They have too many responsibilities for not enough pay

I’m happy to report that the hourly wage for desk receptionists will be increased to $9 an hour for the fall semester of 2023. That’s a step forward, but I still don’t believe this is enough compensation.

Here’s why:

The job is demanding; DRs watch who enters the building, sign in guests, call people with expiring visitation passes, put mail in mailboxes, function as mandated reporters and count every resident who re-enters the building after an evacuation, typically due to a fire alarm. 

They have an important job, and I think raising their pay provides the compensation they deserve.

Additionally, DRs who have multiple overnight shifts have an interrupted sleep schedule. Lack of sleep can negatively affect thinking, memory and decision-making. If DRs are experiencing this due to their late-night shifts, their education may suffer.

Since resident halls have 24/7 desk service, every DR must work overnight shifts and weekends. On the weekend, they are expected to work 11 hours for three days.

Paying DRs more money for late shifts would compensate them for their interrupted sleep schedule.

DRs do not get paid more for overnight and weekend shifts.

I spoke with several current DRs who said they deal with a lot on their shifts, especially angry people. Visitors can get frustrated with KU’s visitation rules, and they sometimes aggressively slam doors and verbally attack the DRs, which is jarring and difficult.

I propose DRs should be paid $10 an hour for shifts from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and $12 an hour for overnight shifts (10 p.m.-8 a.m.).

DRs work 10 hours per week on average. If the wage will be $9 an hour next semester, DRs will make $90. If the wage were increased to $10 an hour for most shifts, they would make a minimum of $100. In my opinion, increasing the weekly wage by at least $10 helps to compensate for these difficult duties.

Many people do not know how much work DRs complete, which is why some may believe the wage is okay.

Let’s compare DR pay rates to dining staff wages.  Currently, dining wages start at $12 an hour. For shifts that start at 6 p.m., the wage increases to $14. Shifts that start at 10 p.m. pay $16 an hour. These are all above the DR rate.

It seems important that both of these jobs be valued equally. Therefore, the university should increase funding for both, instead of just focusing on dining. Both positions require a lot of work, and increasing the DR wage by a few dollars should not take a lot of money away from the dining hall salaries.

Additionally, if dining workers get increased pay for later shifts, why can’t desk receptionists?

Desk receptionists have too many responsibilities to be making $9 an hour. KU should allocate funds so wages can increase to $10 an hour for regular shifts and $12 an hour for overnight shifts in order to compensate these student workers.

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