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California Prevailing Wage, Certified Payroll and Payroll Frequency

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California prevailing wage laws are among the most complex, with multiple agencies requiring their own special certified payroll reports and multiple electronic filing requirements – how often you issue payroll will have a big impact.  See this question, submitted via our Ask the Expert form.

Does California mandate that you pay weekly when working on a prevailing wage/certified job?  Thanks, Gail.


A.  From what I know, California payroll frequencies indicate that paychecks can be run on a weekly, bi-weekly, or semi-monthly basis – but it does depend on the occupation.

The Federal guidelines, are clearer, and state it is mandatory for covered contractors and subcontractors performing work on Federally financed or assisted construction contracts to respond to the information collection contained in 29 C.F.R. §§ 3.3, 5.5(a).  The Copeland Act (40 U.S.C. § 3145) requires contractors and subcontractors performing work on Federally financed or assisted construction contracts to “furnish weekly a statement with respect to the wages paid each employee during the preceding week.” U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Regulations at 29 C.F.R. § 5.5(a)(3)(ii) require contractors to submit weekly a copy of all payrolls to the Federal agency contracting for or financing the construction project, accompanied by a signed “Statement of Compliance” indicating that the payrolls are correct and complete and that each laborer or mechanic has been paid not less than the proper Davis-Bacon prevailing wage rate for the work performed. DOL and federal contracting agencies receiving this information review the information to determine that employees have received legally required wages and fringe benefits.

All of the California specific certified payroll reports and electronic filing requirements that a contractor could have to contend with are based on a single workweek and look for gross wages not only for the project being reported, but gross wages for the week as well as the employees net wages and check number.

I would suggest that you contact the Department of Industrial Relations and ask them for clarification.  However, I do advise that you “should” issue payroll on a weekly basis – just because it is easier to reconcile/audit any certified payroll reports that you submit.

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About Your Host:

Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert


I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.


QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

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