public body

Prevailing Rate Laws

What is a “Public Works Project?”

Determining if a job is covered by Illinois Prevailing Wage

Responsibilities of a Public Body

What happens if a public body doesn’t follow the Act?

Illinois Prevailing Wage Act Requirements

Sample Responsible Bidder Ordinance Language

Federal Law

Illinois Law

Applicable Laws

Prevailing Rate Laws

Illinois Prevailing Wage Act (312-793-2814)

Requires contractor and subcontractor to pay laborers, workers and mechanics employed
on public works projects, no less than the general prevailing rate of wages (consisting of
hourly cash wages plus fringe benefits) for work of similar character in the locality where
the work is performed. Violators must pay workers the difference between the wage paid and
the prevailing wage and may be subject to 20% penalties and 2% punitive damages. A contractor
or subcontractor found to have violated the Act on two occasions may be barred from public
works projects for two years.

  • It is the policy of the State of Illinois that all workers employed performing
    similar work on public works projects within the same locality shall be paid the
    same prevailing hourly rate.
  • All bid specifications shall list the specified rates to all laborers and workers.
    If the Department of Labor revises the prevailing rate of hourly wages to be paid, it
    will apply to the contract. The contractor and each subcontractor will be notified of
    the revised rate.
  • An employee may not be punished (discharged, disciplined or discriminated against)
    for filing or instituting a proceeding resulting from the administrative or enforcement
    of this Act, or for offering any evidence of any violation of this Act.

Davis-Bacon Act

The Davis-Bacon Act states that prevailing wage rates must be paid to workers on federal
public works projects that are in excess of $2,000.

A Federal public works project is any contract in excess of $2,000 that is entered into
for the actual construction, alteration and/or repair, painting and decorating, financed in
whole or in part from federal funds.

Copeland Anti-Kickback Act

The Copeland Anti-Kickback Act makes it punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and/or by
imprisonment up to five years to induce any person working on a federally funded or
assisted construction project to give up any part of the compensation to which they are
entitled under the Davis-Bacon Act or any other related Acts.

What is a "Public Works Project?"

    The term “public works” means all fixed works for the public use paid in whole, or in
    part, with public funds; or all projects financed in whole or in part with bonds issued
    under the Industrial Project Revenue Act, the Industrial Building Revenue Bond Act, the
    Illinois Development Finance Authority Act, or the Build Illinois Bond Act; or all
    projects financed in whole or part with loans or other funds made available under the
    Build Illinois Act.

Determine if a job is covered by Illinois Prevailing Wage

    If the public works project is financed in whole or in part by State or local
    taxpayers but does not have more than $2,000 in federal assistance, then it is under
    the jurisdiction of the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act. If the job has more than $2,000
    in federal money the jurisdiction is then under the Davis-Bacon Act.

Public Body Responsibilities

A public body is responsible for completing the following duties before it lets a
public work contract to bid:

  • (1) investigate and ascertain the prevailing rate of wages on a county-wide
    basis during June of each calendar year (or accept rates ascertained by the Illinois
    Department of Labor), and

  • (2) pass an ordinance or resolution of prevailing rate of wages, and
  • (3) publicly post or keep available for inspection in its main office a copy
    of the ordinance or resolution, and

  • (4) promptly file a certified copy of the ordinance or resolution with the
    Illinois Secretary of State, Index Division, in Springfield, and

  • (5) publish a notice of its determination in a newspaper of general circulation
    within the county and mail a copy to persons that filed a request for a copy of the

A public body is responsible for specifying in the call for bids for a public works
contract, for inserting in the public works contract, and for requiring the insertion
in the pertinent contractor and subcontractor’s bonds, the proviso that the prevailing
rate of hourly wages must be paid to all persons employed on the project. All bid
specifications and all contracts shall list the prevailing rate of wages for all employee
classifications which may be necessary to complete the project.

Public Body Doesn’t Follow Prevailing Wage

Any public works project awarded when the prevailing wage prerequisites have not been
met is void against public policy and the contractor is prohibited from recovering any
damages for the voiding of the contract pursuant to the terms of the contract. The contractor
is limited to a claim for amounts actually paid for labor and materials supplied to the
public body.

Any officer, agent or representative of any public body who willfully violates, or omits
to comply with any provision of the Act is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

Prevailing Wage Law Requirements

Illinois Prevailing Wage laws require:

  • Wage rates to be part of contract documents.
  • Contractors to maintain payroll records.
  • Contractors to make payroll records available to the Illinois
    Department of Labor and the contracting agency.

  • Each public body to adopt a Prevailing Wage Determination in June of every year.
  • (Note: If the Illinois Department of Labor chooses to revise the rates, then the public body is required to pay the revised rates.)

Sample Responsible Bidder Language


That the term “responsible bidder” for construction contracts means a bidder who
meets all of the following applicable criteria, and submits evidence of such compliance:

A. All applicable laws pre-requisite to doing business in Illinois.
B. Evidence of compliance with:
-Federal employer tax identification number or social security number (for individuals);

-Provision of Section 2000(e) of Chapter 21, Title 42 of the United States Code and

-Federal Executive Order No. 11246 as amended by Executive Order No. 11375 (known as the Equal Opportunity Employer provision).
C. Certificates of insurance indicating the following coverages: general liability, workers’
compensation, completed operations, automobile, hazardous occupation, product liability and professional
liability; amounts of coverage to be determined by the City of after consideration of the type and size
of project and the relative risks to be considered.
D. Compliance with all provisions of the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, including wages,
medical and hospitalization insurance, and retirement for those trades as covered in the Act.
E. Participation in apprenticeship and training programs approved and registered with the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training.

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