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DWD withholds penalties for wage reports

By Paul Snyder

The state will not penalize contractors that fail to comply with the Department of Workforce Development’s new prevailing-wage reporting requirements, said Dane County Circuit Court Judge John Markson.

The suspension of enforcement will continue until April 19, when Markson is expected to grant or reject the Associated Builders & Contractors of Wisconsin Inc.’s request for an injunction to block enforcement of the law, Markson said after a scheduling conference Wednesday between state and ABC attorneys.

A dispute broke out Tuesday after ABC announced state attorneys had agreed to suspend the reporting requirement. According to a follow-up press release DWD posted on its Web site, the agency does not have the authority to suspend the requirement, and reports are still due Sunday.

But at Wednesday’s conference, attorneys from both sides told Markson they are finalizing an agreement that would not use the word “suspension.” Attorneys said the agreement would indicate DWD will not enforce penalties and will help companies struggling to compile prevailing-wage reports.

Markson said he would sign the agreement Thursday morning, and DWD will then post a notice on its Web site about the judicial review.

Doug Witte, the attorney representing ABC, said the association wants the judge’s signed order posted on the DWD Web site to alleviate any confusion among contractors about whether they have to provide reports by Sunday.

But Assistant Attorney General Steven Kilpatrick opposed that request.

“Whatever the DWD posts will be in compliance with the judge’s order,” he said during the conference.

The state’s new prevailing-wage law went into effect Jan. 1 and requires companies prove they are paying prevailing wages to employees working on state and local government public works projects valued at $25,000 or more.

The statute on reporting requires contractors provide their names, the type of work performed by every employee on a prevailing-wage project, an accurate record of all hours worked and the wages paid for that work.

But DWD’s reporting spreadsheet, which was finalized last month, contains 50 fields for contractors to complete, including requests for Social Security numbers, straight and overtime hours for each day, weekly wage and hour totals, union status and union affiliation.

ABC last week filed a request the injunction against the law, arguing the requirements go beyond state requirements.

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