President James E. Ryan Dan Addison

Starting Jan. 1, all full-time benefits-eligible UVA employees will earn at least $15 an hour.

UVA joins other employers across the country, including Duke University, the University of California and the city of Charlottesville, that have raised the minimum hourly pay to $15 to better reflect the cost of living. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

“As a university, we should live our values—and part of that means making sure that no one who works at UVA should live in poverty,” President James E. Ryan (Law ’92) said in a statement announcing the Board of Visitors-endorsed hike.

About 1,400 full-time employees will see a raise when the policy goes into effect. For those now earning UVA’s base wage of $12.75 an hour, the step up will translate into a more than $4,500 bump in their annual gross pay.

The boost will initially cost UVA about $4 million—$3.5 million to cover the salary increase for workers making less than $15 per hour and $500,000 for adjustments required for those making $15 to $16.25 per hour. 

The decision covers about 60 percent of full-time employees who earn less than $15 an hour, according to Ryan’s statement. The remaining 40 percent work for contractors. Ryan’s team will be working on a plan over the next few months to extend the same commitment to contract employees. “This is legally and logistically more complicated, but our goal is to make it happen,” he said.