Building success begins with understanding the highly-regulated construction environment in California.

Once you know the rules, you can build a successful business and have a rewarding career in the California construction industry.  Learn more on this page about Public Works, Licensing, Employment/Certification and Safety.

Contractors doing commercial work in California benefit from the training and information provided by all Builders Exchanges.  Looking for a contractor who takes their work seriously?  Look for a contractor who is a member of a Builders Exchange!

Public Works Labor Law

Public Works jobs have labor law requirements and compliance monitoring. You will lose your shirt if you don’t know what you’re doing!

Public works law requires contractors:

  • Register, qualify and pay an annual fee in order to bid public works jobs.  Click here to register or confirm you’re registered
  • Pay prevailing wages to their workers for the classification of work performed and submit certified payroll reports weekly
  • Hire apprentices, and prove attempt to hire if no apprentices are dispatched, at a specific ratio

Some jobs have additional requirements. Be aware that Public Works contractors are responsible for understanding Public Works labor law. Failure to follow the law will be expensive and may not be spelled out In all contract documents. Additional requirements could include:

  • Prequalify with the agency
  • Employ only workers who can prove their experience or prove they graduated from an approved apprenticeship program.
  • Abiding by a Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) with unions, which frequently require union-only contractors and/or labor hired from specific labor union halls.

California Builders Exchange members receive updates and training on Public Works Labor Law. If you have questions, consult the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Public Works Labor Law page, or your local Builders Exchange.

California Construction Compliance and Tips 

License Law:  Contractors are licensed for a specific scope of work (Classification).  Getting a license requires journeyman experience, fingerprinting, bonding and passing an exam.  Working out of your classification can result in disciplinary action.  Complete information is available at the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) website.


Electrical workers must be Certified Electricians or Electrician Trainees.  Find out more at the Electrical Certification web page
Lighting Controls require Lighting Control Acceptance Test Technician sign-off.  Find out more at the Energy Commission web page

Employment:  Here is a list of required Workplace Postings: Click here to go to the DIR web page with required postings

Wages:  The minimum wage in California is $10 effective 1/1/2016.  This means if you require workers to furnish their own tools they must be paid a minimum of $20 per hour, and non-exempt management must be paid a minimum of $41,600 per year.  Minimum wages will increase .50 on 1/1/2017 and increase $1 per hour every year thereafter up to $15.

Construction Worksite Safety & Cal/OSHA
When Cal/OSHA visits your website, know they will ask you for your Illness and Injury Prevention Plan (IIPP), your Heat Illness Prevention Plan, and there will be special attention paid to Regular Tailgate Safety Trainings, Confined Space and Temporary workers.

Look up Title 8 Safety Requirements by Topic:   Click here to go to the Safety Requirements web page

See list of topics frequently used in the Cal/OSHA recordkeeping process: Click here to see topics web page

Recordkeeping Requirements for employers and for your job site:  Click here to go to the Recordkeeping web page

Search the Title 8 Safety Requirements Index for the latest updates:  Click here to go to the Title 8 Index

From – Seyfarth Shaw LLP

California has many unique employment laws. The most prominent among them are the wage and hour laws, which differ significantly from federal laws and the laws in most other states:

  • California has daily overtime and double time and laws regarding meal and rest breaks. California courts have applied the state minimum wage law to invalidate many traditional piece-rate and commission plans.
  • California requires very detailed wage statements.
  • Employers cannot typically impose or enforce non-compete agreements or non-solicitation of customer provisions

California has employee-friendly provisions concerning:

  • overtime;
  • meal and rest periods;
  • vacation;
  • personal days/floating holidays;
  • sick leave (as of July 2015);
  • inspection/copies of personnel files;
  • family leave;
  • minimum wage;
  • wage statements;
  • wage theft notice;
  • mandatory anti-harassment and bullying training for supervisors;
  • mandated reimbursement for employee business expenses; and
  • pregnancy-related disability leave and reasonable accommodations.

In addition, California has many small necessities leave requirements for larger employers, which entitle employees to additional protected time off for various medical, family, and personal reasons.

California’s Private Attorney General Act allows employees to serve as “attorney general” in order to sue on behalf of the state and all affected employees. This makes class action and representative suits more common, because even small claims create significant economic incentives for plaintiffs.

Under Section 17200 of the Business and Professions Code, unfair business practices are banned. Further, the code extends many statutes of limitation—including wage claims—to four years.