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Ask Ed: Are Apprenticeship Rules Required in California Public Works Contracting?


In CA Public Works construction contracts, there is a legislated requirement that the workforce must include apprentices. This is an important point to understand for contractors who have never worked on a public works construction project. Failure to abide by those requirements will result in significant fines when monitored by the State Department of Labor.

The requirement states that for every five (5) hours of construction trades worked, there must be one hour of apprentice labor. In other words, 20% of the total hours worked on the project must be paid to apprentices. Furthermore, the only apprentices allowed to be employed on the project must be registered in an approved apprenticeship program.  

Currently the only apprenticeship programs approved by the State Labor Department are listed in the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) website. For any non-union contractor wishing to hire apprentices, be sure to check the DIR website for an approved program.

Written by:

Ed Duarte, Norcal PTAC Construction & Public Works Specialist

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