As the summer construction season approaches, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development is once again highlighting the important role local governments and school boards play in protecting workers and expanding skilled apprenticeship programs through their obligations under the New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act and the Public Works Contractor Registration Act.

To safeguard workers and employers alike from unfair competition due to detrimental wage levels, the New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act (N.J.S.A. 34:11-56.25 et seq.) establishes a prevailing wage for workers engaged in public work, requiring the payment of minimum rates of pay to laborers, craftspeople and apprentices employed on public works projects. Workers covered under the act must receive the appropriate craft prevailing wage rate as determined by the commissioner of labor and workforce development.

“Just because the school year is behind us, doesn’t mean the laws get a summer break,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “The New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act helps ensure wage equity for all workers, during school holidays and throughout the year.”

NJDOL has been working closely with its partners at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the New Jersey Department of Education to provide information and guidance.

Public bodies should be aware of their responsibilities when working with contractors or subcontractors, including:

  • Ensuring all contracts for public work contain language advising of the Prevailing Wage Act and the Public Works Contractor Registration Act.
  • Confirming the appropriate prevailing wage determination(s) are contained within the contract between the public body and the general contractor.
  • Affirming weekly certified payrolls are submitted for all work performed subject to the NJPWA.
  • Consulting the NJDOL website before awarding a contract to ensure the contractor and any named subcontractors completed their Public Works Contractor Registration with the NJDOL and are not on the list of ineligible bidders by virtue of debarment or outstanding judgments.
  • Creating and maintaining a process for collecting certified payroll records that are accessible to the public and NJDOL for review.
  • In cases when the lowest bid for a contract for public work is at least 10% lower than the next lowest bid, ensuring that, before the contract is awarded, the lowest bidder submits written certification the contractor will pay all workers the prevailing wage rate.

Furthermore, in 2019 Gov. Phil Murphy signed A-3666 amending the Public Works Contractor Registration Act to mandate construction contractors performing public work participate in a USDOL Registered Apprenticeship program, a proven model for creating a skilled, dedicated workforce that also reinforces positivity in the workplace by allowing participants to earn a wage while training for their occupation.

Effective Aug. 15, contractors performing public work will be required to report certified payroll records via NJ Wage Hub. Both public works contractors and contracting public bodies are strongly encouraged to create accounts in advance of this date. More up-to-date information can be found in the N.J. Local Public Contracts Law and Regulation Reference Guide, updated as of April 2024.

As part of the department’s compliance assistance efforts, NJDOL has been actively working with leaders and members of more than a dozen municipal and school organizations to provide information through conferences, in-person meetings, and recorded webinars, including:

  • Governmental Purchasing Association of New Jersey.
  • Government Finance Officers Association of New Jersey.
  • New Jersey Conference of Mayors.
  • New Jersey Society of Municipal Engineers, Inc.
  • New Jersey Municipal Management Association.
  • Municipal Clerks Association of New Jersey.
  • New Jersey League of Municipalities.
  • New Jersey Association of Counties.
  • Rutgers University.
  • New Jersey Association of School Business Officials.
  • New Jersey School Boards Association.
  • New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association.
  • New Jersey Association of School Administrators.

For more information on New Jersey’s wage and hour laws, visit