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Understanding Construction Dual Wage Thresholds

May 3, 2017

In California, a number of construction and erection classifications are divided into two separate classifications based on the hourly wage of the employee assigned to the classification and each of these classifications has a different advisory pure premium rate. For each of these classification pairs, there is a specific hourly wage threshold used to determine whether the payroll and claims for an employee is assigned to the "high wage" or "low wage" classification. There are currently sixteen of these "dual wage" classifications.

Example - Automatic Sprinkler Installation

For workers engaged in the installation of an automatic sprinkler system whose hourly wage rate is less than $27.00 per hour, the appropriate classification is 5185, Automatic Sprinkler Installation – within buildings – less than $27.00. Workers whose hourly wage rate equals or exceeds $27.00 per hour are classified as 5186, Automatic Sprinkler Installation - within buildings – equals or exceeds $27.00.

As part of its administration of the Standard Classification System in California, the WCIRB studies these dual wage classifications periodically and recommends changes in the wage thresholds when appropriate. Proposed changes are included in a WCIRB Regulatory Filing that is then presented to the California Insurance Commissioner for approval.

The WCIRB makes a number of free resources available to help you find the current dual wage threshold or the correct classification:

  • Dual Wage Classification Thresholds by Year
    This downloadable and printable chart, located on the Classification Information page in the Publications and Filings section of, is updated annually with approved wage threshold changes. The Classification Information page also contains a list of all construction and erection classifications.
  • Classification Search
    The Classification Search helps you locate classifications based on keywords that are part of, or commonly associated with, classification phraseologies. You can filter the results by dual wage classifications or by industry groups.
  • California Workers' Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP)
    Part 3, Standard Classification System, contains the Insurance Commissioner's regulations regarding the Standard Classification System.

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