Frequently Asked Questions about H.B. 3 and the Repeal of Kentucky’s Prevailing Wage Statutes
On January 7, 2017, Governor Matthew G. Bevin signed H.B. 3, which repealed Kentucky’s prevailing wage statutes. The final text of the bill, as passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Bevin, can be found here. The following information is provided as a courtesy to the public to address recurring questions that have arisen regarding H.B. 3. Additional questions regarding prevailing wage and H.B. 3 wage may be directed to the Labor Cabinet’s Division of Wages, Hours, & Mediation by calling (502) 564-3534. Please note, however, that the Labor Cabinet, including the Division of Wages, Hours, & Mediation, is not authorized to and does not provide legal advice to the public.

1. When did the repeal of Kentucky’s prevailing wage statutes take effect?

Because H.B. 3 contained a provision declaring an emergency to exist, the bill went into effect immediately upon being signed by Governor Bevin on January 7, 2017.

2. Does H.B. 3 apply retroactively so as to relieve the requirement to pay prevailing wage rates on public works projects that were awarded before January 7, 2017 and were subject to the prevailing wage?

No. As stated in Section 15, the repeal of prevailing wage requirements applies to public work projects for which bids had not been awarded as of the effective date of the Act, January 7, 2017. Accordingly, projects that were subject to the prevailing wage and had been awarded before January 7, 2017 must continue to pay prevailing wage rates.

3. If a project is currently out for bid, can the public agency re-bid the project without prevailing wage rates?

As stated in Section 15, if bids have been requested but not awarded, then the public authority may request a resubmission of bids to conform to the provisions of H.B. 3.

4. Does H.B. 3 affect projects that are required to pay prevailing wage rates under federal law?

No. H.B. 3 repealed Kentucky’s statutes pertaining to state prevailing wage requirements. Federal laws that require the payment of prevailing wages on federally funded public works projects are not affected by H.B. 3.

5. Does H.B. 3 repeal prevailing wage requirements for highway construction projects?

H.B. 3 repealed state prevailing wage requirements for public works projects, including highway construction projects that are funded entirely with state and/or local funds, as of the effective date of the Act. However, as mentioned above, H.B. 3 does not affect provisions and requirements set forth in federal law for the payment of prevailing wages.

WHAT IS PREVAILING WAGE?
Prevailing wage is the hourly base wage and fringe rate paid to workers, laborers and mechanics of each classification when working on public works projects that are estimated to cost more than $250,000.

Prevailing wage rates are established by either a) hearings conducted by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet per statute; or b) the US Department of Labor per the Davis-Bacon Act. Prevailing wage rates are required to be paid by all contractors and subcontractors working on public works projects.