“The Bacon Davis Act” sets prevailing wages for federal contractor jobs, and the Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Law (G.L. c. 149, §§ 26 – 27,) sets wages for certain jobs involving the state or local governments. Under this law, payments by employers to health and welfare plans, pension plans and supplemental unemployment benefit plans under collective bargaining agreements or understandings between organized labor and employers are included in the wage rates.
Prevailing wage applies equally to unionized and non-unionized workers. All employees who perform work on a public works project must be paid the rate per hour according to the schedule issued for the particular project.
This is significant for workers injured on prevailing wage job-site. Normally, an injured workers’ average weekly wage is determined by the prior 52 weeks worked; however, if an employee is injured on a prevailing wage job, the prior 52 weeks worked is not an accurate representation of the injured employee’s potential earning. For Union employee’s this is important due to the fact that their benefits package is not normally a part of the calculations of their average weekly wage; except when working on a prevailing wage job-site.
For non-union employee’s this is important due to the fact that non-union employees are usually paid significantly more while they are working on a prevailing wage job and would be entitled to a larger average weekly wage.
If injured on a prevailing wage job-site an injured worker could be owed significantly more than he or she would on an ordinary job site.