According to the State of Massachusetts’ Department of Labor Standards (DLS), covered workers on public works projects must be paid prevailing wage. The prevailing wage legislation are enforced by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO).

For each public works project, DLS establishes the “prevailing wage rate schedule” which encompasses the appropriate rates for all applicable classifications.  The DLS determines the prevailing wage rate schedules based on the rates specified in local collective bargaining agreements.

Compliance Tips:

  • Public works is not explicitly defined by the DLS; however, guidance can be requested from the DLS in determining whether prevailing wages are applicable to particular projects.
  • Except in the case of multi-year construction projects, once a wage rate schedule has been published by DLS for a project, it will stay in effect for the duration of the project. The awarding authority must provide contractors with updated wage rate schedules for construction projects lasting longer than a year.
  • Contractor may be held legally and criminally liable for not paying the prevailing wage. Workers may file a lawsuit against their employer if they believe that the prevailing wage rates have not been applied, in addition to the Office of the Attorney General enforcing them.