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UofL first Kentucky public university to adopt living wage program

by John Drees, communications and marketing last modified Nov 08, 2013 03:25 PM

The University of Louisville has adopted a “living wage” program that will increase the minimum salary for regular staff employees to $10 per hour. The program is the first of its kind among Kentucky’s public universities.

The living wage took effect Nov. 1, according to UofL President James Ramsey.

A living wage is generally described as the hourly wage an employer needs to pay employees so they can afford the  basic necessities of daily living, based on the cost of living in that community.  The UofL initiative is not a one-time raise, but rather a program that will be reviewed annually to make sure employees remain above the living wage threshold.

“Of course, many factors come into play when determining what is truly necessary,” Ramsey said. “But we are doing what we can to help the lowest-earning members of our UofL family.”

UofL is paying for the program with savings incurred through its health insurance program. The university is self-insured and offers a wellness program, Get Healthy Now, which promotes physical and mental fitness among its employees.

“Through strong management of our resources and thanks in part to the success of Get Healthy Now, we have been able to reallocate savings from our health insurance program to this important initiative – without raising insurance rates or cutting back on our employees’ health benefit,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey credited the university’s Faculty and Staff senates, the Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Diversity and Racial Equality for proposing the living wage effort “and for continuing to work on behalf of our faculty, staff and students.”

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