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Understanding Georgia State vs. Federal Prevailing Wage Laws


More than 25 states have established prevailing wage laws that mirror or exceed federal prevailing wage standards. Although these state laws share many common features, specific protocols vary state by state. Distinguishing the requirements of each new, existing, or amended labor law can be a time-consuming process. In this article, we’ll clarify federal and Georgia prevailing wage laws and provide guidance on how to remain fully compliant as a Georgia business.

Prevailing Wage Laws at the Federal Level

A byproduct of Depression-era concerns about the underpayment of laborers and mechanics, the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act is the core law establishing standards for federal prevailing wage requirements. The law was initially created to provide fair compensation to laborers working on federally supported projects in excess of $2,000. Since then, additional legislation like the McNamara-Ohara Service Contract Act, has extended federal protections to include federal contracts where services or goods are provided.

The U.S. Department of Labor conducts yearly surveys of union and nonunion workers to establish prevailing wages (including fringe benefits) in specific trades and local economies. With this data in hand, prevailing wages for federally supported projects (whether funded or assisted) are determined, published, and made publicly accessible to contractors and subcontractors. Any employer who takes on a federal contract must pay the appropriate prevailing wage rate in their region and industry. Federal prevailing wage laws also regulate the fair payment of foreign workers

Emulating federal prevailing wage policies, a number of states have established their own prevailing wage laws to prevent misconduct and the potential underpayment of workers in any state-funded public projects. We’ll discuss prevailing wage requirements in the state of Georgia below.

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Georgia Prevailing Wage Laws

Currently, Georgia does not have any prevailing wage laws or state statutes that dictate prevailing wage rates for state government projects or service contracts.

Nevertheless, Georgia employers may be required to pay residents wage rates established by federal prevailing wage laws. The prevailing wage rates may be different from the federal and state standard minimum wage rates, depending on the location and type of work. Additionally, any Georgia jurisdiction receiving federal funding for an in-state construction project must abide by Davis-Bacon and other federal prevailing wage laws.

Some Georgia employees could also be eligible for prevailing wages while they complete certain government services or work on government (or government-subsidized) construction projects. Eligibility for these wage rates is determined by the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA), as well as the Davis-Bacon Act and McNamara-Ohara Service Contract Act, which we discussed earlier. Employers should carefully review the terms of each of these acts to ensure full compliance. 

For additional guidance on managing payroll, taxes, and rates in the state of Georgia, please explore our related guide.

How CAVU HCM Simplifies Prevailing Wage and Labor Law Compliance

CAVU HCM helps Georgia businesses comply with federal prevailing wage laws by managing payroll to verify proper wage classifications, monitor overtime calculations, and confirm contractor compliance and eligibility. Since prevailing wage law compliance is just one facet of your business’ overall labor law compliance process, it’s essential to find a human capital management solution that provides your business with the expertise, resources, and software necessary to stay on track, letting you focus on core business operations.

We offer a comprehensive payroll solution that is built for your business and designed to ensure efficiency, sustainability, and compliance with all Georgia and federal laws. Led by experts on state and federal labor law policies, CAVU HCM’s payroll solution is the perfect fit. Let us manage your entire payroll process, including time and attendance, yearly filings, application of tax credits, and more, to help you stay compliant with the latest labor law updates. 

If you’re ready to start streamlining payroll to ensure compliance with all federal and Georgia labor laws, please contact us today to start our collaboration.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting, or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.