University of California President Janet Napolitano has lunch with students at UCLA on October 11, 2013 in Westwood, California.
Pool—Getty Images
By Katy Osborn
July 22, 2015

The University of California will raise the minimum wage for its employees to $15, a $6 increase over California’s current minimum.

University of California President Janet Napolitano announced the wage hike in a statement released Wednesday, saying “Our community does not exist in a vacuum. How we support our workers and their families impacts Californians who might never set foot on one of our campuses.”

The increase is set to go into effect gradually over the next three years—increasing from the current statewide $9 minimum (which itself will increase to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016) to $13 on Oct. 1, 2015 for employees who work at least 20 hours per week; again to $14 on Oct. 1, 2016; and finally, to $15 on Oct. 1, 2017.

The move comes amid a nationwide movement to guarantee workers what is known as a “living wage,” echoing recent minimum wage mandates by the city councils of both Los Angeles and Seattle, as well as Los Angeles County.

The University of California currently employs close to 195,000 workers across its 10 campuses, making it California’s third-largest employer. Still, the decision is only expected to affect about 3,200 direct employees of the University who work more than 20 hours per week, along with another several thousand employed by contractors, to the disappointment of labor leader otherwise pleased with the gesture.

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