A “prevailing wage” is a rate of pay determined by government authorities to be the norm in a particular geographic area for a given class of labor and type of project. Prevailing wage determinations are made using local data and are equivalent to union rates in most areas. Prevailing minimum wages, on the other hand, tend to track statutory minimum wages in a geographic area. The California Department of Industrial Relations determines prevailing wages.
When the director of the California Department of Industrial Relations determines that the general prevailing rate of per diem wages for a particular craft, classification, or type of worker is uniform throughout an area, the director issues a determination enumerated county by county, but covering the entire area. General determinations are issued twice a year: February 22 and August 22.