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Assembly Bill 338 – Fuel Reduction Work Under Contract And Paid For Using Public Funds Is Subject To Prevailing Wage
The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in the Natural Resources Agency is required to administer fire prevention programs and activities and the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection is required to adopt regulations implementing minimum fire safety standards. Existing law requires that, except as specified, not less than the general prevailing rate of per diem wages, determined by the Director of Industrial Relations, be paid to workers employed on public works projects. Existing law defines the term “public works” for purposes of requirements regarding the payment of prevailing wages to include construction, alteration, demolition, installation, or repair work done under contract and paid for using public funds, except as specified.
Beginning July 1, 2026, AB 338 requires fuel reduction work, including, but not limited to, residential chipping, rural road fuel breaks, and firebreaks, done under contract and paid for in whole or in part out of public funds, as specified, to meet several standards. These standards include requirements that all workers performing work within an apprenticeable occupation in the building and construction trades be paid at least the general prevailing rate of per diem wages. All contractors and subcontractors are required to maintain payroll records pursuant to Labor Code Section 1776 of the Labor Code and contractors must be registered pursuant to Labor Code Section 1725.6 to bid on, be awarded contracts for, or engage in performance of, any fuel reduction work.
AB 338 authorizes the Labor Commissioner to enforce the requirement to pay prevailing wages. AB 338 specifies the type of work and contracts that are exempt from the prevailing wage requirements and standards.
(AB 338 adds Division 47 (commencing with Section 80200) to the Public Resources Code.)