So, your employees are all paid at least minimum wage and overtime. You’re good, right?
Not necessarily, as a recent column in the Connecticut Law Tribune points out. You might need to pay a “prevailing” wage — if you have a contract with the State of Connecticut.
Indeed, as many companies who do business with Connecticut have learned, the contracts have a provision at the end that states that: “Employer understands that, as Contractor, it must comply with the Service Worker Statute, Sec. 31-57f of the Connecticut General Statutes as revised.”
Basically, it means that a “standard” wage or a “prevailing” wage must be paid to certain employees in certain industries.
The SCA applies to any employers in the management, building, property or equipment service, or food service industries that contract with the government in the state of Connecticut. The SCA was amended on July 1, 2013, to include security services. Health care services remain exempt. The SCA requires specific wages to be paid to employees based on their job classification. For example, as of July 1, 2013, a cashier who would typically earn minimum wage (i.e., $8.25 per hour in Connecticut) must be paid $10.14 per hour where the SCA applies. Compensating that cashier at a lower rate violates the law.
In addition, employers covered by the SCA must provide their employees with the appropriate prevailing rate of benefits based on the employee classification. Such benefits include: medical, surgical or hospital care benefits; disability or death benefits; benefits in the event of unemployment; pension benefits; vacation, holiday and personal leave; training benefits; and legal service benefits.
There is a way out. Employers can collectively bargain with employees regarding their wages and benefits (read: union). If that’s done, the prevailing wage obligations diminish.
The article is worth a read, even as just a refresher to what the prevailing wage rules really mean.