Criteria for Employer-Provided Survey

1)    The survey must be recent.

If the employer submits a published survey, that survey must:

  • have been published within 24 months of the date of submission of the prevailing wage request;
  • be the most current edition of the survey; and
  • be based on data collected within 24 months of the date of the publication of the survey.

If the employer submits a survey conducted by the employer, the survey must be based on data collected within 24 months of the date of submission of the prevailing wage request.

2)    The wage data submitted by the employer must reflect the area of intended employment.

Area of intended employment means the area within normal commuting distance of the place (address) of intended employment.

If the place of intended employment is within a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) or Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), any place within the MSA or PMSA is deemed to be within the normal commuting distance of the place of intended employment.

All locations within a Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) will not automatically be deemed to be within normal commuting distances for prevailing wage purposes.

The borders of PMSAs, MSAs, or CMSAs are not controlling in the identification of the normal commuting area; an employer location just outside of the PMSA, MSA, or CMSA boundary may still be considered within normal commuting distance.

The terminology CMSAs and PMSAs are being replaced by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); however, ETA will continue to recognize the use of these area concepts as well as their replacements.

3)    The job description applicable to wage data submitted by the employer must be adequate to determine that the data represents workers who are similarly employed.

Similarly employed means jobs requiring substantially similar levels of skills.

4)    The wage data must have been collected across industries that employ workers in the occupation.

5)    The prevailing wage determination should be based on the arithmetic mean (weighted average) of wages for workers that are similarly employed in the area of intended employment.

If the survey provides a median wage of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment and does not provide an arithmetic mean, the median wage shall be used as the basis for making a prevailing wage determination.

6)    In all cases where an employer provides the SWA with wage data for which it seeks acceptance, the employer must include the methodology used for the survey to show that it is reasonable and consistent with recognized statistical standards and principles in producing a prevailing wage (e.g., contains a representative sample), including its adherence to these standards for the acceptability of employer-provided wage data.

It is important to note that a prevailing wage determination based upon the acceptance of employer-provided wage data for the specific job opportunity at issue does not supersede the OES wage rate for subsequent requests for prevailing wage data in that occupation.

Information from employers that consists merely of speculation, subjective impressions, or pleas that it cannot afford to pay the prevailing wage rate determined by the SWA cannot be taken into consideration in making a wage determination.

If the SWA does not find the employer-provided wage survey acceptable, the SWA must notify the employer in writing and include the reasons that the survey was not found to be acceptable.

Upon receiving this determination, the employer may provide supplemental information, file a new request, or appeal the determination.

In issuing wage determinations the SWAs may be required to convert an hourly rate to a weekly, monthly or annual rate, or to convert a weekly, monthly or annual rate to an hourly rate.

As a matter of policy, such conversions shall be based on 2,080 hours of work in a year.

It cannot be overemphasized that the nature of the employer is not a relevant factor in making prevailing wage determinations. As noted above, the relevant factors are the job, the geographic locality of the job, and the level of skill required to perform independently on the job. Factors relating to the nature of the employer, such as whether the employer is public or private, for profit or nonprofit, large or small, charitable, a religious institution, a job contractor, or a struggling or prosperous firm, do not bear in a significant way on the skills and knowledge levels required and, therefore, are not relevant to determining the prevailing wage for an occupation under the regulations at 20 CFR 656.40.

Related Links:
PERM Overview
EB-2 vs EB-3
PERM FAQ
PERM / I-140 Ability Pay Requirement
PERM and Prevailing Wage Processing Times
PERM and I-140 Complete Do it Yourself Kit
PERM Attorney