March 11, 2019
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Labor & Industries announces emergency change to prevailing wage for landscapers

To address sudden unexpected increases in costs for lawn mowing and other landscape maintenance, the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has filed an emergency rule effective today, regarding the prevailing wage for landscape construction and maintenance workers.

A law passed in 2018 raised the prevailing wage for this group from a low of around $13 an hour up to $50 an hour or more in some instances. This job category included higher-rate landscape construction work (like spreading top soil, seeding, planting and installing sprinkler systems), along with simpler landscape maintenance like lawn mowing and trimming.

Local government agencies and landscape contractors expressed concern about the unexpected increase in cost for landscape maintenance under the new prevailing wage law. In February, the Association of Washington Cities requested L&I undertake rulemaking to separate out landscape maintenance work from the traditionally higher-paid landscape construction work.

"L&I heard those concerns and has moved ahead with an emergency rule," the department announced today.

The emergency rule breaks out landscape maintenance work into a separate category, and allows for a rate of pay that is commensurate with those specific job duties; the rule maintains the existing prevailing wage for landscape construction activities.

The updated prevailing wage rates resulting from the emergency rule became effective today.

You can see the new rates at www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/PrevWage/WageRates/default.asp.



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