Policies and Initiatives:  Living Wage and Benefit Guidelines

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Explanation of Policy

Since September 1, 2007, Stanford University has recognized the importance of paying a living wage to all service workers at Stanford, whether they are directly employed by Stanford or by suppliers / contractors. This applies to services performed on the core campus premises (including the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) that Stanford might otherwise perform with directly hired hourly paid employees. This applies to supplier / contractor employees not represented under a collective bargaining relationship.

Stanford further recognizes that a living wage and other benefits enhance the quality of an individual's work experience. Stanford already pays a living wage to its employees and now adopts this living wage and benefit policy to guide its procurement of such services from suppliers / contractors. Through these guidelines, Stanford seeks to establish minimum pay, access to healthcare benefits and compensated time off for service workers. These guidelines are not intended to prevent suppliers / contractors from providing wages and benefits in excess of the minimums created here.

The wage guidelines are two tiered, with an identified minimum living wage established if the employer provides a health plan, and a higher minimum living wage required if no health benefits are provided. The living wage is set at a minimum as noted below:

Minimum Living Wage Rate
Effective Dates With Health Benefits Without Health Benefits
10/01/2018 – $15.31 $17.40
10/01/2017 – 09/30/2018 $14.55 $16.54
10/01/2016 – 09/30/2017 $14.06 $15.97
10/01/2015 – 09/30/2016 $13.65 $15.50
10/01/2014 – 09/30/2015 $13.25 $15.05
10/01/2013 – 09/30/2014 $12.85 $14.60
10/01/2012 – 09/30/2013 $12.40 $14.10
09/01/2011 – 09/30/2012 $11.98 $13.63
09/01/2010 – 08/31/2011 $11.88 $13.49
09/01/2009 – 08/31/2010 $11.70 $13.37
09/01/2007 – 08/31/2009 $11.15 $12.59

The guidelines establish at least 10 compensated days off annually for full time employees who have worked for the supplier / contractor for at least one year. This includes holidays and other paid time off such as vacations, sick and personal days.

In addition, suppliers / contractors shall comply with state and federal law in providing employees with a safe working environment that is free from unlawful discrimination and harassment.

When Stanford changes suppliers / contractors, it will encourage the new supplier / contractor to fill any existing vacancies by interviewing and considering for hire qualified employees of the previous supplier / contractor.

Stanford further recognizes that federal law provides that "employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities..." Stanford will continue to honor these rights.

The wage and benefit levels set under these guidelines will be reviewed on an annual basis and adjusted as appropriate based on recommendations from University Human Resources. The recommendations will be submitted to the President for his final decision.

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These guidelines will apply to suppliers / contractors whose employees provide any services, including but not limited to, maintenance, grounds keeping, housing and food services, and general administrative jobs directly to Stanford University* when all of the following conditions apply:

  • The workers are employees of suppliers / contractors with agreements with Stanford University.
  • Such workers are regular or temporary employees of the supplier / contractor.
  • Such workers are not represented under any existing collective bargaining relationship.
  • The aggregate value of the contract(s) exceeds $100,000 per year. Note: This means that single suppliers / contractors with several small contracts that are individually smaller than $100,000 but when totaled are at or above $100,000 will be covered by this policy.

*  Excludes tenants or other entities doing business on Stanford owned land. This includes Stanford Hospital and Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

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  • These guidelines will be made applicable to Requests for Proposals that are sent out after the adoption of this policy.
  • For existing contracts, they will be made applicable upon the renewal, after expiration of contracts, or if contract extensions are requested.
  • All such contracts entered into by Stanford will contain a clause that states that the supplier / contractor has been given a copy of the living wage and benefit guidelines and certifies compliance with those guidelines. Supplier / contractor represents and warrants that it will comply with The Guidelines as amended by the University from time to time. Supplier / contractor acknowledges that failure to comply with The Guidelines will be deemed a material breach of any Contract entered into by Stanford with supplier / contractor. Supplier / contractor agrees to provide in a timely manner upon University's written request, but in any event not more than 10 business days, written evidence of compliance satisfactory to the University. Failure to comply is deemed a material breach of the contract. Supplier / contractor will agree to provide evidence of compliance as requested by Stanford.
  • Because these are new guidelines, there may be unforeseen circumstances where an exception is appropriate, upon a finding that special circumstances necessitate it or because additional wages or benefits provided to the workers satisfy the intent of the living wage requirement. Such exceptions are expected to be rare.
  • Stanford will establish two levels of suppliers / contractors as it relates to the Living Wage Policy:
    • Level One or "Preferred Suppliers" are suppliers / contractors who agree to all of the provisions of the Living Wage Policy regardless of the defined exceptions. The preferred status supplier / contractor explicitly agrees to pay these wages without exception.
    • Level Two or "Compliant Suppliers" are suppliers / contractors who agree to all provisions of the Living Wage Policy (which includes certain exceptions).

    Although the Compliant Suppliers have agreed to follow the Living Wage Policy, Stanford Departments are encouraged to use the Preferred Suppliers due to their additional commitment to the Policy. Stanford departments that choose to hire a supplier / contractor not on the preferred list must document the reasons for that decision and obtain approval from their manager. Modest differences in price should not be the sole reason for using a supplier / contractor not on the preferred list.

  • Departments can encourage suppliers / contractors to become a "Compliant" or "Preferred" supplier by completing and returning the appropriate Living Wage Verification Form with signature, including a report that details the workers that the supplier / contractor currently provides on campus. If possible, the supplier / contractor should include names, rates, effective dates, PO number or contracting Stanford department. Once submitted, the supplier / contractor will be added to the Living Wage Compliant or Preferred Contractors List.

    For Compliant Suppliers / Contractors:

    For Preferred Suppliers / Contractors:

See also Stanford Report News article on the adoption of a living wage policy.

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