Amendment to the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act

On January 15, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed Public Act 100-1177 amending the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, 820 ILCS 130/1 et seq., to take effect on June 1, 2019. The bill introduces procedural changes to the process for determining prevailing wage rates and modifies the current obligations on public bodies.

The Illinois Prevailing Wage Act pertains to the rights and obligations of the Illinois Department of Labor (“IDOL”), public entities, and contractors as it relates to wages of laborers, mechanics, and other workers employed in any public works by any public body. Prior to Public Act 100-1177, each public body was responsible for ascertaining the prevailing wage rate and approving an annual prevailing wage resolution each June. Pursuant to the amendment, public bodies are no longer responsible for adopting an annual prevailing wage resolution, or for publishing notice of such prevailing wage resolution. Instead, IDOL will ascertain the prevailing wage rates for each county in Illinois and publish such rates on its official website no later than July 15 of each year.

Additionally, by no later than April 1, 2020, public bodies no longer will be required to maintain certified payroll records. Currently, public bodies are required to maintain certified payroll records submitted by contractors for five years from the date of last payment for the work. IDOL is developing an electronic database, to be completed no later than April 1, 2020, and after such time will relieve the public bodies’ record-keeping obligations. Once the database is complete, contractors will directly submit payroll information to IDOL.

With respect to objections by persons affected by the prevailing wage rate, public bodies no longer will receive notice of objections and won’t be responsible for hearing objections. IDOL will receive all filed objections and will be responsible for all investigations and hearings related to such objections.

One notable precaution for public bodies, however, is that public bodies awarding any contract for a public work must specify in the call for bids, the project specifications, and the contract a stipulation that not less than the prevailing rate of wages must be paid to all laborers, workers, and mechanics performing work under the contract. In the event there are no project specifications or contracts for the work, public bodies still must notify of the applicability of prevailing wage via other written instrument, including as part of the purchase order.

Finally, IDOL is undertaking the obligation to report on the number of people employed on public works in Illinois during a calendar year and to report on the participation of minorities and females on public works in Illinois. Subsequently, by December 31, 2020, IDOL will provide recommendations to increase minority and female participation on public works by county.

For questions regarding the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, please contact Jack Jablonsky.

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