II. Wage Determinations
How are prevailing wage determinations developed?
Wage determinations are developed based on available data showing the rates that are prevailing in a specific locality. Where a single rate is paid to a majority (more than 50%) of the workers in a classification of service employees engaged in similar work in a particular locality, that rate is determined to prevail. When information is used from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) or other surveys, statistical measurements of central tendency (median) and the average (mean) are considered reliable indicators of the prevailing rate. Which of these statistical measurements will be applied in a given case will be determined after a careful analysis of the overall survey, separate classification data, patterns existing between survey periods, and the way separate classification data interrelate. Use of the median is the general rule. However, the mean may be used in situations where, after analysis, it is determined that the median is not a reliable indicator.
In addition, some occupational rates on the wage determination may be taken directly from the Non-Appropriated Fund schedule, Federal Wage System schedule, or the General Schedule "white collar" pay scales. Finally, several methodologies were developed to aid the analyst in developing rates for classes where no survey data exists.
How often do you update wage determinations?
Wage Determinations are reviewed periodically, as new data become available. Most wage determinations are updated once a year.
Must a wage determination be requested if the contract requires less than five employees?
Yes. The contracting agency must request a wage determination for every covered contract in excess of $2,500 regardless of the number of employees expected to be employed on the contract. If the contract involves more than five service employees, the Department of Labor must issue a wage determination; however, this does not limit the contracting agency's obligation to request a wage determination for all contracts in excess of $2,500.
In an emergency, how do you obtain a wage determination?
You may call the Wage and Hour Division, Branch of Service Contract Wage Determinations, and speak with a supervisor at (202) 693-0073.