Prevailing Wage Law

Prevailing Wage Law

The Prevailing Wage law regulates the rates of pay, benefits and other remuneration and duties of certain public officials under contracts and subcontracts for public works in Virginia. The Prevailing Wage law applies to contracts for public works paid for in whole or in part by state funds, valued at $250,000 or more if either of the following criteria are met:

  • The contracting public body is a unit of State Government or an instrumentality of the State, and there is any State funding for the project; or
  • The contracting public body is a locality that has adopted an ordinance requiring the payment of the prevailing wage for public works paid for in whole or in part by funds of the locality.

Public works means the operation, erection, construction, alteration, improvement, maintenance, or repair of any public facility or immovable property owned, used, or leased by a state agency or locality.

What You Need to Know

Most Important Information

Prevailing Wage Determinations

A wage determination issued for a project specifies the wage and fringe benefit rates for each classification of worker, determined to be prevailing in that locality for that type of construction or other work covered under the statute. Wage Determinations are based on the applicable prevailing wage rate determinations made by the U.S. Secretary of Labor under the provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act, 40 U.S.C. § 276 et seq. as amended.

Prevailing Wage Underpayment

Anyone paying less than the prevailing wage rate is liable to the individual for all wages and benefits plus interest at an annual rate of 8%. The contractor or subcontractor will also be disqualified from bidding on public works projects until full restitution has been made to the individual.

Virginia Prevailing Wage Rates

Under § 2.2-4321.3 the prevailing wage for public works is to be set by the Commissioner of Labor and Industry. Only an official Wage Determination from DOLI, sent to a contracting agency conducting a public works project can be used for official purposes. If a wage determination is needed, please contact the respective contracting agency.

Forms & Related Information

Below are the forms necessary for any correspondence regarding prevailing wage rates. Please submit all specific requests with the required form to


Contracting Agencies List

Contractor Responsibilities

Employee Rights & Benefits


Is “helper” a classification that gets a wage determination?

No, helper is not included in a General Wage Determination. If you think your project needs a “helper” wage determination you must prove the following conditions:

  1. The work duties are defined and distinct from listed classifications.
  2. The use of helpers is an established practice in the area.
  3. The helper is not employed as a trainee or apprentice.
Do I have to pay my apprentice or trainee the prevailing wage rate?

If the apprentice or trainee is registered in a bona fide apprenticeship program that is registered with the United States Department of Labor, Commonwealth of Virginia, or out-of-state agency, then the wages paid to such an individual will be specified by the apprenticeship or training agreement and is not subject to prevailing wage rates.

Does the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry do specific project wage determinations?

There are no specific project determinations made. All projects subject to Virginia’s Prevailing Wage Act come from the general wage determination. DOLI will add specific classifications to the general wage determination as needed.

Do I have to pay the prevailing wage rate for work done off-site?

Virginia uses the United States Department of Labor’s interpretation of where Davis-Bacon applies (29 CFR 5.2), which is:

  1. A site dedicated exclusively, or near so, to the performance of the contract.
  2. A site adjacent, or virtually adjacent to the site of work.
What if I need an additional classification in order to support my bid?

If you believe that you need additional wage determinations for one or more labor classifications, please submit the “Request for Additional Wage Classification” form, listed in the Forms and Related Information section above. In this form you will be able to list any additional classifications needed, the job descriptions, and a suggested wage rate, if you have one available. Include any relevant documents with your form and DOLI will respond to your request informing you of our decision along with an updated Wage Determination sheet for the area in question. Please note that this form must be sent to DOLI from the contracting agency, but the form should contain the contractor’s suggested wage rate.

What rates apply for a project that mixes multiple construction types on the same public work project? (Example: Heavy and highway construction both present on the same project.)

Using the guidance of AAM 130 and 131, Virginia follows the United States Department of Labor’s process for multiple wage determinations. First, at least one of two conditions must apply:

  1. At least 20% of the total project is a different type of construction.
  2. The different type of construction is at least $1,000,000.00 in cost.

If either (or both) of these apply to the project, the contracting agency will make the determination of which wage determinations are needed and what sections of the project each determination applies to.

What if I believe an error has occurred in the wage determination process?

If you believe an error has occurred, either in the listing of wage determinations or in the calculation of specific wages, please submit the “Appeal for Clarification of Wage Determination” form, listed in the Forms and Related Information section above. In this form you can list the reason for your appeal and can submit all relevant documents to help support your appeal. DOLI understands that any delays can disrupt the bid process, so all appeals are handled as quickly as possible.

What if a wage rate changes during the course of a public works project?

The wage determination that is given during the bid solicitation and related contract award establishes the rate that must be paid for the entire term of the contract. The contracting agency in charge of the project will have an accurate, up-to-date copy of the correct wage determination to share with potential contractors.

Note: Some laws and regulations may supersede these rates. For example, if a 2022 project had established rates under $12.00 per hour, Virginia’s minimum wage increase to $12.00 per hour in 2023 would overrule said rates.

What criteria does the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry use when calculating a prevailing wage rate?

DOLI relies primarily on the DBA General Wage Determinations for each area within Virginia. In the event of a missing classification, all relevant information is used to find a wage rate that bears a reasonable relationship to the other wage rates contained in the general wage determination.

Contact Us


Virginia Department of Labor and Industry
Prevailing Wage
6606 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23230

Phone Number

Office: (804) 786-6613
Fax: (804) 371-6524

Email Address

General Questions:

You may pay for your inspection certificate invoice online. Accepted methods of payment include:

  • Check
  • Credit Card
  • Electronic Check (E-Check)
  • Electronic Transfer (EDI)
  • Money Order
  • Cash IS NOT accepted

If you wish to pay by credit card or e-check, you will need certain information from your invoice, including invoice number and the Virginia number (VA number) of one of the objects. The VA number can be found on the table that appears on the invoice. You will only need to provide one VA number, even if your invoice lists several object numbers.

For all other methods of payment, please follow the instructions on the invoice and the remittance form you received.

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