The Minnesota Prevailing Wage Act, Minn. Stat. 177.41 – 177.44, requires that employees working on public works be paid the “real value of the services they perform.” Accordingly, Minnesota requires that “laborers, workers, and mechanics on projects financed in whole or part by state funds should be comparable to wages paid for similar work in the community as a whole.” In short, employers working on a covered project must classify each employee into one of the pre-designated job labor code and class. For example, the commercial labor codes and classes can be found here for Hennepin County effective 12-21-2015 and revised 3-14-2016. What if a contractor’s job title is not listed? The State of Minnesota provides a simple one-page form to ask the State for its opinion.
The form, Classification Clarification Request, can be found on the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry’s website and, while the simple one page request seems harmless, it is anything but. Contractors should keep in mind that when you submit MNDOLI’s Classification Clarification Request form, generally, you are going to be stuck with the answer you get. In other words, it is not something that should be taken lightly, and you should do your homework ahead of time – this is more like an argument than a request. The tasks and tools used should most closely match your suggested classification, otherwise, MNDOLI’s answer may not match your own and then you are stuck with an adverse determination, opening the door for a dispute over the proper payment of prevailing wages. Keep in mind that Minnesota Administrative Rules 5200.1000 – 5200.1120 sets forth MNDOLI’s rules relating to the procedures for prevailing wage determinations, including job classification descriptions for laborers and special crafts. If your duties match one of these descriptions very closely, don’t be surprised when that is the suggested classification – even if different than what you use in another state or on a Davis-Bacon (Federal) prevailing wage project.