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What Is Certified Payroll And What You Should Know

Posted by Leslie Ruhland on Jun 20, 2019 10:17:00 PM
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All payroll is not created equal. This is especially true of certified payroll for government contracts and public works projects. 



So, what is certified payroll? A brief explanation is found on the State of California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) website:

"Contractors and subcontractors on most public works projects are required to submit certified payroll records (CPRs) to the Labor Commissioner using DIR's electronic certified payroll reporting system."

That's fine, but a bit brief and high-level, so let's take a deeper look at certified payroll.

What Is Certified Payroll?

At its most basic level, a certified payroll is a company's accounting of everything paid out on a contract performed for a government client. It is a detailed record that records hours worked, the wages paid to each employee, and the jobs those employees performed.

The primary purpose is to provide the government with a method of oversight to guarantee that its contractors compensate employees "prevailing wages" in accordance with requirements.These are typically the average wages paid for a given job in a particular local area such as a county or large metro area.

The legislation under girding these requirements is known as the Davis-Bacon Act and Related Acts. This bill became law in 1931 under President Herbert Hoover when labor fairness legislation created the prevailing wage system as well as the certified payroll framework.

According to the Department of Labor,

"The Davis-Bacon Act applies to contractors and subcontractors performing work on federal or District of Columbia contracts. The Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage provisions apply to the “Related Acts,” under which federal agencies assist construction projects through grants, loans, loan guarantees, and insurance.

Since then, many states have adopted similar legislation. Therefore, construction companies looking to perform government work should prepare for navigating the intricacies of this process."

It's not unusual for certified payrolls to be a subset of a construction company’s normal payroll. In fact, it can often only pertain to just one job, usually a government contract or public works project. And these unique payrolls require their own reports.


7 points to consider about payroll in the construction industry


Certified payroll reports are special payroll reports that contractors who work on public works or government funded construction projects must file on a weekly basis. This type of payroll requires a specialized process involving the input of a date and job code with each entry. This is used to generate a report, in a specified format, of hours worked and labor costs for a particular job.

The report presents data on a daily basis for a period of one week. Multiple reports may occur within the same payroll cycle and a single certified payroll report may span into two payroll dates. The regulations state that all of the items listed below to complete a certified payroll report, all of which is set out in the federal WH-347 form

  • The name and ID number of every employee who works on site.
  • Each employee’s job classification (e.g. carpenter, electrician, etc.).
  • The number of hours each employee worked, including overtime.
  • Every employee’s rate of pay based on the prevailing wage, including fringe benefits (or cash paid in lieu of fringe benefits).
  • Every employee’s gross amount earned.
  • Every employee’s deductions or withholdings.
  • Every employee’s net wages paid.

free workforce management guide

Getting Professional Help - The Smart Certified Payroll Approach

All companies have a responsibility to pay their employees correctly and on time each payroll cycle. This is easy to achieve with Accuchex Payroll Management Services and Time2Pay, our proprietary payroll management software and payroll processing software.

We have proven experience in payroll management services and you can expect the highest quality certified payroll management services from Accuchex. We offer our services in the California Bay area – including North Bay, South Bay and East bay, and San Francisco.

Accuchex has considerable experience and knowledge in processing and reporting certified payrolls. We have been a leading provider in certified payroll management services for many years. We have proven experience in payroll management services and you can expect the highest quality certified payroll management services from Accuchex.

Supporting Your HR Management Best Practices

Accurate and timely management and compliance practices are required for HR professionals in every business. This is especially true for tasks such as certified payroll. Maintaining this can be challenging, but there are options.

Accuchex is a reputable workforce management services provider and can not only assist you with the burden of your ongoing compliance demands, but can potentially prove to be a more cost-effective solution, as well.

Click the button below to learn what how we can help you certified payroll management best practices. For more immediate information, feel free to call Accuchex Payroll Management Services at 877-422-2824.


Have additional questions about certified payroll? Download our free  construction payroll guide.


Topics: payroll process, HR compliance, Certified payroll, Certified Payroll Software, Certified Payroll Services

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