With the start of a new legislative year, and with many states still not quite in session, it’s time to prepare you for what will appear in our legislative tracking . This report is specific to prevailing wage legislation that has been introduced in the last year and is still “active.” With more than 270 bills just on prevailing wage being tracked, it’s important to understand why NSCA is tracking these bills.
Prevailing wage is important because:
1) It can either cost or save you thousands of dollars. The prevailing wage is the minimum wage for a specific type of work on a public works project. In some states, prevailing wage might be less than the normal hourly wage you pay your employees; in others, it can be 10% to 40% more than the normal wage rate for your technicians and installers.
2) It can make or break your ability to win a bid if you haven’t correctly classified your employees for the jobs they will be working on during the project.
Prevailing wage is based on wage surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor; however, the SOC code (Standard Occupation Classification) that’s used to determine the classification of your employees is the major player in this process. This code isn’t just a bunch of random numbers! More often than not, 49.2022 is the only code available to use, which lumps electricians and low-voltage systems into the same category. Wage rates for this classification can be much higher because of risk, insurance costs, and overall wage rates.
Many of the bills introduced change the threshold at the state levels for prevailing wage to kick in, seek complete removal, or seek additional protection for unions. In addition, many of these prevailing wage bills are specific to education or healthcare facilities. Take a look at what your state is doing and tell NSCA what you like or don’t like about it!
Most importantly, NSCA has the ability to make sure your voice is heard. In 2018, the SOC codes will be revised. Comments will be sought from industry representatives, employers, unions, etc. for what changes, if any, need to be made. NSCA advocates for the inclusion of a specific code related to low-voltage work and not just a specific category (because many integrators provide a variety of technology solutions and not just AV).
This is an opportunity to share your story so NSCA can compile comments and work to help find a positive solution so the industry can quit being wrongly classified, causing a loss in jobs, wages, and higher expenses for many small business owners.