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Singleton Bill to Help Strengthen Prevailing Wage Clears Committee

Troy Singleton

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton which would allow the issuing of stop-work orders for failure to pay the prevailing wage cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.

“Before all else, we must protect the rights of the men and women who are working hard each and every day to earn a decent and fair living,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “New Jersey has set a high standard for how we treat our workers, and if you contract with the State on public works projects, you must be prepared to abide by that standard.”

The bill, S-2557, would permit the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to issue a stop-work order against an employer upon determining that an employer has paid a worker less than the prevailing wage.  The stop-work order would apply to every site where the violation continues to occur.  It could only be lifted by the commissioner if the Department finds the employer has agreed to pay future wages at the required rate, return any back-wages owed to workers and pay any penalty assessed by the Department.  The commissioner may require the employer to file periodic reports for two years certifying its compliance with the prevailing wage law as a condition of lifting the order.

Under the bill, the commissioner would be allowed to investigate the wage records of an employer in the construction industry upon the complaint of an employee for failure to pay required wages and contributions.  The commissioner would be permitted to issue subpoenas in connection with the investigation and fine individuals who willfully hinder it.

If an employer does not stop business despite being issued a stop-work order, the commissioner would be permitted to assess a civil penalty of $5,000 per day.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 11-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.