Massachusetts law about prevailing wage

A compilation of 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 case law

Donis v. American Waste Services, LLC, 485 Mass. 257 (2020)
Plaintiffs who brought suit under the Prevailing Wage Act could not also recover under the Wage Act. 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.

Lighthouse Masonry, Inc. v. Div. of Admin. Law Appeals, 466 Mass. 692 (2013)
The prevailing wage law is a strict liability statute. Contractors and subcontractors are liable even when there is 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.”

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 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.

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Last updated: October 31, 2022
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