Working for the McMaster Students Union just became more lucrative, with a new pay scale introduced as of the start of the new year.

On Jan. 1, 2018, the minimum wage in Ontario was increased from $11.40 per hour to $14.00 per hour and it is set to raise once again in January 2019 to $15.00 per hour. This push is a part of the initiative for living wages by the Liberal government.

A living wage entails a wage that a person would be able to support themselves and their family while working a typical work schedule. It includes basic necessities such food, shelter and transportation but also notes that wages should be set to allow for expenses such as gifts and outings to promote social participation in a community.

Currently, Hamilton’s estimated living wage sits at $15.85 per hour, according to Living Wage Hamilton.

Living wages vary from community to community, but groups such as Social Planning and Research Council (Hamilton) have studied the living wage in Hamilton and have released reports based on their findings. In one December 2011 report, the SPRC found that the average living wage in Hamilton was $14.95 per hour.

Their research considered different home situations and factored in the basic cost of living in addition to expenses associated with social outings and skill-building. The studies do not, however, consider common expenses such as the cost of debt, pets and smoking and drinking habits. The study also assumes people will work full-time.

Currently, Hamilton’s estimated living wage sits at $15.85 per hour, according to Living Wage Hamilton.

In response to this wage increase, the MSU completed a wage review in order to maintain the general ratio part-time employees received in comparison to the minimum wage while remaining within their budget lines.

Within the MSU, all customer service representatives such as those who work at the MSU Underground, Compass and Union Market are paid slightly above minimum wage.

Under the previous wage grid, these workers were paid $11.77, which was $0.17 above minimum wage at the time. Under the new wage grid, they will receive $14.15 per hour, $0.15 above the new minimum wage.

The same may be said for all of MSU’s salaried employees, such as part-time managers and associate vice presidents. Their wages have also increased at a consistent rate above the Ontario minimum wage.

For example, employees who fall under the “C4” category were previously paid $155.16 per week. These same workers will now receive $181.80 per week for the same amount of work.

It should noted, however, that the majority of work within the MSU is part-time but only available to MSU members, who must be full-time McMaster undergraduate students. These jobs do not typically offer overtime, but do offer some perks such as discounts and retroactive pay under the right circumstances.

The MSU has not released any documents pertaining to the next wage increase, which is set to occur on Jan. 1, 2019 . For now, students working for the student union can expect to see a bump in their biweekly paychecks.

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