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The Construction Worker Wage Protection Act (CWWPA) gives construction workers the right to seek their unpaid wages from the contractor in addition to or instead of the subcontractor that did not pay all of their wages owed. Workers may file a wage claim with the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) or file a claim in court to recover their unpaid wages.

What is CWWPA?

CWWPA is a law that holds the contractor liable for any unpaid wages, fringe benefits, penalties and liquidated damages owed to a construction worker by a subcontractor under the contractor. If an owner enters into a construction contract with more than one contractor or subcontractor on a construction site, then the owner is considered a contractor and liable for such nonpayment of wages.

When is CWWPA effective?

CWWPA became effective Aug. 1, 2023, and applies to contracts or agreements entered into, renewed, modified or amended on or after Aug. 1, 2023.

Are there exceptions to CWWPA? 

CWWPA does not apply to home improvement contracts or to construction work on single-family homes or duplexes unless the project is for more than 10 single-family homes or duplexes. It also does not apply to prevailing-wage projects or to contractors or subcontractors that are a signatory to a collective bargaining agreement with a building and construction trade labor organization that contains an unpaid wages grievance procedure as well as a provision for collection of unpaid fringe benefit contributions.

Is a contractor required to pay the unpaid wages of a worker if the subcontractor says the worker is an independent contractor or a "1099 worker" instead of their employee?

Yes, a contractor cannot avoid paying wages under CWWPA by saying a worker is an independent contractor instead of an employee unless the worker meets all nine elements of the independent contractor test.

What can a contractor do to monitor wage payment on a construction project?

Under CWWPA, a contractor can request the following information and records from subcontractors, which are then required to provide the requested information and records within 15 days of the request:

  • payroll records to review payment of wages and fringe benefit contributions;

  • the names of all employees and independent contractors of a subcontractor;

  • the anticipated contract start date;

  • the scheduled duration of work;

  • local unions with which a subcontractor is a signatory contractor; and

  • the names and telephone numbers of subcontractors.

I recently completed work on a construction project and the subcontractor did not pay all of my wages. What can I do?

Make a demand for your final wages. If your employer does not pay you after receiving your letter, contact the DLI Wage and Hour unit to file a wage claim or other complaint.

Employees also have the option of filing a claim in court if the employer does not pay wages as required under Minnesota law.

Where can I get more information about filing a wage claim?

For more information about filing a wage claim, contact DLI's Labor Standards Division at or 651-284-5075.