James Madison University has adopted a living wage for its full-time employees, setting a $12 per-hour wage.
A total of 109 employees who were earning less than $24,960 per year had their wages adjusted to meet the living wage standard.
JMU determined the living wage using information published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. According to MIT, the living wage for a single adult in Rockingham County, Virginia is $11.38 per hour.
According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, a living wage is the hourly rate that an individual must earn to cover food, health insurance, housing, transportation and other basic necessities. The hourly rate is calculated using a 2,080-hour work year.
“Our employees are our most valuable asset. They take so much pride in the services they provide to our students each and every day,” said Charlie King, senior vice president of administration and finance. “This living wage increase is an important part of the university’s commitment to its people and community.”
According to JMU officials, the annual cost of the living wage increase to the university is $75,263, while the average increase per employee is $690. The increases come on top of pay increases of 3% for instructional, administrative and professional faculty and 2.75% increases for all classified employees and an additional 2.25% for classified employees with three or more consecutive years of employment.
Additionally, raises were also provided for wage and student employees as well as adjunct faculty.
JMU isn’t the only school to set higher new minimum wages for full-time employees in recent years.
In 2017, Duke University announced that it would raise minimum wage gradually to $15 an hour by this month. And the University of California made similar incremental increases that raised minimum wage for employees working at least 20 hours a week to $15 an hour in October 2017.
In March, the University of Virginia announced that all benefits-eligible, full-time employees in its medical center and academic division will start receiving $15 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2020.
That will mean pay hikes for about 1,400 employees, about 60 percent of employees earning under $15 an hour. UVA president Jim Ryan said the university will be working on a plan to extend the increase to all contract workers.