Prevailing Wage

What is the Prevailing Wage?


The law establishes certain standards in order to protect similarly employed U.S. workers from being adversely affected by the employment of the non-immigrant workers, as well as to protect H-1B and E-3 non-immigrant workers. Employers must attest to the Department of Labor (DOL) that they will pay wages to the H-1B or E-3 non-immigrant workers that are:
  1. t least equal to the actual wage paid by the employer to other workers with similar experience and qualifications for the job in question, OR
  2. the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment 
Once the actual wage and prevailing wage are determined, the law requires the employer to pay either the actual or prevailing wage - whichever is greater.

To determine the prevailing wage, IFSS will evaluate the duties and responsibilities of the position, as well as the minimum requirements for the job as stated in your position description. The hiring units, in consultation with the supervisor, will suggest a Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code that fits the position. You may also use O*Net to help identify an appropriate SOC code (type in a keyword in the search bar and it will provide you with a list of SOC codes that match).

FSS will review that suggestion or work with the hiring unit to find an appropriate SOC. Then IFSS will look at DOL wage data to determine the wage for each work location where your employee is working (including regular remote worksites, such as home locations). NOTE: new DOL wage data is available every July 1. Wage data can go up for some codes and it can go down for others.

Legal Citation: 20 CFR § 656.40