The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

North Carolina’s minimum wage increases to $6.15

North Carolina Governor Mike Easely recently signed a bill which will raise the state minimum wage to 6.15 an hour.

The new minimum wage will be a dollar higher than the federal and former North Carolina minimum wage of 5.15 an hour. Governor Easley has called the bill, “a great piece of legislation” and that signing it was necessary to, “help many North Carolinians cope with the rising costs of transportation, housing, healthcare, and other basic needs.”

The bill, which applies to all places of employment in North Carolina, will go into affect on January 1, 2007.

Reaction to the legislature seems mostly positive. “6.15 an hour,” said sophomore Kevin Bohm, “I’m not complaining!”

The increase in minimum wage came as a surprise to
people who direct the Guilford’s budget and finances.

“We had no idea this was going to happen and we had already set our budget,” said Kathy Albert-Owen, the Student Payroll Coordinator. “Students need to know that when they use up all their work study funds, they will need to talk to the department which employs them, such as the library, to see if they have extra funds so that they may continue to work.”

“We cannot project how this will affect the budget,” said Richard W. Ogorek, Director of the budget, “we’ll know by June though.”

Like the administrators, some students have concerns about the budget too.

“It rules, I’m going to have more money. I just hope the school can afford to pay the extra cost and that they don’t have to cut funds from any other budgets to cover the cost,” said first-year Natalie Bent, who worked for the Guilford phone-a-thon.

The payroll accounts of employees getting raises on campus have been updated, allowing for a seamless transition from 5.15 to 6.15 on January 1.

The increase in the minimum wage will not affect everyone employed through Guilford College.

“This will not affect students who are already at or above 6.15 an hour, these employees do not get an increase, but those who are below 6.15 and hour do get an increase,” Said Ogorek.

Non-student employees contracted with Guilford will not being getting raises either. This is due to the fact, according to Kathy Albert-Owen, that non-student employees at Guilford already make more than 6.15 an hour.

Bent feels that it’s unfair to raise the wages of some employees, but not others.

“Theoretically if they’re being paid more, they must be doing something more important and they deserve a raise too,” said Bent.

Alex Barnett, a sophomore employed by the Guilford library feels that the increase is good, but more action needs to be taken. “6.15 still is not a living wage, people are just doing this to appease something. I mean, it’s a good thing, but it’s not going to put an end to poverty,” he said.

According to the website North Carolina Justice that on average, a family of three, two parents with one child, living in an urban North Carolina environment such as Greensboro, needs to make 19.07 an hour, about 13 dollars more than the new minimum wage, to pay for basic necessities, such as housing, food and health care.

There has been a recent outcry for a larger increase in minimum wage and economists have been talking about the benefits of increasing minimum wage, reported the website North Carolina Policy.

While the federal minimum wage is still set at 5.15 an hour 31 states, including North Carolina, have now set their state minimum wage higher than the federal rate.

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