Heyl Royster

 

Changes Are Coming To the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act

By: Wade Blumenshine, wblumenshine@heylroyster.com

On January 15, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed into law Public Act 100-1177, making significant changes to the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act (the Act). Beginning on June 1, 2019, a large part of the obligations previously imposed on Illinois counties will be alleviated or modified. Previously, Illinois counties were tasked with having to pass the annual ordinance determining the prevailing wages, and certain reporting and record retention obligations. The Act will alleviate select obligations when it is fully implemented. While the amendments are effective as of June 1, 2019, some changes will not be in effect immediately.

First, a few automatic requirements of Counties under Section 9 of the Act are being eliminated. Requirements which are being eliminated include those determining the prevailing wage, passing the June ordinance, and filing a certified copy of the determination with the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL). 820 ILCS 130/9. Most public bodies adopted the prevailing wage as determined by IDOL and then passed an ordinance memorializing the adoption of the requisite prevailing wages. The amendments to Section 9 eliminates these requirements effective June 1, 2019, and instead, IDOL will be the sole body determining prevailing wages, with the prevailing wage rate being published on the IDOL website no later than the 15th of July every year. Accordingly, Counties will no longer have to undertake determining the prevailing wage, passing the June ordinance, or filing its determination with IDOL.

In addition to eliminating certain requirements the Act will also lessen the burden on public bodies. Public bodies will no longer be receiving objections to the prevailing wage schedule or be obligated to participate in a hearing, IDOL will hear all objections.

Every County officer that dealt with the Act recalls the recordkeeping and filing requirements related to the certified payroll provided by contractors. Previously public bodies were required to have contractors submit certified payroll records and to keep payroll records for a period of 5 years from the date of the last payment for work. Under the amendments, IDOL is to create an electronic database for certified payroll records “no later than April 1, 2020.” 820 ILCS 130/5.1. While the amendments eliminate the need for the public body to receive and maintain the certified payroll records every month, the exact effective date of when this requirement will be eliminated is a moving target. Once IDOL “activates the database created under Section 5.1” the certified payroll records will then be submitted directly to IDOL to be maintained in their database. Until such time, the County will be responsible for receiving, maintaining, and submitting the certified payrolls to IDOL by the 15th of each month. As of the drafting of this article, the database was not yet active on the IDOL website. In fact, IDOL’s website is yet to be updated with the latest changes to the Act.

If the County will no longer determine the prevailing wage, pass a June ordinance, or maintain/file the certified payrolls, what role will the Counties play in ensuring compliance with the Act? First, remember the certified payroll requirements are still the purview of the County until IDOL sets up its certified payroll database. Second, and most importantly, the requirement to pay the prevailing wage is not being eliminated. All fixed works projects will still be prevailing wage jobs. Also, the notice requirements of the Act will still be in effect – notifying the contractors or those bidding on contracts that the job is subject to payment of the prevailing wages as determined by IDOL.

Overall, the changes alleviate or eliminate certain administrative and recordkeeping obligations of counties as they relate to the Act. We will continue to monitor the IDOL website for when the certified payroll database becomes active. Until further notice, we suggest maintaining and filing certified payroll records as normal.