The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life

Housekeeping information and communication page

April 17th, 2018

I’ve set up a page regarding the outsourcing of housekeeping with information and links to documents. That page is here:

Housekeeping

I’ve turned on comments there, so people can discuss or ask questions. I thought that might be perhaps less chaotic than a multi-step e-mail chain. I also thought it would be more accessible to Guilford staff, who can’t read the faculty e-mail chain on this topic, who aren’t permitted to write to the staff@guilford.edu address, and who might wish to take part in the discussion or make anonymous comments.

Regressive impact of the parking fee

December 17th, 2017

I did a little more work on the regressive nature of Guilford’s proposed new parking fee, following up on my previous post.

A flat fee will have a bigger impact on low-salary employees because it’s a larger percentage of their pay. Because some of our other costs (e.g. healthcare, capped social security) are also regressive, the parking fee becomes even more regressive in terms of percent of take home pay. Our lowest-paid employees are already taking home a smaller percent of their total compensation than our higher-paid employees, and the parking fee makes that worse.

Flat fees and fair compensation

December 11th, 2017

Flat fees, such as our healthcare costs or the recently proposed parking fee, provide a much more significant burden on low-wage employees than on high-wage employees. This is just basic math. When a cost or fee is constant, then it represents a higher percentage of income for a low-wage employee than for a high-wage employee.

Consider two cases below – a low-wage employee making $35,000 a year, and a vice president making $175,000 a year.

 

Both pay the same costs for Guilford’s healthcare. For an employee supporting a family, that will be $9390 next year. That cost is fixed, and therefore regressive by income. Social security tax is capped, making it regressive at high incomes, so high-wage earners above the cap actually pay a lower percentage than lower-wage earners. The VP pays more Social Security tax in total, but at a lower rate. Medicare is a constant proportion (not capped, so neither progressive nor regressive).

If we look at these employees’ listed salary, the VP makes five times as much as the low-wage employee. But the capped taxes and flat-rate costs exacerbate the inequality. After we deduct the Social Security, Medicare, and health insurance expenses, the VP takes home nearly seven times as much as the low-wage employee.

If we add another constant fee, say $120 for parking for the year, that money comes out of the take-home pay. The fee is the same for all employees, so that fee represents about half a percent (0.5%) of the low-wage earner’s take home pay, while it makes up less than a tenth of a percent (0.08%) of the VP’s take-home pay. By comparison, Medicare taxes are 1.45% of salary, or ~2% of take-home.

In other words, a flat $120 annual parking fee has an impact as much as seven times as great on our lowest-paid employees as on our highest. That’s textbook regressive. It represents about ten and a half hours of work for the low-wage earner, given directly back to the college, and only one and a half for the VP.

We can do better. For that matter, we should do better with our health insurance also.

The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life