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Massachusetts law about prevailing wage

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases and web sources on prevailing wage law.

Table of Contents

Best bet

Prevailing wage program, Mass. Dept. of Labor Standards
"The Department of Labor Standards (DLS) issues prevailing wage information for construction projects and other types of public work. These prevailing wage schedules contain hourly wage rates that workers must receive when working on a public project." Includes information on the prevailing wage law for contractors and workers, with forms, opinion letters and much more. 

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.149, § 26 Public works, wages
MGL c.149, § 27 Classification, schedule of wages. The Prevailing Wage Law
MGL c.149, § 27A Appeals from classification
MGL c.149, § 27B Records
MGL c.149, § 27C Penalties


File a prevailing wage complaint, Massachusetts Attorney General.
Instructions and link to file a complaint online.

Request an example prevailing wage, Department of Labor Standards

Request for prevailing wage rates, Department of Labor Standards
Be sure to check the box that says "Continue without registering."

Selected case law

Donis v. American Waste Services, LLC, 485 Mass. 257 (2020)
Where plaintiffs brought suit asserting that they were paid less than the wages required by the Prevailing Wage Act, they could not also recover under the Wage Act. As the sole basis for the employees' claim was a violation of the Prevailing Wage Act, the employees could not restate their claims under the Wage Act to evade the limitations of the Prevailing Wage Act on the scope of potential liability for the employer and its officers.

Lighthouse Masonry, Inc. v. Div. of Admin. Law Appeals , 466 Mass. 692 (2013).
The prevailing wage law is a strict liability statute. Liability is imposed even where a contractor or subcontractor has no intent to violate the law. “Under a strict liability scheme, an employer's reason for the violation is irrelevant; the fact of violation is sufficient for a penalty to issue.”

Web sources

Frequently asked questions about the Massachusetts prevailing wage laws, Foundation for Fair Contracting of Massachusetts

Prevailing wage topical outline, Mass. Dept. of Labor Standards, July 2018
This 59-page guide presents the "appropriate occupational classification for various tasks performed on a work site"

Print sources

Labor and employment in Massachusetts, Lexis, loose-leaf

Mass. construction law and litigation, MCLE, Section 2.7 Prevailing wage

Mass. practice v.57, Construction law, Section 10.131 Prevailing wage

Wages and hours: law and practice, Matthew Bender, loose-leaf



Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only


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Last updated: July 29, 2020