General contractors in Maryland now must make sure their subcontractors are paying their workers.

In October, a new law takes effect that allows workers of subcontracting firms to file claim against the general contractor on a project if they are not paid.

In addition to boosting project costs, observers worry that the law will affect the amounts and duration of required surety bonds. This is likely to hurt subcontractors as well as GCs. In Maryland, workers have three years to can file wage claims. This means general contractors may require their subs to carry bonds for at least that long after a project. Amounts likely will have to cover three times wages owed, since courts can award that much.