July 20, 2011 — The University of Virginia's lowest-earning Academic employees will see an increase in their paychecks starting July 22, as the minimum pay rate rose from $10.14 per hour to $10.65 on July 4.
The new minimum rate, which computes to gross yearly earnings of $22,152, applies to all employees who are currently earning less than $10.65 an hour. It includes University staff and classified employees with benefits-eligible positions, plus workers paid hourly and in temporary jobs.
The change affects about 310 workers, said Gary Helmuth, a Human Resources consulting manager who works on the special pay adjustment project. The pay increase applies to a range of jobs at the University, from office assistants to housekeepers, and especially in Facilities Management and Housing.
The increased pay rate will positively affect the amount that goes into employees' retirement plans, he pointed out.
The new rate also becomes the minimum hiring rate. "U.Va. wants to be in a position of being an employer of choice in the area," Helmuth said. "This is a proactive move to maintain our competitiveness in the local recruiting market."
The increase reflects President Teresa A. Sullivan's commitment to improving the salaries of U.Va.'s lowest-paid employees, which she has voiced on several occasions, including on her website.
The University also raised from $40,000 to $42,000 the threshold at which University staff are eligible for an annual supplemental benefit credit, which can be applied to any benefit deduction. This is because of the 5 percent pay increase received in June by those in the Virginia Retirement System. "Had we not raised the threshold, the employees would have lost their eligibility," said Anne Broccoli, director of benefits.
In addition, the supplemental benefit credit was increased from $300 to $450 because the pay increase is still subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes (known as FICA). "The increased credit helps offset that loss of take-home pay," Broccoli said.
— by Anne Bromley