UofL adopts living wage program for lower-paid employees


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville has adopted a “living wage” program that will increase the minimum salary for regular staff employees to $10 per hour. The program is the first of its kind among Kentucky’s public universities.

    The living wage took effect Nov. 1, according to UofL President James Ramsey.

    A living wage is generally described as the hourly wage an employer needs to pay employees so they can afford the basic necessities of daily living, based on the cost of living in that community. The UofL initiative is not a one-time raise, but rather a program that will be reviewed annually to make sure employees remain above the living wage threshold.

    “Of course, many factors come into play when determining what is truly necessary,” Ramsey said. “But we are doing what we can to help the lowest-earning members of our UofL family.”

    UofL is paying for the program with savings incurred through its health insurance program. The university is self-insured and offers a wellness program, Get Healthy Now, which promotes physical and mental fitness among its employees.

    “Through strong management of our resources and thanks in part to the success of Get Healthy Now, we have been able to reallocate savings from our health insurance program to this important initiative – without raising insurance rates or cutting back on our employees’ health benefit,” Ramsey said.

    John Drees is a 35-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As vice president, communications and marketing, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing and brand, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.