Minimum wage workers on campus will receive an additional $.75 per hour in their January paychecks, an increase that has many campus departments scrambling for money.
After vetoing a similar bill two years ago, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law on Sept. 12 that will raise the state’s minimum wage to $8 over the next two years. UCSB will not receive additional funding from the state or the UC Office of the President to help with these increases; rather each campus department must finance the raises independently.
The minimum wage increase, part of which will go into effect Jan. 1, will bring the current hourly rate from $6.75 to $7.50. In 2008, the wage will be raised to $8 per hour.
UCSB Compensation Manager Dayna Williamson said the university has about 3,400 student employees in the payroll system, 1,200 of which are paid below the $7.50 per hour wage.
“All departments are increasing student employee pay to be at least $7.50 per hour effective Jan. 1,” Williamson said. “This will of course be of significant cost for some of the departments, but the impact of these costs is not yet known.”
UCen Director Alan Kirby said the raise will have a substantial impact on the entity’s budget, as it currently employs about 500 students who work in the bookstore, dining services, the post office and satellite stores such as the Arbor. Along with students, the UCen retains career staff.
Kirby said the UCen receives no money from the administration, but receives revenue through its businesses as well as student lock-in fees. The UCen receives a $15 per student per quarter lock-in fee.
Additionally, as part of the recently passed Students’ Initiative, the UCen will receive an Associated Students $6 per undergraduate per quarter lock-in fee, which according to campaign literature will be used to help fund the estimated $250,000 increase in costs resulting from the new minimum wage.
According to Kirby, a majority of employees begin at the lowest tier of pay when they apply for jobs, and later advance to higher salaries.
“Most students employed at the UCen are working for a minimum wage or start off with the minimum wage and work their way up to more,” Kirby said.
Kirby also said that students who are already receiving salaries higher than the current minimum wage will receive raises proportional to the employees at the bottom of the pay hierarchy. He said these raises will be instituted in an effort to keep UCen pay equitable by percentage.
“Most if not all UCen employees will have the same percent wage as before the increase,” he said. “In 2008 the salaries will be changed once again to fit the correct percentages.”
As stated on the governor’s website, in 2004 Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill to raise the minimum wage by one dollar because he said the state could not afford it. This will be the first working minimum wage increase since Jan. 1, 2002, when it was raised by 8 percent from $6.25.
According to the California Industrial Welfare Commission, these minimum wage increases will make California the state with the highest minimum pay by 2008.