Base/Living Wage FAQs


The University of Virginia is raising its base wage for employees (sometimes called a living wage), effective January 1, 2020. As of October 2019, several major contractors who work with the University are following suit and plan to raise the base wage for their employees who are working at UVA.

This change will increase the wages of more than 800 full-time contract employees, which represents nearly 90% of full-time contract employees who work regularly on our Grounds and currently earn less than $15 per hour. (October 2019) When combined with earlier-announced raises to full-time employees of the University, this means that roughly 96% of the University’s full-time and contracted full-time employees will earn at least $15 per hour as of January 1, 2020. 

Below you will find answers to commonly asked questions about these increases.

Base Wage Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Information About Benchmarking Living Wage

Every household is different and, therefore, it is hard to assess each individual and family circumstance. Census data for Albemarle County indicates that the average UVA employee affected by this change lives in a two-person household, and in about 70% of those households the second member is also working—raising the total household income significantly. UVA employees making $15 per hour will continue to receive more than $12,000 a year in health insurance benefits and retirement contributions. 

There is no single living wage, because it depends on family circumstances. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator for Charlottesville and the surrounding counties, it can range from $12.49 for a single adult to $30.29 for a family with two adults and three children with only one adult working.  That said, $15 per hour is a living wage for the bulk of our employees, given what we know about the average demographics of UVA employees.  It is also the base wage set by the City of Charlottesville, five states, and the District of Columbia. Major cities such as Seattle and San Francisco have also adopted a $15 minimum wage, as have major companies including Amazon and Target, and academic institutions such as Duke University and the University of California.

In addition to the base wage adjustment, the University offers regular increases to meet market demands and reward employee performance, generally occurring in the summer and fall. 

Rates for City of Charlottesville, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator:

If you have questions about the content in these FAQs please contact the HR Solution Center at 434.243.3344 or AskHR@virginia.edu.