Recent amendments to Massachusetts’ prevailing wage law, M.G.L. ch. 149, § 27, require construction contractors working under government contracts to update the prevailing wage paid to laborers on a yearly basis. Awarding authorities must request updated wage schedules from the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety at least two weeks prior to the anniversary of any construction contract.
Contractors must then pay these updated wages to their covered laborers or risk being in violation of the prevailing wage law. Criminal or civil penalties under M.G.L. ch. 149, § 27C may result if a contractor fails to pay covered workers the appropriate rate. First time violators of this law may be subject to $50,000 in fines, up to one year imprisonment, or by a combination of fines and imprisonment. Additionally, violators can be prohibited from contracting, directly or indirectly, on public works projects for up to five years.
While multi-year contracts are the primary focus of these changes, any contractor working on a project that lasts longer than one year must comply—even if the contract was initially estimated and bid to last less than one year. These changes to the prevailing wage law only apply to construction contracts bid on after August 8, 2008.