Did You Know? In 1891 Kansas was the first state to pass a "prevailing wage" for its own public works projects.
Did You Know? In 1931, Congress passed the Davis-Bacon Act after 14 earlier attempts, the Federal Prevailing Wage Law that remains in force, bar a few suspensions, to this day.
Did You Know? There are 32 states that have state prevailing wage laws, also known as "little Davis-Bacon Acts". The rules and regulations vary from state to state.
The prevailing wage rate is defined as the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the area of intended employment. Prevailing wage may include both wages, benefits, and other payments such as apprenticeship and industry promotion. It encompasses the compensation for a worker given for performed labor.
According to Code of Federal Regulations, "The prevailing wage shall be the wage paid to the majority (more than 50 percent) of the laborers or mechanics in the classification on similar projects in the area during the period in question. If the same wage is not paid to a majority of those employed in the classification, the prevailing wage shall be the average of the wages paid, weighted by the total employed in the classification."
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires that the hiring of a foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers comparably employed. To comply with the statute, the US Department of Labor’s regulations require that the wages offered to a foreign worker must be the prevailing wage rate for the occupational classification in the area of employment.
The requirement to pay prevailing wages as a minimum is true of most employment based visa programs involving the Department of Labor. In addition, the H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 programs require the employer to pay the prevailing wage or the actual wage paid by the employer to workers with similar skills and qualifications, whichever is higher.
Moving to the US is a big leap if you move there to stay for a longer period of time (= or >3 years). It makes a big change on the standard of living as well as the quality of life.
This means that you start to compare your earning and expenditure and how to maintain it to get the maximum value out of it. You may think that if your earning has increased from what it was in your home country, the change in your life will be in the same ratio. The currency market exchange rate may not always be a good metric for comparison, however, you may get a better and a more realistic picture if you take Purchasing Power Parity or PPP into consideration.
Purchasing power parity conversion factor is the number of units of a country's currency required to buy the same amount of goods and services in the domestic market as a U.S. dollar would buy in the United States.
Here, we take an example of India and compare the prices of some items with the US in order to better understand PPP and affordability of certain things in both countries.
Suppose, a person A’s take-home salary (this is the salary left after paying all taxes) in the US is 75,000 USD per year i.e. 6250 USD per month.
The PPP conversion factor(2011-2015) for India is 0.3.
Taking the exchange rate, 1 USD = 67 INR as of August 2016, let’s do the math.
75,000 USD = 5,025,000 INR
Now, taking the PPP conversion factor into consideration, the salary A should earn in India to maintain the same standard as in US:
75,000 X 0.3 = 22,500 USD = 1,507,500 INR
Therefore, A’s monthly income will be 1,507,500/12 = 125,625 INR
So, in the Table below, we have compared prices of certain things in Phoenix, Arizona, US and New Delhi, India.
|Basic Food Items||
So, after this comparison we see that PPP comes in handy when you compare basic necessity items, but, if you move on to high end goods currency exchange rate gives you a more accurate price comparison.
E.g. If you buy a good car in India that is 0.3X the US price of Honda Accord, that would make up for a good standard of living in India, but you are not getting a Honda Accord for 0.3X price in India. The price of a Honda Accord in the US is a fraction of your annual income ($23,155 < $75,000/3), whereas, in India its price comes to even more than your annual income calculated using PPP (Rs.2,200,000 > Rs.1,507,500). We can say the same about owning an apartment.
This difference in affordability is what makes the change in the standard of living when you move to US from India. It might not be in the same ratio according to PPP or the current currency exchange rate, but certain amenities that are super affordable in the US might be hard to afford in India even at a comparable amount of income.
|Job Role||Median Wages|
|Petroleum Engineers||116,000 p.a.|
|Computer and Information Research Scientists||112,000 p.a.|
|Software Developers, Systems Software||97,000 p.a.|
|Computer Hardware Engineers||95,000 p.a.|
|Computer Network Architects||95,000 p.a.|
|Aerospace Engineers||91,894 p.a.|
|Software Developers, Applications||87,500 p.a.|
|Marine Engineers and Naval Architects||86,404 p.a.|
|Chemical Engineers||86,000 p.a.|
|Nuclear Engineers||85,571 p.a.|
|Electronics Engineers, Except Computer||85,051 p.a.|