Prevailing Wages

Prevailing Wage Attorneys in Philadelphia

On most federal and state funded construction projects, employers must pay their construction worker employees “prevailing wages” for each hour worked.

The hourly prevailing wage rate depends on the type of work performed. For example, there are different prevailing wage rates for electricians, operating engineers, carpenters, bricklayers, and every other construction trade found on a construction project.  The prevailing rates are also based on the state and county where the work is performed.

These prevailing wage rates are typically much higher than the applicable state or federal minimum wage and are often based on the combined rate for both wages and fringe benefits found in union-negotiated contracts for the applicable trade.

New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act

For example, under the New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act, the prevailing wage rate for plumber work in Essex County as of October 2023 is a total of $101.11 per hour, which consists of $59.59 per hour in wages and $41.62 per hour in fringe benefits. The prevailing wage rate for sheet metal workers in Essex County is $104.92 per hour, comprising $55.40 per hour in wages and $49.52 per hour in fringe benefits.

You may check the current New Jersey prevailing wage rates by county and classification of work on the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development website

For publicly funded work in New York City, you may check the current New York City prevailing wage rates on the New York City Comptroller’s website

The attorneys at Goodley McCarthy LLC have successfully recovered millions of dollars in unpaid wages for thousands of workers under federal, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and District of Columbia law.  

Free Consultation for Prevailing Wage Claims

If you have questions about whether you may be owed prevailing wages, you should contact an employment attorney with specific experience handling prevailing wage matters. The attorneys at Goodley McCarthy LLC have handled prevailing wage matters in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia. 

We are happy to answer your prevailing wage questions during a free consultation. Call us at (215) 273-3491 or reach out online to get started.

Prevailing Wage Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? We are here to help. Still have questions or can't find the answer you need? Give us a call at 215-273-3491 today!

  • How do I know if I’m owed prevailing wages? What types of projects typically require prevailing wages?

    You are likely owed prevailing wages if you perform any type of construction work on a government-funded project. This includes federal, state and local or county governments.

    Examples of government-funded projects that are subject to prevailing wage laws include:

    • Public schools and universities
    • Court houses
    • Police and fire stations
    • Highway, road, bridge, and tunnel improvement projects
    • Public transit construction or improvement projects
    • Sewer and water line replacement projects
    • Government offices and other municipal buildings
    • And more
  • Do I have to be in a union to receive prevailing wages?

    No. Employers on publicly-funded construction projects must pay their construction workers prevailing wages, regardless of whether they are in a union.

  • If my employer does not provide any fringe benefits such as a pension or healthcare, does my employer still need to pay me the f

    Yes, but prevailing wage laws do not require your employer to provide fringe benefits such as healthcare and pension benefits. If your employer provides no benefits, then your employer must pay the fringe benefit portion of the prevailing wage rate directly into your paycheck as wages. Or, if your employer only provides some benefits, but the benefit cost to the employer is less than the fringe benefit portion of the applicable prevailing wage rate. Your employer must pay the difference directly into your paycheck as wages.

  • I worked on a government-funded construction project, but I only performed clean-up work or flagging work. Am I owed prevailing

    Yes, probably. General laborers who perform set-up or clean-up work on a public construction site are typically owed prevailing wages. Safety or road flaggers are also typically owed prevailing wages on public projects.

  • If the company I work for classifies me as an independent contractor, am I owed prevailing wages if I work on a public project?

    Yes, probably. Independent contractor misclassification is a common problem in the construction industry. You should be paid prevailing wages, regardless of whether your employer classifies you as a W-2 employee or 1099 independent contractor.

  • What if I performed electrical work on a public project, but my employer classified and paid me as a laborer?

    Trade misclassification and underpayment of prevailing wages is a common problem on publicly funded projects. Although “laborer” is a classification with its own prevailing wage rates, laborer rates are often on the lower end of the prevailing wage scale. Consequently, companies often misclassify and pay workers who perform higher-paid trade work (e.g. electricians, pipefitters) as laborers to avoid paying the higher prevailing wage rates. If you believe you have been misclassified and underpaid prevailing wages on a publicly funded project, you may be able to bring a lawsuit for the unpaid prevailing wages.

Your Legal Advocates in Philadelphia Contact Us at (215) 273-3491 Today