Oregon passed its prevailing wage rate (PWR) law, sometimes referred to as the “Little Davis-Bacon Act,” in 1959. As the nickname implies, the Act is modeled after the federal “Davis-Bacon” prevailing wage laws. Today, Oregon continues to update and refine its PWR law to reflect changes in the industry.
Oregon’s lawmakers designed PWR law, ORS 279C.800 et seq., to ensure that contractors compete on their ability to perform work competently and efficiently while maintaining community established compensation standards, to encourage the training and education of workers in industry skill standards and to encourage employers to use the funds required by the PWR law for fringe benefits for the actual purchase of such benefits. ORS 279C.805
The Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) is responsible for administering and enforcing the PWR law and for educating contractors, subcontractors and public agencies about its requirements.
This guide focuses on PWR requirements and BOLI enforcement. Underpaid employees as well as contractors, subcontractors, or other interested parties may file complaints with BOLI’s Wage and Hour Division, or file a civil suit for damages against a violator of the PWR law.
The labor commissioner appoints an advisory committee to assist in the administration of the PWR law. This committee includes an equal number of management and labor members who are involved in building and construction work on public works contracts. The commissioner may also appoint other interested parties. ORS 279C.820
BOLI’s Prevailing Wage Rate Unit offers free seminars to help contractors, subcontractors and public agencies stay in compliance with prevailing wage rate law. The seminar schedule can be accessed online at www.oregon.gov/BOLI/WHD/PWR/docs/pwrsched.pdf