Construction projects are set to begin all over the state next year as Illinois rolls out a $45 billion capital plan — the first of its kind in more than a decade. Contractors who do business with the state must comply with the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, and those who do not are subject to penalties.

As Illinois prepares to roll out a new $45 billion statewide construction program — the state’s first major capital investment in more than a decade — Comptroller Susana Mendoza is reminding workers and contractors that prevailing wage compliance is a priority for her office.

The comptroller signed an executive order in August committing her office to monitor state contracts for compliance with the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, provide support to the Illinois Department of Labor, and make more information available for the public online.

Prevailing wage is hourly rate of pay that contractors and vendors must offer their employees when they do business with the government on construction, printing and other projects. Prevailing wage rates are trade-specific and vary by county. In Illinois, contractors that fail to comply with prevailing wage rules could face penalties and be barred from future public works projects.

“The working men and women of Illinois fought for and secured a promise that they will be paid a prevailing wage on worksites across the state, and I will do my part to make sure that promise is honored,” Comptroller Mendoza said.

Executive Order 19–01 outlines steps the Comptroller’s office will take to ensure contractors comply with prevailing wage:­

- Monitor grants awarded for Rebuild Illinois and other public works programs

- Direct the Comptroller’s prevailing wage enforcement officer to address queries from labor about these contracts

- Maintain a prevailing wage inquiry form on the comptroller’s website

- Provide support to the Illinois Department of Labor, which has responsibility for investigating and enforcing compliance with the act

“Rebuild Illinois has the potential to change the landscape of Illinois,” Comptroller Mendoza said. “My office will do everything it can to lend support to the Department of Labor, bring more transparency to the construction program and hold state contractors accountable for paying fair wages.”

In less than a month since signing the executive order, the comptroller’s office received five inquiries about whether particular contractors are paying prevailing wages. The Comptroller’s prevailing wage compliance officer is reviewing the inquiries.

A decade ago, former Comptroller Dan Hynes issued a similar executive order but in the interim, it had gone largely unenforced. Hynes is now deputy governor. Comptroller Mendoza’s office expands on and reinforces Hynes’ effort.

Gov. JB Pritzker and the General Assembly fashioned the $45 billion Rebuild Illinois statewide construction plan to bring long-overdue public works projects to every corner of the state. The program is expected to support an estimated 540,000 direct and indirect jobs over six years, according to the governor’s office.

The comptroller’s office is a repository for all contractor and vendor information, such as contracts, payments and payroll, which makes the office a natural partner in helping the Illinois Department of Labor monitor prevailing wage compliance.

Before checks are issued from the state to pay for public works projects, the Illinois Office of Comptroller will ensure that documents are on file showing contractors are in compliance with the state’s Prevailing Wage Act (820 ILCS 130).

Joining Comptroller Mendoza for the executive order signing were several labor officials who reaffirmed their organization’s commitment to prevailing wage compliance, including Julie Vahling with the Illinois Department of Labor; Michael Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO; Michael Macellaio, president of the Illinois Prevailing Wage Council.

“This is so important to the men and women around Illinois who get up early every day to carefully build roads and new schools and operate heavy machinery, and who expect a fair wage to take care of their families,” Carrigan said.

Workers expect a fair wage so they can take care of their families, said Michael Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, during a news conference about prevailing wage compliance with Comptroller Susana Mendoza (left) on Aug. 13, 2019.


To complete a prevailing wage inquiry with the comptroller:

To view current prevailing wage rates:

To search for state contracts:

To view the comptroller’s prevailing wage executive order:­

Illinois Comptroller

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The official account for the Office of the Illinois State Comptroller and Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza. Follow us for Office services and #ILbudget updates.

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