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NV Governor Signs 2 Wage Bills into Law

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

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In the latest of a slew of construction-related wage laws going into effect throughout the country, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed several new bills into law this past week—one that raises the prevailing wage for workers on public construction projects and another that deals with restrictions on union contractors.

The Bills

Assembly Bill 136 lowers the prevailing wage threshold amount for public projects from $250,000 to $100,000 and restores the prevailing wage for workers on those projects to 100%, versus the current 90%.

Senate Bill 231 removes language that prohibits contractors and subcontractors from entering into an agreement with a labor organization while they’re working on public projects. It also eliminates language that discourages public entities from hiring union contractors.

Both pieces were introduced in February, and both roll back laws that were passed in 2015.

ddub3429 / Getty Images

In the latest of a slew of construction-related wage laws going into effect throughout the country, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed several new bills into law this past week—one that raises the prevailing wage for workers on public construction projects and another that deals with restrictions on union contractors.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sisolak said the bills were aimed at “ensuring our economic recovery reaches every kitchen table in every working household in this state.”

Other Recent Wage Laws

Nevada is just the latest of states to tweak its wage laws in terms of the construction industry. Most recently, last month, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed The Human Right to Work With Dignity Act (HB-1267) into law, which officially makes wage theft over $2,000 a felony theft.

Previously, the statutory framework identified criminal penalties for employers unwilling to pay wages or compensation as an unclassified misdemeanor with fines of $300-$500.

Under new legislation, employers found guilty of this crime constitutes as theft, with possible charges including petty offense, misdemeanor or felony (depending on the amount unpaid wages).

Around the same time as Colorado’s original announcement of the bill in April, California amended an existing bill which aimed to better codify workers as independent contractors or employees to streamline the wage process.

While the bill was introduced last December, it was amended in assembly on March 26, just a few weeks after a report was released from the University of California Berkeley Labor Center, which found that construction workers were one of three occupations—along with truck drivers and janitorial workers—in the state routinely misclassified as independent contractors.

The legislation pulls from the Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles case, which implemented the “ABC test,” which says that someone is an employee if a company controls what they do, if their work is linked to a company’s primary business and if they do not have an independent business performing that work.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, is sponsoring the bill, which would codify that test.

Additionally, last year, Oregon also introduced a bill that aims to protect wages by requiring a general contractor to pay wages owed by a delinquent subcontractor if certain conditions are met.

If the general contractor has given the subcontractor what was owed, they are not liable for unpaid wages or benefits on part of the subcontractor.

From 2015-17, there were over 500 wage claims in the construction industry in Oregon, according to the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industry. In 2016-17, the bureau collected more than $600,000 in unpaid wages.

   

Tagged categories: Finance; Good Technical Practice; Government; Laws and litigation; NA; North America

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