UW-Madison announces $15 minimum wage for hourly employees

The University of Wisconsin Madison will increase the minimum wage for hourly employees to $15 an hour, according to a news release Friday.

The announcement follows a proposal released Friday by Gov. Tony Evers to raise state employees’ minimum wage to $15.

“The increase in our minimum wage is a key part of our strategy for helping the university recruit and retain high-quality workers,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank said. “Employees who will benefit from this increase make important contributions to our teaching, research and outreach missions.”

The wage increase will take effect in the spring of 2020, the university said in the release.

The university estimated the cost of the move to a $15 per hour minimum at $1.1 million. Laurent Heller, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said UW-Madison has been developing innovative strategies to generate revenue that can be invested in the people all across the campus.

“UW-Madison strives to be the employer of choice in the Madison area. With this change, we’re recognizing both the competitive labor market and the hard and valuable work done by our dedicated staff,” Heller said.

The increase in the university’s minimum wage will primarily affect workers in custodial, animal care and food-service positions. It will not affect temporary or student employees.

This is the latest action aimed at benefiting UW-Madison’s lowest-paid workers. In 2018, staff earning less than $15 per hour received an increase of 50 cents per hour. The university also raised the differential pay for employees working night and weekend shifts.

In addition, a general wage increase of 2 percent for the university’s faculty and staff will go into effect January 2020 as a result of the 2019-21 state pay plan.

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