What is a public work?
Public Works in general means:
  • Construction, alteration, demolition, installation, or repair work done under contract and paid in whole or in part out of public funds.
  • It can include preconstruction and post-construction activities related to a public works project.
  • For a full definition of Public Works refer to Labor Code section 1720.
Anyone working on a Public Works project must be paid prevailing wages as determined by Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). Projects of $30,000 or more must meet DIR's apprenticeship requirements. Failure to comply with Public Works requirements can result in civil penalties, criminal prosecution, or both.
To whom can I award a public work project?
A public works project may be awarded to a contractor or subcontractor who is registered with the Department of Industrial Relations pursuant to Labor Code section 1725.5. A contractor subcontractor may register online. An awarding body may check to see if a contractor or subcontractor is registered by searching the Department of Industrial Relation’s database.
What prevailing wage rate must a contractor pay on a job?
The state Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) makes prevailing wage rate determinations for each craft. The rates are located on the DIR web page. The index for determinations is found at http://www.dir.ca.gov/OPRL/PWD/index.htm. Note these rates may change during the course of a construction project.
When do I have to hire apprentices?

Prevailing wages are due, in most instances, if the project costs more than $1,000, and involves the following construction work: new construction, alteration, demolition, installation, repair, and maintenance.

Contractors must make an attempt to hire apprentices when the total project costs exceed $30,000.

How do I confirm that the person I hired is a qualified apprentice?
State public works laws require that contractors and subcontractors on state public works projects must hire apprentices at the rate of 1:5, unless there is an exemption. Contractors are also required to pay into a training fund for the training. A contractor can check an apprentice’s status on the DIR’s web site
What are the Apprentice programs?
There are numerous apprentice programs available. They are available by trade and have pre-requisites to enter into the programs. There are both union and non-union (Open Shop) programs. The DIR has a web page with certified apprentice programs.
I just found out I hired an apprentice who is not in a registered program. He’s a good employee: how do I register him in a registered program?
To become an apprentice, there are a series of steps which must be taken in order to be accepted into a registered apprenticeship program. See the DIR’s web page for more information.
Where can I find extensive information on state public works issues?
The State Department of Industrial Relations maintains an extensive web page with information regarding public works. You can access it by clicking here: http://www.dir.ca.gov/public-works/publicworks.html
Where can I find answers to common questions regarding state public works projects?

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