By Victoria Konicki
Wages for Worcester State University student workers were reset to $12 per hour over the summer due to the rising minimum wage in Massachusetts, but many student workers were not informed in advance of this change in policy.
The Board of Directors decided to lower the wages for non-benefited student workers making more than minimum wage back to minimum wage, and to $12.50 for supervisors, beginning July 1 in an effort to save money in preparation for the gradual increase of minimum wage, according to Worcester State’s Human Resources Assistant Vice President Stacey Luster.
The minimum wage in Massachusetts will be increased by $0.75 over the next few years until it reaches $15 per hour in 2023. At a meeting with the Student Government Association, Luster said resetting wages to the minimum wage will save the school $80,000 this year, which can be used to maintain the number of jobs currently held by students as the minimum wage goes up.
The task of informing student workers of this change in pay was left up to the department heads, Luster said, and while some departments did notify their student employees, many students were not informed of the change.
Andrew Farrington, a sophomore at WSU who works in the Wellness Center, did not even realize that his wages had been decreased until the change in policy was pointed out to him.
“I noticed when my checks came in they looked like a couple dollars short, but I didn’t really think anything of it,” said Farrington.
He was more shocked that he had not been notified about the change than he was upset about the actual pay cut, he said.
Emma Collings, 20, a junior at WSU majoring in business administration and economics who works as a referee supervisor for intramural sports at WSU, said that she did not experience a pay decrease as she was already making minimum wage and was recently promoted to a supervisor position. However, she was not informed of the reset to minimum wage for the student employees she supervises.
“I am unaware of people experiencing a pay decrease,” said Collings.
Luster acknowledged the breakdown in communication with students about the policy change.
“We should’ve communicated directly to the students,” she said.
The SGA is in support of the HR department contacting student workers to inform them about the change, said Stephen Lenane, the public relations chairman for the SGA.
“I hope they take our advice and send out emails and let students know,” Lenane said.