Minimum wage increase may impact on-campus employment rates

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On-campus student employment will be facing challenges as the first increase in minimum wage takes place in September.

In May, legislation passed in Michigan to have minimum wage steadily increase, until it is $9.25 an hour in 2018. The first step will go into effect on September 1, bringing the hourly rate to $8.15.

Jim Muladore, executive vice president of administration and business affairs, estimated this increase will cost SVSU $760,000 annually once it is in full effect by 2018. Budget restraints do not currently allow for this cost to be covered within departments.

A decline in fall enrollment has decreased the general budget, and a dip in housing and campus dining revenue has lowered the auxiliary operations budget. The lower capacities of these university budgets make the cost of the law harder to cover.

In order to maintain their budgets, departments will likely be pressed to hire less students or decrease the amount of hours student employees are able to work.

Decisions are still being made on how best to help student employees and still be financially sound as an institution.

“We recognize the importance of on-campus employment to our students both financially and as a means to develop necessary work skills that assist students in the early stages of starting a career,” Muladore said.

There are currently about 800 on-campus student employees hired during the fall and winter semesters. Many students are employed through Information Technology Services, Campus Facilities, Conferencing, the Controller’s Office and Campus Dining. Decisions within these operations concerning the increase of minimum wage will impact students the most.

Muladore said that care is being taken to discuss various options and outcomes, and no hasty decisions are being made. Alternative ways to assist students are being explored.

“The university is also considering ways that its office of Career Services can offer more assistance to students in identifying off-campus employment opportunities,” Muladore said.