Contractors that do prevailing wage work spend a lot of time dealing with wage determinations. You can’t figure out what to pay your team without them, but many people only have a basic understanding of how they work. A quick glance at one shows why this is the case – they are complicated. Even the system to locate them can be a challenge to navigate.

We created this list of little known wage determination facts to help you become a pro at interpreting these all-important documents.


Wage determination facts


1.There are different types of wage determinations

General wage determinations are the rates set up by the Wage and Hour Division as the prevailing wage rate for specific jobs in a certain geographic area. These have no expiration date and are in effect until a new one is published that overwrites it. These are the main type of wage determination used in most circumstances.

Project wage determinations is created for a contracting agency by request only and is only applicable to the named project. It expires 180 calendar days from when it’s issued unless an extension is granted. These are not as common and are only created in special circumstances.

Supersedeas wage determinations are published annually, and they replace previous general wage determinations. The term “supersedeas” is Latin for “you shall desist.” These are considered in effect from the date listed through www.Beta.Sam.Gov or on the date the agency receives a physical written notice of the new wage rates from the Department of Labor (DOL), whichever date is first.

2. Wage determinations can be modified

A modification updates the information in a previously issued wage determination. In most cases, this modification is in effect from the date listed on the wage determination as published through www.Beta.Sam.Gov or listed in the Federal Register. However, if it is less than 10 days before a project is open to bids, the DOL can determine that there is not enough time to notify bidders of the modification. In this case, a report of this ruling is kept with the contract

3. Wage determinations are developed through surveys

The Wage and Hour Division of the DOL identifies active projects and sends a packet of information to the various contractors involved in the project. This includes Form WD-10 (e WD-10), “Report of Construction Contractor Wage Rates” and requests completes the survey with relevant wage information. Similar letters may also go to Congressional representatives, those involved in trade associations and similar organizations. At the end of the process, these wages are published as general wage determinations.

4. You can participate in wage surveys even if you’re not contacted

If you want to participate in wage surveys, but did not receive a letter, you can actually fill out a WD-10 online here. You can also contact the Branch of Wage Survey Team for a notification letters and paper WD-10s. Anyone that wishes to complete a survey can, not only those working on identified projects.

5. You can “follow” wage determinations

Keeping up with changes to wage determinations can be difficult, especially if you are working on multiple prevailing wage jobs. You can actually “follow” these to receive notification for when they change. To do so, simply find the wage determination you want to keep track of, and hit “follow” in the upper right hand corner.

wage determinations

If you need to manage the wage determinations you follow, go to the profile section of your workspace and select the “Following” icon. This shows everything you’re following. You can change the frequency of email notifications here as well as unfollow wage determinations you no longer wish to follow.

6. Sometimes you need wage determinations that don’t yet exist

You may have a project in an area, for a type of construction, in which a wage determination has not yet been published. In this situation, you still need to follow prevailing wage laws and pay the correct wage rate. You may also find that your project has published wage determinations, but that it doesn’t’ include the class of workers needed to complete the work.

To request a wage determination, the Federal agency that is funding or assisting the project must submit a Standard Form (SF) 308 to the following email address: or to the following address:

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Branch of Construction Wage Determinations
200 Constitution Ave NW
Room S-3014
Washington, DC 2021

When completing the SF-308, you must include a detailed description of the project including the type of construction and the county or civil subdivision the project is located. Processing these types of requests take at least 30 days to complete. Since it can take a long time to complete, be sure to include as much information as possible so as to not delay the process.

The material presented here is educational in nature and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon, as legal or financial advice. Please consult with an attorney or financial professional for advice.