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How to File a Wage Complaint

Rights of workers on public works projects

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  • Expand/collapse Is the worker protected by law?

    The Public Works Act is a worker protection law where the worker, not the employer, is the beneficiary. It provides for minimum wage rates that must be paid to workers on public works construction projects, so that any incentives to reduce wages to benefit the employer are removed.

  • Expand/collapse Do prevailing wages need to be posted at the work site?

    For projects over $10,000, Intent forms listing the labor classifications and wages used on the project must be posted for the employees' inspection at the job site. On road construction, sewer line, pipeline, transmission line, street or alley improvement projects, the employer may post this form at the nearest local office, gravel crushing, concrete or asphalt batch plant, as long as the employer provides a copy of the Intent form to the employee upon request. In the event that the Intent form has not been approved by L&I before work begins, the complete listing of prevailing wage rates for that county may be posted and distributed in lieu of the approved Intent form.

  • Expand/collapse What information should be provided on the worker's check stubs?

    Washington employment law requires the employer to provide, with each worker's paycheck, an itemized statement showing time worked, rates of pay, gross wages and listing all deductions.  The worker should not have to ask for this; it should be provided with each paycheck. 

  • Expand/collapse Are there other records that an employer must keep?

    The employer must keep other records in addition to the "check stub" information regarding workers' deductions. Certified Payroll records must be kept for each worker showing the name, address, Social Security number, trade or occupation, straight time rate, hourly rate of usual benefits and overtime hours worked each day and week, including agreements to work up to 10-hour days, and the actual rate of wages. These records must be kept by the employer for three (3) years upon completion of the project. Certified copies of those payroll records must be submitted within ten days of receiving a written request from any interested party.

  • Expand/collapse Who can file a wage claim/complaint?

    Anyone, not just a worker, may file a complaint. This involves filling out a form and providing information showing work hours and rates of pay. Complaints filed after retainage has been released may be investigated by the department.


For more details about rights of workers on public works jobs,

See these State Laws (RCWs):
- RCW 39.12.010 (4), RCW 39.12.020, RCW 39.12.065.
See these Agency Rules (WACs):
- WAC 296-127-320, WAC 296-126-040.
See these agency documents:
Acrobat PDF file Certified Project Payroll form
Acrobat PDF file Complaint Report/Wage Claim Form.

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