Frequently Asked Questions on Certified Payroll Reporting

  1. Who must submit certified payroll records?
    All contractors and subcontractors working on public works projects (except for those listed below) must submit electronic certified payroll records to the Labor Commissioner. The Labor Commissioner has exempted the following projects from the requirement:

    (a) Projects monitored by the following legacy Labor Compliance Programs:
    • California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
    • City of Los Angeles
    • Los Angeles Unified School District
    • County of Sacramento
    (b) Projects covered by a qualifying project labor agreement.

    (c) Projects covered by the small project exemption. The small project exemption applies for all public works projects that do not exceed:
    • $25,000 for new construction, alteration, installation, demolition or repair  
    • $15,000 for maintenance
  2. Is the electronic certified payroll reporting system the only way to submit certified payroll records to the Labor Commissioner?
    Yes. All contractors must submit their certified payroll records to the Labor Commissioner using the DIR's online system. It offers two options for submitting certified payroll records: entering the information directly using the online form or uploading xml files.
  3. Is every company responsible for submitting its own payroll for each project on which it is working?
    Yes. Each contractor and subcontractor must submit certified payroll records directly to the Labor Commissioner using DIR's online system
  4. When/how frequently must the certified payroll records be submitted?
    Certified payroll records must be submitted at least monthly (within a month after the end of the payroll period) or more frequently if more frequent submission is required by the contract with the awarding body. The best practice is to submit the records weekly or at the conclusion of each payroll period.
  5. If the awarding body has not registered the project with the DIR, how can I submit my certified payroll records?
    Projects must be registered with the DIR using the PWC-100 form in order for contractors and subcontractors to submit certified payroll records for those projects. You should contact the awarding body to confirm that the project was registered. If the awarding body has not registered the project, you should ask it to complete the registration as soon as possible. If you have made this request, but the awarding body still has not registered the project, please contact the DIR for further assistance at
  6. If I am required to submit certified payroll records to a union, to the prime contractor, or to the awarding body or a Labor Compliance Program, do I still have to submit certified payroll records to the DIR?
    Yes. Submitting certified payroll records to other agencies does not fulfill the requirement to submit certified payroll records to the Labor Commissioner/DIR.
  7. How do I identify the public works project that I am working on (or will be working on) on the reports?
    Public works projects have a unique DIR Project ID, often referred to as the "PWC-100" number. Any registered project can be located in the DIR's searchable database of public works projects. Entering just a few pieces of information in the search tool should yield a list that includes your project.
  8. I am an owner/operator, sole proprietor, or business owner, and I do not receive payroll checks or pay myself an hourly salary. How do I handle certified payroll reporting for my own work, and how do I determine how much I am being paid for that work?
    Even if you are paid by salary, draw, or contract payments, you still should be able to provide the following information for any work you perform on public works projects: (a) your name, address, and SSN (or FEIN, if you have no SSN); (b) the work classification for your prevailing wage work; (c) the hourly rate for that classification; (d) the number of hours that you performed that work; and (e) the estimated amount paid to you for your labor for that work. To calculate how much you were paid for your own labor, subtract all your other expenses (including materials, pro rata share of business overhead, and payments to other workers or subcontractors) from the gross contract price. The net amount should be your labor cost, and it should be equal to or higher than the compensation required for your work classification (determined by multiplying your work hours by the applicable rates) in order to comply with prevailing wage requirements.
  9. Can I review the payroll record before I submit it?
    At any time before you sign the record, you can use the navigation tools to review and modify it. After the record is signed, you will no longer be able to access or change it.
  10. Can I view and print out all certified payroll records associated with a project?
    All electronic certified payroll records submitted to the DIR can be viewed and printed in fully redacted form after locating them with the certified payroll records search tool. If you would like to save or print an unredacted (complete) version of your own payroll record, you must click on the PDF icon that appears on the confirmation page. After you close that page, the unredacted version will no longer be available.
  11. Which information is redacted (omitted) from electronic certified payroll records that are available to the public?
    Full redaction removes all personal, identifiable employee information (name, address, phone number, and SSN) as well as the contractor's federal ID (FEIN) or SSN and email address.
  12. Can I change the date or make corrections to payroll records after I submit them? If not, can I delete the record?
    You cannot change or delete records that have already been submitted. However, you may correct errors by submitting a new record for the same pay period. The new or "amended" record for an employee will take precedence over the original record submitted. However, if you are only correcting the payroll of one or more employee/s, you do not need to re-submit the information for any employees whose information was entered correctly. And if you are adding payroll for one or more employee/s not in the original record, you do not need to resubmit payroll for all the other employees (unless there are errors in them that need correction). The original record will remain on file and will be visible along with all associated amendments when users viewing submitted payroll records select "Show Amendment." The payroll number will be modified to indicate the amendment (e.g.: original record # 15-0; amended record # 15-1).
  13. What happens if I mistakenly submitted payroll for a period in which no work was performed?
    If payroll was submitted for a period in which no work was performed, you may submit a Statement of Non-Performance for the same period. That Statement of Non-Performance will take precedence over the record submitted in error.

For more information and to find exact legal definitions and language please see the Public Works Chapter of the California Labor Code.

July 2016