James Madison University introduces $12 per hour living wage


Effective from 1 July 2019, US-based academic institution James Madison University (JMU) has introduced a $12 (£9.58) per hour living wage for full-time employees, increasing its annual base pay by an average of $690 (£550.71) for 109 members of staff.

The university, located in Virginia, calculated its living wage, defined as the hourly rate an individual must earn to cover the expense of food, health insurance, housing, transportation and other basic necessities over a 2,080-hour working year, using information published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This calculation determined that the living wage for a single adult in Rockingham County, Virginia is $11.38 (£9.08) an hour.

Based on this information, JMU increased pay for all full-time employees earning less than $24,960 (£19,921.32) a year, so as to ensure salaries were able to meet its revised living wage standard.

In addition, the university has implemented a 3% pay rise for instructional, administrative and professional faculty staff, as well as a 2.75% increase for all ‘classified’ employees, namely those in hourly-paid, routine roles such as maintenance. Classified staff with three or more consecutive years of service will also receive an extra 2.25% pay rise. Improvements in pay were further awarded to student employees and adjunct faculty staff.

Charlie King, senior vice president of administration and finance at JMU, said: “Our employees are our most valuable asset. They take so much pride in the services they provide to our students each and every day.

“This living wage increase is an important part of the university’s commitment to its people and community.”