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Good News: Kentucky State University President Takes Voluntary Pay Cut to Give Employees a Raise (Sept/Oct 2014)

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Ethics Matters

September/October 2014

Minimum wage has been one of the most discussed political and economic issues this year. While some cities, like San Francisco, have passed their own minimum wage statutes, the federal law still has the country’s lowest earners getting $7.25 per hour – an amount that many say is not enough to maintain even a basic quality of life.

Others have argued that raising the minimum wage would mean that companies have to pay for the difference out of already slim profit margins, causing some to close down. While proponents of both sides have gone back and forth this year, one college president has come up with a remarkable way to cover the difference for his lowest-earning employees: he’s going to pay for it himself.

Raymond Burse is the interim president at Kentucky State University. This summer, he announced that he would take a 25% pay cut in his salary in order to bring 24 of the school’s employees’ wages up to $10.25 per hour. The cut will represent over a $90,000 deduction from Burse’s salary.

“I figured it was easier for me to forgo that amount, rather than adding an additional burden on the institution,” Burse said. “I thought that if I’m going to ask them to really be committed and give this institution their all, I should be doing something in return.”

> Read Full September/October 2014 Ethics Matters