By: Olivia Krauth–
Resident assistants in U of L dorms will have a little less spending money next year. RAs will lose their hourly wage to keep the position compliant with the Affordable Care Act and the Fair Standards Labor Act.
According to a letter sent to current RAs in February, a team consisting of University officials and legal counsel have been working to make sure student employees meet the expectations listed in the legislation. The team decided to not place RAs on U of L payroll.
“Because we were putting them on payroll, we had to justify hours that they were working, and what we found was that there was question about whether or not they were being compliant with some of the legislation that’s out there for student and temporary workers,” said U of L Housing Director Shannon Staten.
Beginning in the fall 2015 semester, RAs will be designated as “student leaders” instead of employees. “We could really focus our RAs then on community support, resource and development,” Staten said. “You are not there to working the desk as an administrative desk assistant, you are there as a presence for community. There is a difference, and we are going to teach you that difference.”
They will still receive room and board, which will be labeled as a tuition waiver.
RAs currently work 13.25 hours a week at the desk, with an hourly rate of $7.25. Desk hours consisted of “administrative general tasks,” according to Staten. Next year, RAs will not work desk hours in the same fashion.
“RAs before were told they had to hold office hours up on their floor for so many hours a week so that their students will know where to find them,” Staten explained.
“We’ve made a decision to pull those office hours for support, we are calling it resource support, down to the lobby desk so that they can get to know the students in the rest of the building, so that they can kind of gauge the climate of the building, they can talk to students about events and programs, they can work on their door tags then if they want to and things like that.” Staten says RAs will still be at the desk for around three hours a week.
RAs can also participate in RSOs and hold another job on campus. To remain compliant with legislation, they cannot work more than 29 hours a week. The RA job counts for 20 hours – an average of hours worked during training and opening weeks.