New Nevada Wage Laws Will Impact Public Works Contractors
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New Nevada Wage Laws Will Impact Public Works Contractors

Brownstein Client Alert, Dec. 7, 2023

Public works projects are a significant source of work for Nevada construction contractors. As the new year approaches, public works contractors will need to adjust their hiring and recordkeeping practices for each project to comply with two new legislative measures.

Assembly Bill 210 requires contractors to notify workers of the prevailing wage rate on a job and imposes new penalties on those that repeatedly and intentionally underpay workers. Senate Bill 82 revises public works staffing requirements to ensure apprentices work a certain percentage of hours across all public works performed throughout a calendar year instead of per project, mandates a “good faith effort” to comply with apprenticeship staffing requirements, and establishes penalties for noncompliance. Both bills go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

AB 210 requires a contractor on a public works project to provide a worker with written or electronic notice that contains the Nevada Labor Commissioner’s website where prevailing wage rates are posted and the contractor’s name and physical address. It also requires a contractor to obtain written acknowledgement of workers’ receipt of these notices and to maintain copies for two years. The amendments also provide for the payment of damages, without any exceptions, by contractors who repeatedly and willfully violate the prevailing wage laws, equal to the difference between the actual pay received and the prevailing wage amounts required to be paid.SB 82 revises the state’s Apprenticeship Utilization Act. Under the current act, which first came into effect in 2019, contractors must ensure that 3% of hours worked on horizontal projects and 10% on vertical projects within each apprenticed craft is performed by an apprentice on each public work. Apprentices must come from a program approved by the State Apprenticeship Council.

With the 2023 amendments, the scope of the act was broadened to include essentially every public works project. Contractors are additionally required to maintain the necessary apprenticeship percentages across all public works performed by each contractor throughout a calendar year instead of per project. A public works contractor must make a “good faith effort” to comply with the act’s prescribed apprenticeship percentages, by submitting requests to an apprenticeship program for the assignment of apprentices at specified time intervals over the life of public works projects.

The bill mandates contractors to enter into apprenticeship agreements for each type of apprentice required for public works projects. Relatedly, the bill works to encourage contractors to enter into collective bargaining agreements with unions by eliminating the apprenticeship agreement requirement for those that do. Failing to enter an apprenticeship contract when required is classified as having failed to make “good faith efforts” to comply with the act.

The bill also imposes significant recordkeeping requirements on contractors. Contractors must make annual reports to the Labor Commissioner describing various data for its public works projects to verify compliance with the act. If the Labor Commissioner finds the lack of a “good faith effort” to comply after considering these reports, financial penalties may be imposed on a contractor unless the required amount of apprenticeship hours is below a certain threshold. Failing to submit the required reports or failing to make any effort to comply with the act may result in serious repercussions: higher fines and a disqualification from future awards of public works contracts for a period of up to two years.

Public works contractors should review their hiring and recordkeeping practices for their public works projects to ensure appropriate practices are put into effect to comply with these new bills. Please reach out to one of the contributors to this alert if you would like assistance in implementing these statutory changes.

This document is intended to provide you with general information regarding AB 210 and SB 82 in Nevada. The contents of this document are not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you have any questions about the contents of this document or if you need legal advice as to an issue, please contact the attorneys listed or your regular Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP attorney. This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions. The information in this article is accurate as of the publication date. Because the law in this area is changing rapidly, and insights are not automatically updated, continued accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

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