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Skilled Wage Rate Process

Per the terms of the apprentice contract, employers must compensate registered apprentices according to a progressively increasing schedule of wages consistent with their acquired skills, competency, and experience. DWD 295.02(2)(b)7, 14. The adequacy of an apprentice wage scale is determined by comparison with current skilled wage rate in the geographical area of the local committee. DWD 295.05(1). Employers may compensate apprentices above the skilled wage rate and are encouraged to do so.

Union or Non-Union

In the construction sector, if an apprentice is subject to a collective bargaining agreement, the rate specified in the agreement is the skilled wage rate.

For apprentices not covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the skilled wage rate is based on the average rate paid to journeyworkers within the geographical area of the local apprenticeship committee. DWD 295.05(2).

Non-Union Skilled Wage Rate Guidance

To assist in determining the skilled wage rate for non-union construction apprentices, the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS) has compiled a series of datasets and maps using state wage data. For more information about this process and how it differs from prior years, reference the skilled wage rate memorandum.

The rates posted in the guidance maps are based on the best available statistical data. These rates are to be used as a benchmark for local programs in setting their own wage rates. BAS will generally not approve a skilled wage rate more than 20% below the posted guidance rate. DWD 295.05(2).

Setting a Skilled Wage Rate

Using the guidance maps, local apprenticeship committees must set a skilled wage rate for the non-union construction apprentices for each occupation within their program through the following process:

  1. October 2, 2023: Review rate maps. Questions about the criteria used to set the wage rate scale should be forwarded to BAS by emailing before November 1, 2023.
  2. By November 1, 2023: Affected employers, employer organizations, or local apprenticeship committee members must submit any questions or concerns about the wage rates or criteria used to BAS by emailing
    1. If local apprenticeship committees are considering whether to set a rate different than what is in wage map, notify BAS about scheduling a meeting by emailing by November 1, 2023.
    2. If BAS does not receive concerns from affected employers, employer organizations, or local apprenticeship committee members by October 1, 2023, no additional action is required. BAS will designate the published guidance rate as the skilled wage rate for the program, effective January 1, 2024.
  3. By December 15, 2023, local apprenticeship committees that elected to meet will hold a meeting to set a proposed rate. (Reminder: All rates are subject to final approval by BAS.)
    1. BAS may convene a local apprenticeship committee meeting before December 15, 2023 in response to feedback it receives.
  4. By February 1, 2024, employers must implement the new rate.

Skilled Wage Rate Exception

In instances where an approved skilled wage rate is lower than the previous skilled wage rate, existing apprentice wages cannot be lowered to the new rate without approval from BAS to amend existing contracts. DWD 295.07(5). However, BAS approval is not required for employers to increase compensation for apprentices above the skilled wage rate.