The FAQ's listed below pertain to general information about Public Work. If you do not find your question listed below and would like to see more detailed questions and answers, please click on one of these topic areas:
Q: What is Public Work?
A: A three-prong test is applied to determine whether a particular project is public work and subject to the prevailing wage requirements of Labor Law § 220 and article I, § 17 of the State Constitution. First, a public agency must be a party to a contract involving the employment of laborers, workmen, or mechanics. Second, the contract must concern a project that primarily involves construction-like labor and is paid for by public funds. Third, the primary objective or function of the work product must be the use or other benefit of the general public.
Q: Who makes the determination whether a project is "Public Work"?
A: Generally, projects for construction, reconstruction or maintenance done on behalf of a public agency (entity) are public work. In instances where there is a question regarding whether this condition exists, the Bureau of Public Work will make a determination based on the project details.
Q: Is work performed for IDAs considered "Public Work"?
A: IDAs or Industrial Development Authorities are public authorities. Construction performed for the IDA itself is public work and requires the payment of prevailing wage rates. Prevailing wage requirements do not apply to private construction projects which are financed by IDAs through the issuance of tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds.
Q: Is HUD financed-housing work "Public Work"?
A: Generally, prevailing wages are required to be paid on HUD assisted projects. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. Article 8 does not apply on projects assisted by HUD under the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 when the New York State prevailing wage is greater than the prevailing wage established by HUD.
Q: Is "maintenance work" subject to Article 8?
A: Yes, maintenance work involving the employment of laborers, workers or mechanics is subject to Article 8. Building service workers, i.e., janitorial services, are covered under Article 9 of the New York State Labor Law.
Q: Is "warranty” or “insurance claim” work subject to Article 8?
A: The fact that there is no charge for work which is being performed pursuant to a warranty or insurance claim does not change the underlying statutory obligation to pay prevailing rates.
Q: Can a contractor be prohibited from bidding or being awarded a public work project?
A: The New York State Labor Law prohibits contractors who have been debarred for violations of Article 8 from bidding on or being awarded public work projects for five years. A contractor is debarred when two final determinations have been rendered within any consecutive six-year period that such entity has willfully failed to pay the prevailing rate, or one final determination has been rendered involving the falsification of payroll records or the kickback of wages and/or supplements. (Article 8, Section 220-b, subd. 3b)
Q: Does the Commissioner of Labor enforce the prevailing rate requirements on public work projects in New York City ?
A: The Commissioner of Labor enforces the prevailing wage requirements on all projects let by the state or its political subdivisions with the exception of projects let by the City of New York. For New York City public work projects, the New York City Comptroller is responsible for the enforcement of Article 8. Any complaints or questions on public work projects let by New York City should be addressed to:
Office of the New York City Comptroller
Bureau of Labor Law
One Centre Street, Room 651
New York, New York 10007
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