Wage Increases for Bowdoin's Benefits-Eligible Hourly Employees FAQ

August 25, 2021

The information on this page provides additional information about plans to increase the minimum wage for Bowdoin’s benefits-eligible hourly employees. Detailed information about the benefits Bowdoin College offers to its employees is available here.

1. What is Bowdoin’s approach for compensating its hourly employees?
Bowdoin is committed to being the employer of choice in midcoast Maine and a leading employer in the state. To consistently achieve these goals, the College provides hourly wages and a benefits program that are each among the very best in the state. The program is reviewed on a regular basis and adjusted to maintain Bowdoin’s leadership position.

2. What is the current minimum wage in Maine?
The state minimum wage is currently $12.15 an hour.

3. What is the current minimum wage for benefits-eligible hourly employees at Bowdoin?
$17.00 an hour (effective August 30, 2021). The rate was increased from $14.00 an hour to $15.50 an hour on July 1, 2021.

4. How many benefits-eligible hourly employees currently work at Bowdoin?
Approximately 330 benefits-eligible hourly employees (those who work at least twenty hours per week) currently work at Bowdoin.

5.  How many employees at Bowdoin will be paid the minimum wage of $17.00 an hour when this change goes into effect?
Six newly hired employees will be earning $17.00 an hour beginning on August 30, 2021.

6. What happens to the wages of existing employees when the minimum wage for new hourly workers increases?
As the College increases the starting minimum wage, it also adjusts wages and corresponding benefits for existing benefits-eligible hourly employees across the College to account for “wage compression.” The adjustments are allocated progressively (with the lowest-paying jobs receiving the largest increases) and in ways that recognize responsibilities, job requirements, and performance.

7. What is the difference between a “benefits-eligible hourly employee” and other hourly employees?
Benefits-eligible hourly employees are those who work at least twenty hours a week. The College also has a number of “casual employees” who are not eligible for these wage increases. Casual employees work less than 20 hours per week and less than 1,000 hours total per fiscal year in positions that require occasional duty on an as-needed basis.

8. Will these increases be applied to casual employees?
The majority of casual positions at the College will also benefit from the August 30, 2021, wage increases.

9. Will these increases be applied to student wages?
No. The increases are for benefits-eligible hourly employees only.

10. Will there be benefits-eligible hourly employees at the College who will make less than the starting wage for new employees?
No.

11. Why is the College increasing its minimum wage to $17.00 now?
The changes reflect Bowdoin’s commitment to remaining a leader in wages and benefits in Maine. It is also in response to a statewide worker shortage in Maine.

12. How does Bowdoin establish compensation for hourly staff?
Bowdoin is committed to remaining a leader in wages and benefits in Maine. We examine a range of information, including wage data for similar jobs at employers across southern and midcoast Maine and benefits data from businesses, hospitals, and other private educational institutions in Maine, including a number of other leading Maine organizations. Based on these assessments, we set hourly pay rates that ensure Bowdoin remains a leader among employers in Maine.

13. What are the benefits provided by the College to benefits-eligible hourly employees?
All hourly employees who regularly work at least twenty hours per week receive benefits, including:

  • retirement contributions by the College per pay period of 10.12 percent or 12.13 percent of wages (depending on the age of the employee) that do not require a match or any additional contribution by the employee (these funds are fully vested immediately, and employees are eligible for retirement benefits after one year of service);
  • an option to participate immediately upon being hired in one of three competitive health plans, with employee contributions based on income;
  • a dental plan and vision plan;
  • disability and life insurance paid by the College;
  • twelve paid holidays, plus paid time off for the days between Christmas and New Year’s Day;
  • two weeks of paid vacation that accrue in an employee’s first year and three weeks paid vacation that accrue beginning in year two;
  • twelve days of paid sick leave per year that can accrue up to sixty-five days; and
  • emergency paid sick leave for employees with a serious health condition who have exhausted their personal sick time.

Detailed information about the benefits Bowdoin College offers to its employees is available here.

14. Where do most of these hourly employees work?
Benefits-eligible hourly staff are employed across all divisions of the College. The majority work in either facilities or dining services.