SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO SEE RELIEF FROM PREVAILING WAGE OBLIGATIONS

By James Petrungaro

May 8, 2019 

            Under the Prevailing Wage Act, school boards and other public bodies were long required to “during the month of June of each calendar year, investigate and ascertain the prevailing rate of wages” applicable to public works projects in their county.  After ascertaining the rates, school boards were then required to file the schedule with the Illinois Department of Labor (“IDOL”) and publish notice of the schedule. If the school district did not make this determination, then the prevailing wage defaulted to the rate set by the IDOL. Most school districts just chose to adopt the IDOL’s schedule and annually the school board would adopt such a resolution in June. 

            With Public Act 100-1177, school boards no longer have to go through the motion of adopting the IDOL’s prevailing wage rates. Effective January 1, 2019, all prevailing wage rate determinations are to automatically be made by the IDOL alone, which must publish the rates on its website no later than July 15th annually. With this change, school boards and other public bodies will also no longer be required to receive and process objections to the prevailing wage rates. 

            Recent changes to the Prevailing Wage Act bring another form of relief to public bodies, though not effective until April 1, 2020. That is the date by when the IDOL must maintain an electronic database for all contractors working on a public works project to upload certified payroll records. Once the database is created, school districts will be relieved of the duty to receive and maintain these certified records. 

    If you would like assistance navigating changes to the Prevailing Wage Act, we stand ready to assist.