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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions: Prevailing Wage (Click here for PDF)

What is considered a fringe benefit? A fringe benefit is a benefit that is granted by an employer to an employee by company policy that involves a monetary cost such as holiday pay, vacation pay, health insurance, bona fide pension plans, etc.  (§§ 42CSR7-2.15 & 42CSR7-2.8)  All fringe benefit plans must be authorized by the employee before they can be used as a credit against the fringe benefit portion of the rate.   Benefits required by law such as workers compensation, unemployment premiums and matching social security are not considered “fringe benefits” and cannot be used as a credit against the fringe benefit portion of the rate.

  • Employers may calculate the monetary cost of a qualified fringe benefit by dividing the annual cost for that benefit by 2080 hours for each employee. (annual benefit cost / 2080 hours)
  • When benefits such as vacation pay or sick leave are used as a credit against the fringe benefit portion of the rate, those benefits must be paid directly to the employee and cannot be forfeited upon separation of employment.

How do I know which rate to pay?  The appropriate prevailing wage rate is based on the type of work being performed and not the classification of the worker or their experience level.  The location (county) and type of project are also a consideration as different rates apply to Building, Heavy and Highway projects for the same type of work.  Descriptions of work for each trade classification are provided along with the established rates under the titles of “descriptions” and “appendices”.  Any questions relating to the proper classification(s) of work for a specific job description must be submitted in writing to the Division.  All requests must include a complete scope of work and project description. Such requests are to be sent to the attention of William F. Jordan, Wage & Hour Director, West Virginia Division of Labor, Building 6, Room 749-B, Charleston, West Virginia 25305.      

When does overtime apply on prevailing wage projects? Overtime hours on prevailing wage projects are paid at time and half and are based on hours actually worked over forty (40) in a seven consecutive day workweek as determined by the employer.   Time and a half is only paid on the “basic hourly” portion of the rate.  The “fringe benefit” portion of the rate is always paid at straight time regardless of the number of hours worked.  

Do owners, corporate officers and salaried employees have to be paid the prevailing wage? With the exception of sole proprietors, all workmen on prevailing wage projects must be paid at the established hourly rate for the type of work performed regardless of whether they’re paid by the hour or receive a regular salary. Whenever a salaried employee works on a prevailing wage project, that person’s gross salary must equal or exceed the amount of wages they would have been entitled to for the work they performed had they been a regular hourly employee.  For example, if an employee normally receives a weekly gross salary of $800.00 but works forty (40) hours on a prevailing wage project that has an established hourly rate of $30.00 per hour for the type of work being performed; that employee’s weekly salary would have to be increased to $1200.00 for that particular pay period.

NOTE: To qualify as a “sole proprietor”, the individual performing the work must be registered as a “sole proprietorship” with the West Virginia Department of Tax & Revenue.  Any work performed by an employee of a sole proprietor must be paid at the established prevailing wage rate for the type of work being performed.

 Do I need to complete certified payrolls and if so, where do I get the forms? The submission of weekly certified payroll records is normally required by the federal government (for projects under their jurisdiction), the public authority or the general contractor for the duration of the project.  Although this agency does not require the routine submission of certified payrolls, we do request them as part of a prevailing wage investigation as they normally contain the same recordkeeping information that is required under the state prevailing wage statute.  However, if the employee names and addresses are not listed, that information must be submitted in addition to the certified payrolls.  (See our Fact Sheet for Record Keeping Requirements for Public Improvement Projects)  

The actual certified payroll forms are available on our website under Wage & Hour / Forms and on the United States Department of Labor’s (USDOLs) website @ www.dol.gov/esa/whd/forms/wh347_legacy/pdf.

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