Inside Wireman vs Lighting Maintenance – what is the proper prevailing wage rate?

August 6, 2022

Last updated on May 18, 2023

Electrician working on light figure installation in ceiling.

With the efficiencies and benefits of advances in lighting technology, including LED fixtures and lightbulbs, we’ve seen a big increase in projects that retrofit old energy inefficient lighting with new energy efficient lighting. Often these projects require new fixtures, new ballasts, rewiring and new lightbulbs.

When these projects include schools and other government buildings, they are often public works, and will require the payment of a Prevailing Wage rate for the work performed.

To determine the proper prevailing wage rate, review Labor Code section 1773. Generally, the contractor bidding for public work needs to gather this information from the Director of Industrial Relations (DIR) for the locality where the work is to be performed and for each craft, classification or type of worker needed:

  • Prevailing per diem wage rate including the regular rate, the overtime rate and the double time rate
  • Prevailing holiday rate
  • Prevailing overtime rate

Not all work being performed will line up exactly to a DIR classification. In that case, use the classification that most closely resembles the work performed.

The classification used must be currently available in the county where the work is performed. Using a classification or DIR determination from elsewhere could be a misclassification.

When it comes to recent lighting projects, we are seeing contractors use lower wage classifications that do not apply to the work performed or the county where the work is performed. For example, using a Lighting Maintenance classification from San Bernadino County for a project in Los Angeles County is an improper classification and results in improper prevailing wage rates paid to workers on the Los Angeles County project.

If you have questions or concerns about the proper prevailing wage rate for the project you are working on please contact a prevailing wage attorney at Donahoo & Associates, PC today.

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