By: Kate Luce
Indiana University Board of Trustees announced that they are raising the minimum wage for staff-appointed employees to $13.66 an hour and then to $15 an hour by July 1.
This change puts IU’s minimum wage for full-time employees above the state and regional minimum wages.
“This completes a plan approved by the trustees in 2017 to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by the 2021-22 fiscal year. After a temporary pause during the pandemic that kept the minimum wage at $12.33 an hour, all appointed staff will now earn at least $13.66 an hour before the shift to $15 an hour in just under five months,” Deborah Schmitt, director of human resources, said.
This increase ensures that IU stays competitive with other leading public and private research universities across the US, as many announce the raise as well.
According to Schmitt, a staff-appointed employee is a full-time employee that is eligible for benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, the IU tuition benefit, vacation time, and other paid-time-off benefits. Staff-appointed employees are not paid hourly.
Student employees, however, are classified as temporary positions. This decision does not affect them. Student employees are paid bi-weekly and clock in for the time period they work. Currently, the student minimum wage IU-wide is $10.15 an hour.
At this time, IU South Bend pays its student employees on the higher end of the scale in comparison to other colleges in the area.
Notre Dame is currently paying their students anywhere from $8.32 – $9.17 an hour, according to studentjobs.nd.edu.
St. Mary’s pays their students around $9 an hour, according to glassdoor.com
However, in the South Bend/Mishawaka area, Bethel University pays their students the most, at $10.25 an hour, according to bethel.edu
Current student employees spoke about their thoughts on their current pay rate.
“I think it’s important to acknowledge that many students work on-campus jobs because it gives them the flexibility in hours to be able to focus on their course work. Some may not have the ability to get jobs off of campus to supplement what they are earning from IU, so it is important that we pay them a living wage. I believe that we should value the work of our student employees as much as we value other staff. Student-workers keep our university running, and their pay should reflect that and should be raised to $15 an hour as well,” Kayla Isenbletter, research assistant for the political science department, said.
“I’ve been okay with my current pay rate, but with living costs in South Bend and school expenses, I’d definitely feel better if the minimum was higher. I think the raise for staff is good and important, but student workers also have bills to pay. Ultimately, it’s up to IU but I think they could set a good example by offering better minimum wages,” Avery Bougher, work-study student for the fine arts department, said.
“I mean it’s not terrible, but considering I’m only able to work a limited amount of hours it makes it hard because I have actual bills to pay and I only make like $150 a week right now. With COVID, they decreased our hours so we used to be able to work all the way up until midnight, and now, we close at 7,” Sara Huff, student assistant at the library, said.
“I’m definitely not able to have a living wage off of my current pay rate as an hourly employee. So being a full-time student, I’m able to work about 15 hours a week in both the IUSB costume shop and scene shop … My rent and utilities alone are about $550 a month, so I normally work over the summer to save up money to survive the school year. I could work weekends at my job as a cashier at Meijer, but I’m on educational leave because I prefer to do my part to limit my exposure to COVID for myself and fellow students. Also, with homework and rehearsals, I’m far too busy to take on a weekend job and keep my grades to the honors student standard,” Molly Hodge, costume shop assistant and scene shop employee, said.
According to Schmitt, there is no talk on raising the student minimum wage at this time.