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By Joseph Weigel | June 3, 2020

 

On Governor Pritzker’s first day of office, he signed into law Public Act 100-1177, making significant changes to the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act (IPWA). The bill took effect on June 1, 2019.

Before Public Act 100-1177, the law stated that public bodies were to investigate and ascertain the prevailing rate of wages as defined in the Act and publicly post or make available such prevailing rate of wages, and each relevant public body was to promptly file a certified copy of such rates in the office of the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) by June 15 of each year. Now, after Public Act 100-1177 was signed into law, IDOL is now responsible for investigating and ascertaining the prevailing rate of wages for each county (and the municipalities within them) in the state and shall publish the prevailing wage schedule ascertained on its official website no later than June 15 of each year.

Also, if you wish to object in writing to the determination made upon prevailing wages, you must file a written notice only with IDOL, instead of with any public bodies. During the pendency of such a hearing for the objection and until final determination, the relevant work in question will proceed at the rate established by IDOL. It is important to note that procedural hearing requirements were not changed by Public Act 100-1177.

Section 3.1 and 3.2 of the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act are also newly created by Public Act 100-1177. Section 3.1 requires IDOL to report the number of people employed on public works in the states during the proceeding calendar year to the General Assembly and the governor annually by February 1. Additional workers’ information is also now required, including the last four digits of social security numbers, gender, race, ethnicity, and veteran status. Section 3.2 requires IDOL to use certified payrolls to study and report on the participation of females and minorities on public works in the state. The results of this study, along with data from the U.S. Department of Labor and other available data from state or federal governments, IDOL must create recommendations to increase female and minority participation on public-works projects by county.

In the end, it appears the purpose of passing Public Act 100-1177 was to shift all the authority once manifested by public bodies to the Illinois Department of Labor. It seems this task of shifting authority was something of urgency, as Governor Pritzker signed this into law during his first day in office, most likely to put an end to past Republican ways that were seen under the previous administration.

It is vital to understand that any representative of a public body who willfully violates the Act are guilty of a class A misdemeanor. In addition to attorney fees, plus the amount of any underpayment owed to a worker, contractors are liable to IDOL for 20% of the amount of an underpayment in fines and an additional 2% of the amount of underpayment in punitive damages to underpaid workers. These amounts increase to 50% and 5%, respectively, for second and subsequent underpayments.

Since the IPWA includes substantial criminal and civil penalties, it is important for all of those affected by this law to understand changes to the Act.

The law offices of McCarthy, Callas, & Feeney handle cases of labor and employment law. If you feel that you need a lawyer, please contact us at McCarthy, Callas & Feeney so we can discuss your legal options moving forward. Call (309)-788-2800 to connect with a lawyer. Our firm practices extensively in Moline and Rock Island, Illinois, as well as Bettendorf and Davenport, Iowa.

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