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
CHAPTER 21. LABOR.
ARTICLE 1C. 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 "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;
(2) (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;
(3) The term "employer" means any person, firm or corporation employing one or more employees on any public improvement and includes all contractors and subcontractors;
(4) 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;
(5) 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;
(6) 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 federal funds.
§21-1C-3. Legislative findings; statement of policy.
The Legislature finds that the rate of unemployment in this state is significantly higher than that of most other states and that a majority of most other states and that a majority of West Virginia counties are designated as labor surplus areas by the United States Department of Labor. The Legislature finds that the employment of persons from outside the local labor market on public improvement construction projects contracted for and subsidized by the taxpayers of the state contributes significantly to the rate of unemployment and the low per capita income among qualified state residents who would otherwise be hired for these jobs. Therefore, the Legislature declares that residents of local labor markets should be employed for the construction of public improvement projects which directly utilize taxpayer funding, in whole or in part.
§21-1C-4. Local labor market utilization on public improvement construction projects; waiver certificates.
(a) Employers shall hire at least seventy-five percent of employees for public improvement construction projects from 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 the bureau of employment programs' division of employment services 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, the division is unable to refer any qualified job applicants to the employer or refers less qualified job applicants than the number requested, then the division shall issue a waiver to the employer stating the unavailability of applicant and shall permit the employer to fill any positions covered by the waiver from outside the local labor market. The waiver shall be either oral or 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 article.
(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.
Any employer who violates any provision of this article is subject to a civil penalty of one hundred dollars per day of violation.
WV Jobs Act - Labor Market Coverage Area & Maps