Form WH-38 is used by contractors in Oregon to report compliance with the Prevailing Wage Rate (PWR) Law. Reporting payroll information is required by the Prevailing Wage Rate (PWR) Law, but using form WH-38 is voluntary. You can use your format if you prefer. It must contain the same information documented by correctly filling out form WH-38. You must also sign a certified statement that verifies the accuracy of the information you’re reporting. For this reason, many contractors in Oregon simply use form WH-38 because it simplifies the compliance process.

Fill out Form Wh-38

Overview of How to Complete Form WH-38

Filling out the WH-38 form can be confusing, but don’t worry. We’ve created a simple guide to help you through each step. Contact the prevailing wage rate unit of the Department of Labor and Industries for assistance with questions. Reach the department at (971) 673-0838 or by emailing

Adding project and business info to form WH-38  

Complete the WH-38 form with your company and project details. Pay attention to key items along the top: Prime Contractor, Subcontractor, and Payroll Number.

Payroll Number or “Payroll No” Box

Start by checking the box that corresponds with your role in the project you’re reporting on. The Payroll No is a US Department of Labor (DOL) requirement, and it should represent the number of weeks you’ve been working on the project. The first week is Payroll No 1 and so on until the project is complete.

Address and Contact Information

WH 38 top section

Most of the sections are self-explanatory, such as your company’s basic information and your Construction Contractors Board (CCB) Registration Number.

For the addresses, the Street and Mailing addresses are for your company’s information. The Project Location is for the physical address of the project where the work is performed, and the Project County is the county where the work is being performed.

Bottom Sections

The bottom sections are split into two sections, only one of which you need to fill out. If you are a prime contractor, only complete section 1, as marked in the image above. If you are a subcontractor skip to section 2.

There are a few points of interest in these sections, starting with the prime contractor’s section. You need to enter the date the contract was first advertised. If you don’t have it, you can contact the awarding agency to get it. In the subcontractor’s section, you will need some details from the prime contractor, including the official name they do business under and their CCB registration number.

Subcontractor Details

Subcontractors filling out the form do not need the date the contract was advertised, but they do need the date they first started working on the project. This date should match the first date you recorded and submitted payroll for on Payroll No 1. For example, if you started doing work on February 1st, that date should be the first date of recorded payroll submitted on Payroll No 1, and it should be included in this section on every WH-38 you submit.

How to Complete Form WH-38 Columns

Column 1: Name and address

Form wh 38 help

Your employee’s full legal name goes in column 1 of form WH-38. You have to include their address on the first payroll you submit, but it does not have to be included afterward. You should also include an employee identification number for everyone you report on. It can be a number your company uses to identify employees or the last four digits of their social security number.

Column 2: Trade Classification

Form wh 38 help with trade classifications

The trade classification of the worker goes here. Be sure to use the correct classification as listed in Definitions of Covered Occupations for Public Works Contracts in Oregon as published by the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).

You must use the classification that most closely describes the work the employee is doing. If the classification does have a group number, include it here. Be sure to note apprentices’ employees and include their percentage, classification, and group number if applicable.

An employee may work under more than one classification during the day. In this situation, use the highest rate of pay for all hours worked or account for hours worked for each classification and hourly rate on separate lines.

Example of Completed Columns 1 and 2 :

form wh 38 example

Employee A worked as a boilermaker and painter during the week being reported on.

One line will indicate hours worked as a boilermaker with the corresponding prevailing wage rate. Another line will indicate hours worked as a painter with the corresponding prevailing wage rate.

Column 3: Day and date

form wh 38 example

The top section of column 3 is for the day of the week, and the corresponding date.

Below this section, you’ll see lines for overtime (OT) and straight time (ST).  There are two sets of OT / ST lines so that you can record a worker’s time under two different trade classifications if needed. If they only work under one trade classification, simply leave the second section empty.

Overtime Hours

Most of the time, all hours worked over 8 in a single day, or work done on Saturdays, Sundays and all legal holidays must be entered as overtime hours. If a contractor has an official alternative work schedule of four 10-hour days can enter hours over 10 in a single day as overtime as long as the days worked happen Monday through Friday. This has to be an established and written policy that is followed in the company, otherwise, all hours over 8 must be counted as overtime.

Form wh 38 example

Column 4: Total hours

Column 4 is where you enter the total hours worked for the week. You enter the total hours by trade for each worker, putting straight time (ST) hours in the lower box and overtime (OT) hours in the top box.

If a worker has hours for multiple trade classifications, those get entered on separate lines, as shown in the example below.

Column 5:  Hourly Base Rate

wh 38 help

In column 5 you enter the base hourly rate for all straight-time and overtime hours. If there is zone pay required, be sure to include it here as well.

Typically, the prevailing wage rate that was in effect for each trade classification when the contract was first advertised by the public agency holding the contract is the base hourly rate. If you are not sure what this date is, or the project wasn’t advertised, you’ll need to talk with the public agency that holds the assistance contract.

For overtime hours, it’s important to remember that overtime hours must be paid at a rate of not less than one- and one-half times the base rate of pay, including the zone pay but NOT including fringe benefits.

Column 6:  Hourly Fringe Benefit Amount Paid as Wages to Employee

wh 38 form help

Enter the hourly fringe benefit amounts paid directly to your employee as wages in column 6. You do not pay time and on half on fringes, so this section applies to straight-time hours only.

The following example shows the initial entry for a worker with two trade classifications, total hours, base pay, and hourly fringe. On subsequent certified payroll reports for this employee, the address can be omitted.

wh 48 help with form

Column 7: Gross Amount Earned

wh 38 example

The gross amount earned on the prevailing wage project during the week being reported goes in this column. If an employee works on other projects, enter the gross amount earned on the prevailing wage project, then the total gross amount earned for the pay period. If they are paid less often than weekly, document it this way as well.

For example, if they earned $647.84 on the prevailing wage job, but their total gross pay was $1,474, you enter them both in column 7, starting with the prevailing wages, like this:  $647.84 / $1,474

Columns 8 & 9: Itemized Deductions (FICA, FED, STATE), Net Wages Paid for Work Week

form wh 38 help

Standard deductions withheld from their paycheck go in column 8. Deductions should be following all applicable laws. Projects subject to the Davis-Bacon Act must be itemized.

Total net wages paid for the work week go in column 9. You subtract total deductions from column 8 from the gross wages for the week from column 7 to calculate this amount.

Column 10: Hourly Fringe Benefits Paid to Benefit Party, Plan, Fund or Program

example wh 38

Fringe payments not made directly to the employee must be documented here with the amounts paid in column 10 and the name of the party, plan, fun, or program in column 11.  The plans must be approved to count as part of the required fringe payment. Each payment must be in its own line.

If you pay less in fringe to a party, plan, fund, or program than is required, you must pay the difference to the employee as wages. This amount is documented in column 6.

Checking your work

It is a good idea to verify that the wages and fringes paid to the employee meet the prevailing wage rate required for each trade classification. To do this you add up the hourly base from column 5 and the fringe amounts in column 6 and compare against the listed prevailing wage and fringe rates for the trade. If fringe is partially paid as wages and partially paid into a party, plan, fund, or program, add up this amount. This information should be located in column 10.

thumbs up for form wh-38

Staying compliant with prevailing wage law is an important part of taking on government contracts. It can be tedious and time-consuming, but even minor mistakes can lead to costly fines and even debarment. This makes understanding prevailing wage law and certified payroll reporting requirements critical.

Learn more about how to stay compliant with prevailing wage laws in Oregon with the following links:

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.