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Unraveling the Manual: January's Guide to Clarity 2.1

Updated: Mar 30

Unraveling the Manual: January's Guide to Clarity 2.1

All workers on public projects over $1,000 must be paid at LEAST the general prevailing wage (CA Labor Code 1771). That’s right! This includes not just “employees” but anyone performing skilled or unskilled labor on a public works project.

The definition of a worker extends beyond contractual agreements.

CA Labor Code 1723’s definition of a worker includes “a laborer, worker, or mechanic.”

A standard dictionary definition of a “worker” is a person engaged in a particular field or activity.”

In Lusardi Construction Co. v. Aubry, the California Supreme Court interpreted CA Labor Code 1771 and found that “By its express terms, this statutory requirement is not limited to those workers whose employers have contractually agreed to pay the prevailing wage; it applies to all workers employed on public works.”

These protections are in place to ensure fair compensation for all labor on public works.

Of course this is just a brief summary of chapter 2.1, for more detailed information on the CA Public Works Manual, visit the official Department of Industrial Relations website at

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