New apprenticeship regulations, which would dramatically alter the obligations of public works contractors on California prevailing wage jobs, were placed on hold on September 20, 2021 after three employer associations filed a Petition in Sacramento County Superior Court alleging the regulations violated the Labor Code and judicial precedent. Had the proposed regulations taken effect on October 1st as planned, they would require public works contractors to meet their apprenticeship hiring obligations by finding apprenticeship programs with published standards matching the work processes performed on the site of construction.
As apprenticeship training program standards are not publicly available, contractors would be at risk of violating the regulations the first day they took effect. The regulations would disrupt current hiring practices and could force contractors to have apprentices registered in one craft or trade supervised by journeyworkers in entirely distinct crafts or trades in violation of the California Prevailing Wage Law.
For now, the challenged regulations will not take effect (if at all) until further judicial review scheduled for December 17, 2021. In the interim, public works contractors should continue to meet apprenticeship requirements, including providing notice of contract award, requesting dispatch of apprentices in the required ratios, and properly supervising apprentice work as they have in the past matching the journeyworker trade or craft on the site of construction with the trade or craft to which the apprentice is registered. The court case is captioned as Construction Employers’ Association v. California Apprenticeship Council, et al., Case No. 2021 CV 80023714 and can be monitored through the public access site on the Sacrament County Superior Court website.