Speeches & Writings

Statement re. plans for increasing the university’s minimum wage to $15/hour for regular and contract employees


Washington University in St. Louis
June 25, 2019

On July 1, 2021, we will be increasing the minimum hourly wage to $15/hour for regular employees and basic service contractors at Washington University in St. Louis. We will transition to this level with the following increases in 2019 and 2020:

  • As of July 1, 2019: $12.65/hour for regular employees and $12.25/hour for basic service contractors
  • As of July 1, 2020: $13.80/hour for both regular employees and basic service contractors

I have made this decision after an inclusive, thoughtful and thorough process that involved dialogue with students, university employees, community activists, and St. Louis religious and social justice leaders, as well as a full assessment of the financial and operational implications. Since joining the university in January, I have made it a priority to work through these essential steps, including gaining input from important stakeholders including the university’s Board of Trustees.

I have recommended that we take this step because it is the right thing to do. The university’s current minimum wage is well above the regional average, as well as federal and state mandates. Nonetheless, we always are open to considering ways in which we can further support our employees. I thank those who have brought this issue to our attention. This increase in our hourly minimum wage will increase pay rates for nearly 1,200 members of our community and their families and, we hope, create greater opportunities for economic mobility.

Washington University is an employer of choice here in the St. Louis region and nationally. We strive to create a strong, positive working environment for the very best employees any institution could hope for, and we are committed to helping all members of our community lead fulfilling lives.