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OR Considering Construction Wage Protection

Monday, March 5, 2018

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In a move to protect construction contractors from wage theft, the Oregon House passed a bill that would require a general contractor to pay wages owed by a delinquent subcontractor if certain conditions are met.

Representative Julie Fahey, who was behind garnering support for House Bill 4154B, told local news station KTVZ that the goal of the bill was to protect wages for workers in the construction industry by adding accountability under certain circumstances.

“When workers aren’t paid what they have earned, it hurts workers and their families,” Fahey said. “It also hurts our local economies and reduces tax revenue.”

The legislation passed 31-26 and is set to go to the state’s Senate for consideration.

Wage Protection

If legislation passes the Oregon Senate, a contractor would have to pay a claim under the conditions that:

  • A claim has been filed with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries for wages, overtime pay or benefits;
  • The claim was investigated and found valid;
  • The wages cannot be collected from the subcontractor; and
  • The general contractor has not already fully paid the subcontractor whatever is owed under that specific project.
johnrosman, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a move to protect construction contractors from wage theft, the Oregon House passed a bill that would require a general contractor to pay waged owed by a delinquent subcontractor if certain conditions are met.

If the general contractor has given the subcontractor what was owed, they are not liable for unpaid wages or benefits on part of the subcontractor.

From 2015-17, there were over 500 wage claims in the construction industry in Oregon, according to the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industry. In 2016-17, the bureau collected more than $600,000 in unpaid wages.

California Bill

Similarly, in the state of California passed legislation earlier this year that requires contractors to pay valid wage claims whether or not the subcontractor has been paid in full. The law does allow for general contractors to withhold payment from subcontractors until documentation of payment to employees have been provided.

Wages claimed under the new California law had to be for projects started after Jan. 1.


Tagged categories: Construction; General contractors; Government; Subcontractors

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