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Staff Announcement About Compensation and Benefits

Dear Emerson Staff,

As a world, a nation, and a College community, we have navigated a very challenging and, for many families and individuals, a devastating year filled with personal loss. Emerging from the crisis caused by the pandemic, the Emerson community enters this new fiscal year with deep gratitude for the collective efforts made to ensure our institution maintained its academic excellence, and with optimism that the worst of the pandemic, financially speaking, is behind us. Let there be no doubt, Emerson suffered through one of its worst financial challenges since the Great Recession, with more than $32M in revenue losses.  In addition, in order to fully and comprehensively ensure the health and safety of our community, the College invested approximately $14 million more on COVID-related expenditures, most notably on our robust and highly successful testing, contact tracing program and additional essential health-related mitigation measures to significantly de-densify our campus by expanding our residential and teaching spaces through arrangements with nearby hotels.

By joining together as a community, and by adopting significant cost alleviating measures and practices, the College was able to meet these challenges head on. We fully recognize that this achievement was made possible by the sacrifices of many, which helped to protect the health, wellness and, notably, the jobs of Emerson staff.  While we cannot regain the financial losses we suffered, we offer our heartfelt thanks to the entire community, including all those whose tireless and enduring efforts helped lead us academically, operationally and financially through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within this financial context, we would like to make the following important compensation and benefits- related announcements:

  • As of August 1, the College will resume its 403(b) programs, in full, with employer matching and employee mandatory contributions resuming at pre-pandemic levels.  This means that as of August, Emerson will again be making deposits into all eligible employees’ 403(b) accounts and will resume withholding the 3% mandatory contribution required by our plan.
  • Also, as of August 1, the College will resume its monthly transportation and parking benefit.  This means that each month, for all eligible employees, Emerson will again be subsidizing the cost of employee commuting and/or parking up to $84.50 each month.
  • Later this month, the College will make a one-time payment to eligible staff, in lieu of last year’s pay increase.  The one-time payment will be calculated at 3% of base pay, up to $2,400 per employee, less required withholding for taxes.  All regular staff hired prior to October 1, 2020, will be eligible for this payment.  Part-time employees will receive prorated amounts based on the FTE-equivalent of their work hours. The vice presidents, temporary employees, intermittent employees, and employees hired after October 1 will not be eligible for this payment.  With respect to SEIU members and the one-time payment, it is not applicable at this time.  Emerson’s SEIU chapter is reviewing the College’s plan. We expect to have more information and look forward to continuing our dialogue with them, as always.
  • And finally, while it is too early to be more definitive about amounts or percentages, the College is committing to base salary increases for staff for FY22.  Given the circumstances of the last year, and the uncertainties of enrollment and student-residency levels for the upcoming academic year, we will make further announcements about salary increase plans, including percentages and effective dates, in mid to late October.  Please know that this commitment is one of our highest priorities for the current fiscal year.  Also know that the College is cognizant of October 1 as the typical effective date for staff salary increases; however, it is more realistic to expect that the date of any salary increases this year will be December 1, sooner if possible, and hopefully not later.

Once again, we greatly appreciate the many sacrifices of our staff this past year and hope that this announcement provides some comfort to our community for brighter days ahead.

With much gratitude,
Bill Gilligan, Interim President
Paul Dworkis, Chief Financial Officer

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