There is a good overview of the term "certified payroll" at this site
on 'prevailing wage' standards for public projects in New Jersey:
Prevailing Wage Rate FAQ's
Q. What is a certified payroll record?
A. A "certified payroll record" is a payroll record which is certified
by a principal or authorized agent of any business entity employing
covered workers on a public project, to be true and accurate.
Q. How often are certified payroll submitted to the public entity?
A. Such records shall be submitted for each payroll period within ten
(10) days of the payment of wages.
Q. Do owner/operators who perform covered work have to be included on
A. Yes. The information required for owner/operators is the same as
for employees, with no exceptions.
Q. The prime contractor requires the subcontractor to file certified
payrolls with them. Does this satisfy the subcontractor's filing
requirements with the awarding public body?
A. No. The law requires that all subcontractors and contractors file
certified payrolls within 10 days of pay dates with the awarding
public body. An original signature certifying the accuracy of the
payroll records is required on the payroll filed with the public body.
Q. As a corporate officer who performs craft type work on public
construction, must I report myself on the certified payrolls?
A. Yes. You are an employee of the corporation. Therefore, you must
report and pay yourself just as you would any other employee.
There are other segments of the document that discuss certified payrolls as well.
Although the link above is specific to New Jersey, note the discussion
it has of the Davis-Bacon Act, which is federal, and which also has a
prevailing wage and certified payroll requirement.
Q. What is the difference between the Davis-Bacon Act and the New
Jersey Prevailing Wage Act?
A. The Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) pertains to public construction projects
awarded by a federal agency, such as work on military bases and U.S.
Postal Service buildings. Certified payrolls must be filed with the
proper federal agency. The New Jersey Wage and Hour office does not
monitor projects which are covered exclusively by the DBA.
In a nutshell, for federal and many state public works projects, there
are requirements to pay workers the prevailing wage, and these wages
must be attested to in the form of a certified payroll statement.
I trust this information fully meets your needs.
But if there's anything else I can do for you, just let me know by
posting a Request for Clarification, and I'll be happy to assist you
search strategy -- Google search on "certified payroll"