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: Jobs Act
What is the 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.
Jobs Act Statute and Procedural Rule
Jobs Act §21-1C
Title 42 Procedural Rule Series 37