University of Tennessee system raising minimum pay for its workers

University of Tennessee system raising minimum pay for its workers

December 29th, 2013 by Jeff LaFave in Local Regional News

Joe DiPietro, president of the University of Tennessee system, said the system is raising the minimum wage for its workers.

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

The new year looks to be a year of change - including extra dimes and quarters - for University of Tennessee system employees.

The University of Tennessee will increase its systemwide minimum starting pay rate from $8.50 an hour to $9 an hour for all employees effective Jan. 1. And on June 30, 2014, that figure will further increase to $9.50 an hour.

"We're committed as a university system to offering competitive compensation to our diverse and dedicated workforce," said UT President Joe DiPietro in a news release. "With the help of our Compensation Advisory Board, we're making steady progress toward our compensation goals, especially those affecting positions at the lower pay grades, despite limited resources."

The increase will affect about 233 employees across the state, according to the release. UT campuses and institutes are reallocating existing funds to cover initial costs, which should total about $273,000.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga adopted the $9-per-hour wage in July, said Associate Vice Chancellor Chuck Cantrell.

The Compensation Advisory Board made its first recommendation to increase UT's minimum pay rate in 2011 -- from $7.50 an hour to $8.50 an hour. The group has made waves for rewriting UT's compensation policy and creating individual plans for each of the system's campuses and institutes to compete with its peer-group institutions.

The UT system aims to model its employee benefits against a field including the Arkansas, Rutgers, Georgia, Florida State and Louisiana State university systems.

UTC compares itself with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and system schools within the University of Florida.

"The work of our advisory board continues to drive decisions about UT's compensation, benefits programs and work culture that are positioning the university to better attract, reward and retain top performers," said Richard Brown, chairman of the board.

Brown also is the executive vice chancellor for finance and operations at UTC.

"Ongoing priorities include remaining market gaps, healthy initiatives and career ladder programs, among others, and I am honored to contribute to such important initiatives," Brown said.

Contact staff writer Jeff LaFave at jlafave@timesfree or 423-757-6592.