As the unemployment rate in the State of West Virginia is significantly higher than most other states, the West Virginia Legislature enacted the West Virginia Jobs Act, which deems it necessary for those employers contracted to perform construction work on state funded public improvement projects, which equal or exceed $500,000.00 in cost, to hire 75% of their workers from the local labor market. The local labor market is defined as including every county within the State of West Virginia as well as any county outside of West Virginia, if any portion of that county is within 50 miles of the state border.
There are certain exclusions to this requirement, which includes an exemption for projects that contain any amount of federal funding as well as an allowance for out-of-state contractors to bring two (2) of their own employees from outside the local labor market to work on the project and still remain in compliance.
Frequently Asked Questions: WV Jobs Act
What is the West Virginia Jobs Act and what does it require?
The West Virginia Jobs Act applies to construction work relating to state funded public improvement projects within the state of West Virginia where the cost of the project equals or exceeds $500,000.00. The requirement is that any contractor working on such a project is to hire at least 75% of their employees from the local labor market.
If the public improvement project includes federal funding, does that have any effect on the requirements of the Jobs Act?
Yes it does. The requirements of the West Virginia Jobs Act does not apply to any project that includes any amount of federal funding.
What areas are considered to be within the local labor market?
The local labor market includes the entire state of West Virginia as well as all counties outside of West Virginia of which any part falls within fifty miles of West Virginia’s border. Maps are provided on the Division of Labor’s website that identifies those areas which are considered within the local labor market.
All of my employees live outside the local labor market area. Am I not allowed to use any employees of my own choosing to be in charge of the project?
Yes, each employer is allowed to utilize as many as two employees from outside the local labor market and still maintain compliance.
What are my options for hiring from the local labor market if my company is not from the area?
West Virginia’s Unemployment & Job Service agency, Workforce WV, is available to assist employers that need to hire from the local labor market.
How does a contractor apply for a waiver? Is that something the public authority can authorize?
Only Workforce West Virginia has the authority to issue a waiver allowing an employer to hire outside the local labor market. If Workforce is unable to supply a contractor with qualified employees within three business days, a waiver will be issued allowing the contractor to hire the number of employees requested from outside the local labor market. A waiver certificate will be issued to both the employer and the public authority.
Does the repeal of West Virginia’s prevailing wage law have any effect on the requirements of the West Virginia Jobs Act?
The only connection between the previous state prevailing wage requirements and the Jobs Act is that both requirements apply to public improvement projects. Therefore, the repeal of state prevailing wage requirements has no effect on the West Virginia Jobs Act.
West Virginia Jobs Act
WEST VIRGINIA CODE
WEST VIRGINIA JOBS ACT
§21-1C-1. Short title
This article shall be called the "West Virginia Jobs Act".
As used in this article:
(1) The term “commissioner” means the Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Labor, or his or her authorized representatives.
(2) The term “construction project” means any construction, reconstruction, improvement, enlargement, painting, decorating or repair of any public improvement let to contract in an amount equal to or greater than $500,000. The term “construction project” does not include temporary or emergency repairs;
(3) The term “domicile” or “primary residence” means an individual’s true, fixed, principal, and permanent home, to which he or she returns or intends to return, even though currently residing elsewhere. Presentation of a valid, government-issued identification card shall be conclusive proof of domicile.
(4) (A) The term “employee” means any person hired or permitted to perform hourly work for wages by a person, firm or corporation in the construction industry;
(B) The term “employee” does not include:
(i) Bona fide employees of a public authority or individuals engaged in making temporary or emergency repairs;
(ii) Bona fide independent contractors; or
(iii) Salaried supervisory personnel necessary to assure efficient execution of the employee’s work;
(5) The term “employer” means any person, firm or corporation employing one or more employees on any public improvement and includes all contractors and subcontractors;
(6) The term “local labor market” means every county in West Virginia, and any county outside of West Virginia if any portion of that county is within fifty miles of the border of West Virginia;
(7) The term “public authority” means any officer, board, commission or agency of the State of West Virginia and its subdivisions, including counties and municipalities. Further, the economic grant
committee, economic development authority, infrastructure and jobs development council and School
Building Authority shall be required to comply with the provisions of this article for loans, grants or bonds
provided for public improvement construction projects;
8) The term “public improvement” includes, the construction of all buildings, roads, highways, bridges,
streets, alleys, sewers, ditches, sewage disposal plants, waterworks, airports and all other structures that
may be let to contract by a public authority, excluding improvements funded, in whole or in part, by
§21-1C-4. Local labor market utilization on public improvement construction projects; waiver
a) Employers shall hire at least seventy-five percent of employees for public improvement construction
projects domiciled in the local labor market, to be rounded off, with at least two employees from outside
the local labor market permissible for each employer per project.
(b) Any employer unable to employ the minimum number of employees from the local labor market shall
inform the nearest office of Workforce West Virginia of the number of qualified employees needed and
provide a job description of the positions to be filled.
(c) If, within three business days following the placing of a job order, Workforce West Virginia is unable to
refer any qualified job applicants to the employer or refers less qualified job applicants than the number
requested, then Workforce West Virginia shall issue a waiver to the employer stating the unavailability of
applicants and shall permit the employer to fill any positions covered by the waiver from outside the local
labor market. The waiver shall be in writing and shall be issued within the prescribed three days. A waiver
certificate shall be sent to both the employer for its permanent project records and to the public authority.
§21-1C-5. Applicability and scope of article; reporting requirements.
(a) This article applies to expenditures for construction projects by any public authority for public
improvements as defined by this article.
(b) For public improvement projects let pursuant to this article, the public authority shall file, or require
an employer as defined in section two of this article to file, with the Division of Labor copies of the waiver
certificates and certified payrolls, pursuant to article five-a of this chapter, or other comparable
documents that include the number of employees, the county and state wherein the employees reside
and their occupation.
(c) The Division of Labor shall compile the information required by this section and submit it annually to
the Joint Committee on Government and Finance by the fifteenth day of October. The joint committee
may forward these reports to the Legislative Auditor to review and make comments regarding the
usefulness of the information collected and to suggest changes to the division's method of reporting to
ensure the information collected will prove useful in evaluating the effectiveness of the provisions of this
(d) Each public authority has the duty to implement the reporting requirements of this article. Every public
improvement contract or subcontract let by a public authority shall contain provisions conforming to the
requirements of this article.
(e) The Division of Labor is authorized to establish procedures for the efficient collection of data, collection
of civil penalties prescribed in section six of this article and transmittal of data to the Joint Committee on
Government and Finance.
§21-1C-6. Penalties for violation of article, notice of violations; administrative remedies.
(a) If, after inspection or investigation, the commissioner determines that an employer has violated any
provision of this article, the commissioner shall provide a written notice of violation to the employer and
the public authority, setting forth the number of violations, a description of every violation and the
amount of the penalty that will be imposed if the employer continues to violate any provision of this
article after receipt of the notice of violation, and shall direct the public authority to withhold final
payment to the employer until the employer has paid the penalty or the matter has been otherwise
(b) Any employer who violates any provision of this article is subject to a civil penalty of $250 per each
employee less than the required threshold of seventy-five percent per day of violation after receipt of a
notice of violation issued by the commissioner. This civil penalty terminates upon compliance or upon
issuance of a waiver by Workforce West Virginia.
(c) Any employer that continues to violate any provision of this article more than fourteen calendar days
after receipt of a notice of violation is subject to a civil penalty of $500 per each employee less than the
required threshold of seventy-five percent per day of violation. This civil penalty terminates upon
compliance or upon issuance of a waiver by Workforce West Virginia.
(d) All civil penalties paid pursuant to this section shall be paid to the commissioner and deposited in an
appropriated special revenue account hereby created in the State Treasury to be known as the “West
Virginia Jobs Act Fund” and expended for the implementation and enforcement of this article..
Jobs Act –List & Maps of Counties located within the Local Labor Market