JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Following a sweeping overhaul of the prevailing wage system last year, Missouri has set the first rates under the alterations.
On Wednesday, the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR) announced the prevailing wage rates for FY 2020 and are now in effect for use on all Missouri public works construction projects.
During the 2018 regular session, the Missouri General Assembly gave its stamp of approval to HB 1729, championed by GOP Rep. Jeffrey Justus, after hours of debate and compromise.
The compromised language was not a total repeal, as was originally proposed, but instead laid out more specific criteria for the calculations used to decide the prevailing wage.
One provision states if there are less than 1,000 reportable hours for an occupation in that locality, the public works contracting minimum wage would be equal to 120 percent of the average hourly wage in a particular locality.
The reason for this, according to supporters, was heavily populated areas, such as St. Louis County or Jackson County, were dictating the wages in nearby rural areas. The intent of the provision was to make the wages more reflective of their respective localities.
The changes do not impact projects worth less than $75,000.
Under the prevailing wage in effect, a carpenter in Jefferson County would earn $54.69 an hour while a carpenter in Macon County, where less than 1,000 hours were reported, would earn $18.78 an hour.
The Annual Wage Order contains prevailing wage rates for each occupational title in each county and the city of St. Louis. The prevailing wage is the minimum rate that must be paid to workers on public works construction projects in Missouri, such as bridges, roads, schools, and government buildings.
Additionally, the Division of Labor Standards provided the General Wage Order to the Missouri State Highways and Transportation Commission that lists the prevailing wage rates for construction projects by the Missouri Department of Transportation.
DOLIR’s Division of Labor Standards is responsible for gathering wage information from public and private commercial construction projects statewide on an ongoing basis from contractors. The wage information is used to determine wage rates for each of the 20 different occupational titles for every Missouri county and the city of St. Louis.
Annual Wage Order No. 26 is now in effect and is available at labor.mo.gov/prevailing-wage. Public works contractors and public bodies are advised to contact the Division of Labor Standards for additional questions or information via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-751-3403.
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.