Over the last several years, California has enacted ‘Skilled & Trained’ (S&T) Workforce requirements, which mandate that contractors working on specific types of projects employ a certain percentage of apprenticeship program graduates for those working in apprenticeable occupations.

A law that took effect last January upped the requirementson public work project types, including Best Value, Design-Build, and Lease-leaseback school projects.

Workers employed in an “apprenticeable occupation” on covered projects must either be a “skilled journeyperson” or an apprentice registered in an approved apprenticeship program. A “skilled journeyperson” is defined as either having already graduated from an approved apprentice program or has at least as many hours of approved on-the-job experience in the applicable occupation.

For 2019 the rules required at least 50 percent of workers on these type projects to be apprentice program graduates, moving up to 60 percent in 2020. There are penalties for non-compliance, starting with paperwork failures. All contractors must submit monthly reports which demonstrate compliance with the S&T workforce requirements. Awarding bodies may withhold up to 150 percent of monthly billing if a contractor fails to provide a “timely report” until a complete report is submitted. General contractors, under the new provisions, are allowed to withhold 150 percent of a progress payment from non-compliant subcontractors.

The penalty for false reporting can be a criminal charge of perjury, a felony in California, with a four-year maximum prison sentence.

It is crucial that contractors and subcontractors understand their obligations on S&T workforce projects and must create a plan for compliance that includes:

  • Update subcontracts to include both a copy of the Labor Code sections 2601-2603 and a declaration to be signed by the subcontractor that, under penalty of perjury, they meet the S&T rules.
  • Have in place procedures for monitoring subcontractor’s adherence to S&T workforce requirements and train your staff to enforce the new rules with your subs.
  • Prepare a standard form for the monthly report to be submitted to the public agency in compliance with the code.
  • Identify existing employees who meet the skilled journeyperson definition.
  • Recruit apprentice program graduates into your workforce.
  • Make sure current and newly hired apprentices are on a pathway towards apprenticeship graduate status.

There may be future expansion of these requirements as other public entities in our region begin to follow the trend. ECA’s Government Affairs Committee is on the case. If you have additional questions, get in touch with us at 714-937-5000, e-mail me at [email protected]

By Ray Baca Executive Director Email: [email protected]