FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2011-27
December 12, 2011

CONTACT:
Erika Monterroza
Dean Fryer
(510) 286-1161

Internet: www.dir.ca.gov


DIR establishes special unit to monitor labor standards on California’s public works projects

Oakland—The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) today announced the launch of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement’s (also known as the California Labor Commissioner’s) Compliance Monitoring Unit (CMU). The unit will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the State’s prevailing wage laws on state bond-funded public works projects in California.

The CMU’s role includes the review of certified payroll records, verification that workers on the projects are paid correctly, and enforcement of pay, overtime, record-keeping and hours limitation requirements. The unit will begin operations January 1, 2012.

“The funds that pay for California’s infrastructure come from hard working taxpayers, and the agencies that hire contractors to build the infrastructure have a responsibility to see that these funds are spent wisely and to the letter and spirit of their intent,” said DIR Director Christine Baker. “The CMU will provide a greater level of monitoring over contractors and the money spent on workers who build schools, roadways, bridges, water treatment plants, and other public works projects.”

The CMU will monitor and enforce compliance on construction projects that are funded in whole or in part by State bonds, as well as on other projects undertaken by local governments using special procurement processes.

“We are committed to smart, effective enforcement that identifies and corrects violations during the life of a publicly funded project," said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. “The CMU was developed to better fulfill the State's commitment to enforcing prevailing wage laws. Reviews of certified payroll records for public works projects will be coupled with full audits and on-site inspections where necessary, to protect the workers and the honest employers of California."

Informational seminars and webinars on public works projects and requirements of the CMU are scheduled throughout the State to ensure that the cities, counties, districts, and other state and local agencies whose projects will be subject to monitoring  understand their responsibilities under the new program. The first seminar is scheduled on Wednesday, January 4 at the Elihu Harris State Building in Oakland. Seating is limited and registration is now open to the public. Additional seminars will be scheduled soon.

DIR has also scheduled training seminars and webinars for construction contractors on submitting certified payroll records through the Department’s new electronic reporting system and on how to comply with the State’s labor laws. A full list of training sessions scheduled next month is now available at www.dir.ca.gov/cmu.
The implementation of CMU began two years ago following the 2009 enactment of SBX2-9.   The program was slated to launch in August of 2010 but was withdrawn after issues were raised concerning how bond funds would be used to pay for the monitoring. Those issues were resolved with legislation (AB 436) that was signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on September 30, as well as amendments to departmental regulations which were approved for filing with the Secretary of State on December 7. The new law and regulations will take effect on January 1, 2012, which is the scheduled launch date for the CMU program. 

Legislation signed by Governor Brown provides that the maximum charges will be substantially less than local agencies have customarily paid for required labor compliance programs on many public works projects.

“California’s economy is greatly affected by the construction industry and public works projects,” added Baker. “For the well-being of all of California, it is imperative that contractors comply with the public works laws that are set in place. The CMU will see that this is carried out efficiently.”

In preparing for the implementation of the CMU program, DIR and the Labor Commissioner’s office sought input from many stakeholders and other interested persons. A pilot project was conducted with the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District to determine some of the best practices to incorporate in the monitoring program.

For more information about the Compliance Monitoring Unit and SBX2-9/AB 436 visit our Web site at www.dir.ca.gov/cmu. To learn more about the functions of the California Labor Commissioner, visit our Web site at www.dir.ca.gov/dlse. Employees with work-related questions or complaints may call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at
(866) 924-9757.

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