Weakening a prevailing wage law by raising coverage thresholds has negative impacts on local contractors, construction workers, and economies, according to a new study

(ILEPI Report) Prevailing Wage Thresholds Lower the Bar in Public Construction

Posted by Frank Manzo IV

The report, An Analysis of the Impact of Prevailing Wage Thresholds On Public Construction: Implications for Illinois, was conducted jointly by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) and the Project for Middle Class Renewal (PMCR) at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

It is the first study to focus specifically on prevailing wage thresholds.

A prevailing wage threshold is the minimum cost of a public project at which point workers must be paid prevailing wage rates. Publicly-funded projects below the threshold are exempt from the law, while those above are covered. Contract thresholds vary by state, from those with no threshold (such as Illinois) up to $500,000 in Maryland.

Although the study forecasts effects on Illinois if the state were to introduce a prevailing wage threshold, the report is applicable to any state that is considering raising a contract threshold.

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(PDF of Study)