Prevailing Wage


Prevailing wage laws apply to public construction work and generally require employers to pay workers the hourly wage and fringe benefits paid to the majority of workers in a particular county.

For state building projects begun from January 1, 2017, through September 22, 2017, see the Department of Administration's website.

Changes to Wisconsin's Prevailing Wage Laws, Effective September 23, 2017

The 2017-2019 Wisconsin State Budget (2017 Wisconsin Act 59) repealed Wisconsin's prevailing wage laws. Effective September 23, 2017, state prevailing wage requirements on state building projects no longer apply. These changes take effect for projects advertised for bid after September 23, 2017. This change does not affect Federal Davis Bacon Act requirements.

Changes to Wisconsin's Prevailing Wage Laws, Effective January 1, 2017

In the 2015 budget bill, Wisconsin Act 55 repealed the state prevailing wage law for local governmental units such as villages, towns, cities, school districts, or sewerage districts effective January 1, 2017. However, if a local governmental unit:

  • issued a Request for Bids before January 1, 2017, for a project of public works that was subject to bidding or,
  • entered into a contract before January 1, 2017, for a project of public works that was not subject to bidding,

then those public works projects are subject to the prior prevailing wage law (§66.0903, Wis. Stats.) through the life of the project. Projects of public works with prevailing wage project determinations issued prior to 2017 continue to be subject to the prior prevailing wage law through the life of the project even though the project may have work going on in 2017 or subsequent years.

Contractors working on local governmental unit projects with prevailing wage rate determinations must continue to pay employees the appropriate prevailing wage and maintain required prevailing wage payroll records. For instance, if a contractor is working in 2018 on a public works project with a project determination issued prior to 2017, then the contractor is required to comply with the "old" prevailing wage rate law (§ 66.0903, Wis. Stats.). After January 1, 2017, DWD will continue to enforce prevailing wage requirements for projects with DWD prevailing wage determinations issued under the "old" prevailing wage laws (§§ 66.0903 & 103.49, Wis. Stats.).

For new public works projects starting on January 1, 2017, state prevailing wage law will only apply to state agency and state highway projects. Prevailing wage rates applicable to state agencies will be those issued by the U.S. Department of Labor under the Davis-Bacon Act, 40 U.S.C. 3142.

The Wisconsin Department of Administration will enforce the new state agency prevailing wage law (§ 16.856, Wis. Stats.) and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will continue to enforce prevailing wage on state highway projects (under a law renumbered as § 84.062, Wis. Stats.).

Resources for Projects bid prior to 2017

For more information

Applicable to projects bid prior to January 1, 2017