Oregon prevailing wage law requires construction workers to be paid prevailing wage rates for work performed on qualifying projects. The minimum threshold for a project to be covered under this law is $50,000. This is the total project amount, so even if your part of the contract is less than this amount, you must still follow prevailing wage laws.

Like all prevailing wage laws, there many requirements that must be followed to be considered in compliance, including the submission of certified payroll reports. Understanding these reporting requirements is critical if you want to avoid the problems that come from an investigation and citation from the Bureau of Labor and Industries for failing to comply with Oregon prevailing wage law.

Prevailing wage reporting timeline

The Bureau of Labor and Industries, Wage and Hour Division is responsible for overseeing compliance with all prevailing wage laws in Oregon. They also are tasked with enforcing the law, which means they can investigate and cite companies that don’t comply. One area of continuous compliance is the submission of certified payroll reports. Also called wage certification reports, these reports are submitted to the state in order to prove that workers were paid the correct prevailing wage rates for the work they do.

Certified payroll reporting requirements must be followed exactly to avoid finding yourself in trouble with state authorities. Here are some things you should know about submitting your certified payroll reports in Oregon:

  • Certified payroll reports are due no later than 35 days after work has started on a qualifying prevailing wage contract. This timeline comes from language within the official prevailing wage handbook for contractors and subcontractors in Oregon, which says certified payroll statements must be completed for each worker, every week and submitted once a month, by the fifth business day the following month.
  • Certified payroll reports must be submitted at each successive 35-day intervals. So, if a public works contract lasts over 70 days, the wage certification reports are due at 35-day intervals. This means contractors must report payrolls by day 35, day 70, day 105 and so forth.
  • Certified payroll reports must include all payrolls a contractor has paid out at the time of the report.

While you do have to submit reports at 35-day intervals, there’s no need to wait until last minute to finalize the information. If you verify your payroll data weekly, you’ll save stress and time when reporting time comes.

How to report prevailing wages in Oregon

Contractors must submit the required certified payroll information to the Bureau of Labor and Industries, Wage and Hour Division.  There are a few things you should know in order to fully comply with reporting laws, including the following:

  • Certified payroll reports can be submitted on form WH-38, which you can download here. You do not have to use this form, it just helps ensure that all required information is captured and submitted.
  • If you submit certified payroll information using your own form instead of WH-38, you must be careful to include all the required information. This includes the certification attestation language as it is written on page two of form WH-38.
  • Submitting a federal form WH-38 on projects subject to Oregon’s prevailing wage laws will not satisfy reporting requirements.

You can submit form WH-38, or your version of the report, by email, or mail. If you submit it by email, you must submit a PDF to the following email addresses:

Construction: construction.payrecords@boli.state.or.us 
Farm & Forest:   farm.payrecords@state.or.us

Your email subject heading MUST be your company’s name and the first day of the payroll period. An example of this, as provided by the Bureau of Labor and Industries in Oregon, is the following:  “ABC Labor Contractors, Inc. – July 17, 2020”

If you send your certified payroll records to any other email address, it will not be received, and you will be out of compliance.

  • It is important that you ONLY send certified payroll reports to the email addresses listed above. If you have questions to ask, you should either email them to whdscreener@boli.state.or.usor call 503-373-1463 for assistance.
  • You must include an electronic signature of the licensed contractor or the contractor’s authorized representative on the completed certification statement. This is on page two of WH-38.

If you mail your certified payroll reports, you must submit it to the following physical mailing address:

Bureau of Labor and Industries
Wage and Hour Division, Licensing Unit
3865 Wolverine Street, NE, Bldg. E-1
Salem, OR 97305

Submitting any variation of what is required, including omissions, can leave your company out of compliance and at risk for regulatory action. For example, if you submit your report through email using any format other than a PDF, or forget to include a signed certification statement, it will not count. If you do everything correctly but send it to the wrong email address, it also does not count.

For this reason, you’ll want to double check everything from your payroll data to the subject line in you submission before you cross “submit certified payroll” off your to-do list.

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.

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