Wage forms move online
- By Brian Robinson
- Sep 25, 2001
Washington state's Department of Labor and Industries has moved the filing
of "prevailing wage" forms online, expecting to reduce a process that takes
a minimum of two weeks to one that will take no more than 48 hours.
Public works contractors in Washington have to pay prevailing wages
based on surveys conducted by the departmentas a way of protecting
workers from substandard earnings and to preserve local wage standards.
Contractors first have to file an "intent" form that establishes the
wages they will pay their workers. At the end of a job, they file an "affidavit"
form to certify that those wages were, in fact, paid. The contractors receive
initial and final payments from the state only after those forms are filed,
and they are levied a $500 fine per form if they don't file.
The new online process is a part of Washington's push for e-government
and takes advantage of the public-key infrastructure the state installed
last year. To participate, contractors have to obtain a digital certificate
through the state's Transact Washington site (transact.wa.gov).
They can then send a completed form via the Prevailing Wage Intents and
Affidavits Electronic Filing System (www.lni.wa.gov/prevailingwage/PWIA). Contractors receive notification via
e-mail indicating whether their filing has been approved.
Forms filed electronically can be viewed and downloaded by government
agencies, contractors and the public.
However, the process is not mandatory for contractors that do business
with the state.
"Some contractors file many forms with us, but some will only file several,"
said Lynn Downey, a research analyst in the department's prevailing wage
section. "Those who file only a few might not find it worthwhile to use
this electronic process."
The new process also enables contractors to pay filing fees of $25 for
each form by credit card, the first time the department has offered such
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.