Massachusetts law about prevailing wage

Laws, regulations, cases and web sources on prevailing wage law.

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Table of Contents

Best bet

Prevailing Wage Program, Mass. Dept. of Labor Standards.
The Dept. of Labor Standards (DLS) issues prevailing wage information. These schedules contain the wage rates that workers must receive when working on public projects. Includes information for contractors and workers, forms, opinion letters, and 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

Forms

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

Request an example prevailing wage, Dept. of Labor Standards.

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

Selected cases

Donis v. American Waste Services, LLC, 485 Mass. 257 (2020)
"[T]he plaintiffs may not avoid the limitations that the Prevailing Wage Act places on their recovery by pursuing an otherwise duplicative claim under the Wage Act."

Lighthouse Masonry, Inc. v. Div. of Admin. Law Appeals, 466 Mass. 692 (2013)
"[T]he prevailing wage law is a strict liability statute. It specifically provides for civil penalties to be imposed 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."

March v. Massachusetts Coastal Railroad LLC, 492 Mass. 641 (2022)
Among other findings, the Court concluded "the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act, 49 U.S.C. § 10501, did not expressly preempt the Prevailing Wage Act, G. L. c. 149, §§ 26-27H" and "nothing in the temporary wage reduction restriction in 1916 evinced a congressional intent to occupy the field of railroad employee wages or to preempt any State laws securing wage protections for railroad employees on public works projects."

Metcalf v. BSC Group, Inc., 492 Mass. 676 (2022)
"Concluding that the contracts are not governed by the Act and that BSC was not required to pay its employees a prevailing wage pursuant to the contracts, we affirm the Superior Court judge's grant of summary judgment in favor of BSC on the Prevailing Wage Act claims of its former employees."

Rego, et al. v. Allied Waste Services of Massachusetts, LLC, 100 Mass. App. Ct. 750 (2022)
Defendant who had paid 2015-2016 prevailing wage for the entirety of a five-year contract from 2015-2020 were obligated to higher prevailing wage for the years 2017-2020.

Web sources

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

Prevailing wage: for workers, Attorney General's Fair Labor Division.

Prevailing wage topical outline, Mass. Dept. of Labor Standards, January 2022.
A 59-page guide on how to classify various tasks performed on a work site.

Print sources

Construction law, annual (Mass Practice v.57) West. Section 10:133 Prevailing wage.

Labor and employment in Massachusetts, Lexis, loose-leaf, Section 2-6[n] Massachusetts prevailing wage law.

Massachusetts construction law and litigation, 2nd ed., MCLE, loose-leaf, Section 2.7 Prevailing wage law.

Municipal law and practice, 5th ed. (Mass Practice v.18B) Thomson/West, 2006 with supplement. Section 30:12 Rate of wages.

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

Contact for Massachusetts law about prevailing wage

Last updated: August 30, 2023

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