Form WH-38 is used by contractors in Oregon to report compliance with Prevailing Wage Rate (PWR) Law. Reporting payroll information is required by Prevailing Wage Rate (PWR) Law, but using form WH-38 is voluntary. You can use your own format if you prefer, but it must contain the same information documented by correctly filling out form WH-38. You must also sign a certified statement which 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.
How to fill out form WH-38
It can be difficult to understand how to properly fill out the form, so we created the following walk-through to simply the steps. If you have specific questions about your situation, you can contact the prevailing wage rate unit of the Department of Labor and Industries at (971) 673-0838 or by emailing BOLI_help@boli.oregon.gov.
Adding project and business info to form WH-38
The top of form WH-38 is where you enter basic information about your company and the project you are reporting on. You should fill it out in its entirety, but there are a couple points of special interest, starting with the items appearing outside the form, along the top: Prime Contractor, Subcontractor and Payroll No.
Start by checking the box that corresponds with your role on 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.
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.
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. On 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.
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 both 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.
Column 1: Name and address
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
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).
It is important that you use the classification that most closely describes the work the employee is actually doing. If the classification does have a group number, include it here. Be sure to notate employees that are apprentices and include their percentage, classification and group number if applicable.
It is possible that an employee works under more than one classification during a 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 :
Employee A worked as boilermaker and painter during the week being reported on.
One line will indicate hours worked as 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
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 only, simply leave the second section empty.
A note about 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 during 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.
Column 4: Total hours
Colum 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
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 contract for assistance.
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
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.
Column 7: Gross Amount Earned
The gross amount earned on the prevailing wage project during the week being reported on 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
Column 8 & 9: Itemized Deductions (FICA, FED, STATE), Net Wages Paid for Work Week
Standard deductions withheld from their paycheck go in column 8. Deductions should be in accordance with 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
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 in order to count as part of the required fringe payment. Each payment must be in it’s own line.
If you pay less in fringe to a party, plan, fund or program than is required, you must pay the different to the employee as wages. This amount gets 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 as well. This information should be located in column 10.
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.