Labor and Employment Law

Ca. Labor & Emp't Rev. May 2014, Volume 28, No. 3

MCLE Self-Study: Origins and Development of California’s Prevailing Wage Requirements and Enforcement Mechanisms*

By John Cumming

John Cumming currently serves as a Special Counsel to the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations and is a member of the Editorial Board of the Law Review. He is a past member of the Executive Committee of the Labor and Employment Law Section and the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California.

Overview: Underlying Purpose and Constitutionality

Prevailing wage requirements, which govern pay standards and other working conditions on public works construction projects, are a subspecies of wage and hour law. Prevailing wage statutes are essentially minimum wage laws,1 albeit far more elaborate and arcane than the minimum wage requirements that govern most other employments. Prevailing wage laws also serve a broader range of objectives than general minimum wage requirements.

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