DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – In a Wednesday afternoon Twitter post, Duke University announced it will be upping its minimum wage threshold to $17 per hour, effective July 1.

“During the pandemic, frontline workers earned priority status for vaccination and other considerations due to the essential nature of their work,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for Administration. “At Duke we have recognized our frontline staff as essential for years by consistently providing a higher minimum wage.”

Duke’s current minimum wage is $15 per hour, which was established in 2019. The federal and state minimum wages remain at $7.25 per hour.

“At Duke, we are committed to providing a total compensation package that honors the commitment our staff members make to advance our missions of education, research and health care. That includes pay, as well as our continued investment in benefits such as health insurance, retirement, and paid time away that have made Duke one of the best places to work in the country.”

Daniel Ennis, executive vice president at Duke University

The new rates will apply to all regular University and Health System staff (those eligible staff working at least 20 hours a week/36 weeks per year). The move will increase pay rates for 3,100 staff members at Duke. Positions that are covered under a collective bargaining agreement will be addressed under the provision of the contract.

Duke has steadily increased its minimum wage in recent years, moving from $12 to $13 per hour in 2015, $14 per hour in 2018, and $15 per hour in 2019. With the planned changes in this year, the Duke minimum wage will have increased by more than 40 percent since 2015.

“We will continue to review all of our pay ranges annually relative to the local and national markets,” Cavanaugh said, “and we’ll make adjustments as needed.”