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What To Know About Prevailing Wage Laws In New Jersey


Employees work hard for their pay. In New Jersey, employees are guaranteed to make at least the state-mandated minimum wage. Some people employed on certain public projects may actually be entitled to make even more than that as a guaranteed minimum. This is because our state has a prevailing wage law. In this article, our New Jersey wage and hour lawyer explains the most important things to know about prevailing wage laws in New Jersey.

What is a Prevailing Wage? 

A prevailing wage is a minimum wage rate that is set for specific occupations in a particular geographical area. It is based on the wages that are typically paid to workers in a given area for a particular type of work. The purpose of the prevailing wage is to ensure that workers are paid a fair wage for their labor and to prevent contractors from underbidding each other by paying workers less than what is considered fair for the area. Prevailing wages are often set by government agencies, such as the New Jersey Department of Labor (DOL). They are generally applicable to publicly funded projects. A prevailing wage law prevents the government and government agencies from driving wages down in a local area.

 Understanding New Jersey’s Prevailing Wage Law

Not all states have prevailing wage regulations in place. Indeed, prevailing wage laws are only in effect in around half of the jurisdictions nationwide. New Jersey has a prevailing wage law. Under N.J.S.A. 34:11-56.25 et seq, it is public policy in New Jersey that the state’s prevailing wage law is designed to encourage fair conditions for tradesmen and to prevent wages from being driven down. Here are the key things that you need to know about prevailing wages in New Jersey:

  1. Applies to Publicly-Funded Construction Projects: When a construction project in New Jersey receives public money, all contractors hired must comply with the prevailing wage.
  2. Collectively Bargained For: The prevailing wage in New Jersey is determined, in large part, based on collective bargaining agreements.
  3. Varies Based on Craft/Trade: Not all workers on a publicly-funded construction project in New Jersey are guaranteed the same prevailing wage. The rate is based on the trade.
  4. County Matters: Cost-of-living is variable across or state. The prevailing wage is set on a county-by-county level to account for the different local wage conditions.

A contractor in New Jersey that works on a public project can be held liable for a prevailing wage violation. Common violations include the failure to pay the prevailing wage and the misclassification of a worker based on their trade/craft.

Call Our New Jersey Wage and Hour Attorney Today

At Poulos LoPiccolo PC, our wage and hour lawyers have the skills, experience, and expertise to handle prevailing wage claims. If you or a loved one has any questions about a prevailing wage issue, we can help. Contact us today to set up your confidential, no strings attached consultation. From our Monmouth County law office, we represent employees throughout all of New Jersey.

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