Common Construction Wages

Building Indiana’s Middle Class since 1935

Indiana’s Common Construction Wage Law is a state prevailing wage law. Originally passed in 1935, the law states that workers on eligible construction projects receiving state funding are to be paid a set wage and benefit level, equal to the most commonly paid rate within a county, city, or other public entity.

What Are Prevailing Wages and Why Do We Need Them?

Prevailing wages are the most common wage and benefit rates paid to any given classification of worker within a county, city or public entity. Prevailing wage laws require that publicly-funded construction projects pay a certain rate to workers, to ensure that an area’s wage markets are not drawn down by government spending. Today, the Federal Government enforces the Davis-Bacon Act, a federal prevailing wage law, and 32 states have their own state-level statutes.

Why are prevailing wage laws good for workers?

Prevailing wage laws were originally passed recognizing that because government agencies fund some of the largest construction projects, they should use their purchasing power to maintain, not lessen, a local labor market.

For example, if a county highway department built a road and offered minimum wage to all the construction workers on the project, skilled local workers would be required to either work at this heavily cut rate or watch low-wage workers from other areas come in to perform the work. Either scenario results in negative consequences for local workers and the local economy. Currently, Common Construction Wage boosts worker’s wages by 4.5-10.7%, resulting in a more upwardly-mobile workforce.

Why are prevailing wage laws good for Indiana?

When workers earn more, they are able to stimulate the economy by purchasing more goods and services. They also lessen the burden of social welfare programs funded by taxpayers. Studies have shown that more highly-paid workers are more likely to have their own healthcare coverage, be able to provide quality education for their children, and support local businesses with their earnings.

How is Common Construction Wage calculated?

The Indiana Department of Labor conducts surveys to determine the Common Construction wage in a given area. For example, if ten painters worked in a given county, with six of them earning $40 per hour, and the other four earning $20 per hour, the Department of Labor would observe that the most commonly paid rate was $40 per hour, and set that as the Common Construction Wage.

Benefit levels are also included in many areas, especially those with high union density. If the Common Construction Wage includes a benefit package in addition to wages, an employer is obligated to provide benefits at that value. If the employer does not provide benefits to its workforce, it must pay that rate in addition to the ordinary wages.

What is wage theft?

Wage theft takes on two main faces in this context:

  • An employer fails to pay the state-required prevailing wage and benefit rates
  • An employer pays the proper wage rate but pays nothing toward the state-required benefits.

How do employers get away with this?

Far too often, workers are not aware of their rights and protections under the law. Many wage theft victims do not even know they are being short-changed, though finding the correct wage rate is very simple using this website and other public tools.

How can I find out if I am a victim of Wage Theft?

This website features wage and benefit rate information for several large projects in Indiana. If information on your project is not posted, you can submit a request, and researchers will post in within one business day.

When you find the wage information for the project you worked on, you can compare it to what you were paid, and if you were underpaid, you may have a claim against your employer.

 

 

Stand up for working Hoosiers!

Take a moment and ask your legislators to support Indiana’s middle class by protecting
Common Construction Wage from those who want to weaken workers.

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