Prevailing Wage Rules Have Changed in Missouri
October 29, 2021
The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations updated its prevailing wage rules in late 2018. Missouri’s Prevailing Wage Law establishes the minimum wage for workers engaged in public works projects costing more than $75,000.
Common public works projects subject to the Prevailing Wage Law include:
- Bridge construction and repair,
- Road projects, and
- Construction, remodeling, and other projects in government buildings.
This blog post provides a summary of what these changes mean for contractors and employers looking to hire skilled laborers in Missouri. Let’s start by looking at the relevant law and then dive into the most important rules contractors and workers need to know.
In 2018, the Missouri General Assembly passed HB 1729 which made several changes to Missouri’s prevailing wage system. The law applies to public works projects with costs over $75,000. Contractors are not permitted to break a project into smaller projects for the purpose of avoiding prevailing wage rules.
Public works projects that entail more than 1,000 work hours must have a prevailing wage rate that is a weighted average of the total wage package of all journeymen hours. For projects with less than 1,000 reported hours, the contracting minimum wage must be 120% of the average county wage (instead of the prevailing wage).
For all projects over $75,000, holiday hours must be paid at twice the normal rate, while overtime hours should be paid at time and a half. Contractors are allowed to employ one apprentice worker for each journeyman and pay them 50% of the rate of the journeyman in the same occupational title.
On July 1 every year, the Missouri Division of Labor Standards releases an Annual Wage Order listing the prevailing wage rates for each county in applicable occupational categories. The Annual Wage Orders can be accessed on the Department of Labor website here.
Helpful Note: We represent clients in both Kansas and Missouri. Only Missouri has a Prevailing Wage Law. This means an employer based in Kansas undertaking a public works project in Missouri could be subject to the prevailing wage rule. Missouri-based employers undertaking projects in Kansas, on the other hand, are not subject to the Prevailing Wage Law.
Calculating prevailing wage rates can be complicated because rates depend on a variety of factors. Adding to the complexity, contractors who fail to comply with Prevailing Wage rules could face investigations and costly lawsuits – so it’s imperative to make sure you’re complying with all relevant laws. Workers on the other hand need to make sure their contractors are paying them the appropriate wages and complying with prevailing wage laws. If you would like to learn more about prevailing wage rates or believe you are owed back-pay, please contact our office for a consultation.