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UC to begin implementation of new $15 an hour minimum wage policy

UC will increase the minimum wage for employees, including contract workers, on Thursday, Oct. 1, the first stage of a three-year plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2017.

Under the new UC Fair Wage/Fair Work Plan, all employees hired to work at least 20 hours a week will be paid a minimum of $13 an hour starting Thursday, Oct. 1. That minimum will increase to $14 an hour on Oct. 1, 2016, and to $15 an hour on Oct. 1, 2017.

Contractors and subcontractors working on UC projects will be required to comply with the new policy.

UC is the first university in the country to voluntarily set a $15 minimum wage. The new rate will be higher than California’s minimum wage, which is currently $9 an hour and will increase to $10 an hour on Jan. 1, 2016.

President Janet Napolitano announced the UC Fair Wage/Fair Work Plan in July to support employees and their families, and to ensure that workers being paid through a UC contract are likewise fairly compensated.

“Supporting the employees — and their families — who help make UC a leading institution is an important part of our values as a public university, ” President Napolitano said.

The new minimum wage is being implemented over three years to give campuses time to plan and budget for the cost increase. The bulk of the cost will be funded by non-core funds, such as sales from self-supporting programs like bookstores and food services. These are separate from tuition and fees, state resources and other core funds that support UC’s core instructional programs.

As UC enters into new contracts or renews existing ones, the university will require contractors and subcontractors to pay their employees a wage that meets or exceeds UC’s new minimum wage.

In addition, UC will enhance its oversight of contractors and subcontractors for wages and working conditions. This includes creation of a telephone hotline and online reporting system, both now in place, that contract workers can use to report complaints and issues directly to the Office of the President.

It also will include annual and interim audits of contractors to ensure they pay employees UC’s minimum wage or better, and that they meet all local, state, federal and UC laws. Annual audits will be funded by the contractors, and implemented as new contracts are established and existing ones are renewed.

Learn more about the UC Fair Wage/Fair Work plan and read frequently asked questions.

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