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University of Kentucky increasing minimum wage for employees

This change doesn’t just include pay raises, there are also additional benefits for workers.
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 12:00 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A pay raise is in the works for some employees at the University of Kentucky.

This change doesn’t just include pay raises, there are also additional benefits for workers.

Thursday, UK’s president, Dr. Eli Capilouto, announced the minimum hourly pay would rise from $12.50 to $13.75 on July 1 and then to $15 beginning January 1, 2022.

He also announced new paid leave for part-time regular employees to welcome a new child or care for a sick parent; a 2% merit increase, and a one-time $1,000 payment to regular employees.

Members of the campus workers union say this will impact essential workers, like custodial staff, who were needed so badly during the pandemic.

UK spokesperson Jay Blanton said this is just part of the University taking care of their people.

“These issues have been top concerns frankly of President Capilouto,” Blanton said. “If you look at his record over the past 10 years. this will be the eighth year out of 10 years that there have been pay increases for faculty and staff. So, this is been a long-term commitment to invest in our people.”

Union members told us this is a move they had been pushing for over a year.

“It now takes the pressure off of me to have to work two jobs,” custodian Cory Pollard. “I choose to work the other job that I work because I enjoy it but it does take the pressure off to where I have to work it.”

There are additional measures that the union wants to see, including increase wages for graduate students and undergraduate workers.

“We are teachers, we are graduate assistants, this university needs us and it needs to pay us the way we deserve,” said Abi Stephens, graduate student.

Blanton said that is something the board of trustees will be discussing at an upcoming meeting.

The university will also be resuming the 10% employer retirement contribution. That was suspended during the pandemic.

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