the industry are skilled.

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 Davis-Bacon Act?

The Davis-Bacon Act requires payment of prevailing wages on federal construction contracts over $2,000. 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.” State prevailing wage laws are modeled after the Davis-Bacon Act.

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].