Notice to Awarding Bodies and Contractors Regarding DIR's eCPR System

As of January 1, 2016, the California Labor Code’s Public Works laws require the following:

  • Awarding bodies must register all public works projects with the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), using the electronic form PWC-100.
  • Contractors and subcontractors must be registered with the DIR to:
  • Bid or be listed on a bid for a public works contract (with some exceptions for bids on federally funded projects and joint venture bids).
  • Work on a public works project awarded on or after April 1, 2015.*

    *Registration is not required to work on a project awarded before April 1, 2015.

Project and contractor registration requirements apply to all public works projects, as defined in the Labor Code, and all work performed on these projects that is subject to prevailing wage requirements under the Labor Code.

  • Contractors and subcontractors must submit certified payroll records to the Labor Commissioner using the DIR’s electronic certified payroll reporting (eCPR) system. As of January 1, 2016, this requirement applies to all contractors and subcontractors, registered or unregistered, on all public works projects, old or new, except
    1. Projects by one of the four agencies with legacy labor compliance programs (Caltrans, City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District, and County of Sacramento), and
    2. Projects covered by a qualifying project labor agreement.

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DIR has been building, expanding, and upgrading IT systems to accommodate all these requirements and to make the registration and reporting forms as easy to use as possible. This is a work in progress, but it is getting ongoing priority attention from the Department.

I. Awarding Bodies and the PWC-100 Project Registration Form

There is a long-standing legal requirement that awarding bodies notify DIR of larger public works projects (over $30,000) within five days of the award of the project. SB 854 expanded this requirement to cover all public works projects (over $1,000) under the Labor Code. Most awarding bodies comply with this requirement, but some still do not.

  • Projects must be registered in order for contractors and subcontractors to furnish certified payroll records to the Labor Commissioner using the eCPR system.
  • Awarding bodies that fail to register a project or that delay registration may jeopardize their ability to receive state funding for that project.
  • DIR recognizes that the current PWC-100 form is based on a single contracting model and that some of the information may not apply to other contracting models or that awarding bodies may not have all the information requested. However, please note the following:
  • Awarding bodies only need to provide the information available at the time the project is registered.
  • Awarding bodies can amend the form later.
  • DIR is in the process of redesigning the form to make it easier to use and to integrate it with DIR’s other public works registration and reporting systems.

II. Awarding Bodies, Contractors and Subcontractors, and the Electronic Certified Payroll Reporting System

DIR implemented a redesigned eCPR system in June 2015 (changing from .pdf file uploads to data reporting). The system was upgraded shortly after the initial rollout, with the ability to print payrolls and search previously submitted eCPRs. It will be upgraded again in early January 2016, adding the ability for the subcontractor to associate a payroll with the general contractor with whom they are contracted.

Another upgrade is underway that will address a number of issues encountered in utilizing the current system. In particular, the system will have log-on capability. With this functionality, general contractors and subcontractors can log onto the system and access data (payroll reports). We expect this upgrade to be completed before the end of 2016.

As DIR works on these system upgrades, we have heard about some of the following problems:

  • Contractors and subcontractors are unable to submit eCPRs because awarding bodies have not registered the projects with DIR (on the PWC-100).
  • Contractors and subcontractors are having difficulty submitting complete or accurate eCPRs because of problems with the current form or problems in getting the DIR system to accept data from their own payroll software.
  • Some awarding bodies and prime contractors may be penalizing contractors or subcontractors by withholding progress payments when inaccurate or incomplete information shows up on DIR’s eCPR system or when a subcontractor initially has difficulty in filing eCPRs on DIR’s system.

DIR does not want contractors to be penalized just because they are having some difficulty using DIR’S eCPR system. Although we do not in any way want to discourage awarding bodies and contractors from fulfilling their responsibility to monitor and enforce compliance with prevailing wage laws, we ask that they refrain from basing decisions solely on what they observe in DIR’s eCPR database, while DIR is still in the process of fully developing that system.

Here are some Do's and Don'ts:

  • Awarding bodies and contractors: DO verify that contractors and subcontractors meet the public works contractor registration requirements by checking DIR’s public works contractor database. If someone is not registered, ask them to register before entering into a contract with them. If they say they are registered but do not appear in the database, ask whether they registered under a legal name that is different from their trade name.
  • Awarding bodies: DO register your public works projects, using the PWC-100. If you forgot to register a project when the contract was awarded, register it NOW.
  • Awarding bodies and contractors: DO NOT use DIR’s eCPR system as the only evidence of whether a contractor or subcontractor is complying with certified payroll reporting requirements until the system has been fully developed. Check first to determine whether the contractor or subcontractor is maintaining the certified payroll records required by the Labor Code, but having difficulty using or uploading correct information to DIR’s eCPR system. If they are having this sort of difficulty, give them a reasonable opportunity to address the problem, while verifying, through other information available to you, that the contractor or subcontractor is meeting prevailing wage obligations.

December 2015