Yes, the School Committee has heard the request to pay Instructional Assistants a “living wage,” and responded with an offer that exceeds that threshold.
In the negotiations process, Andover IAs pointed to the MIT Living Wage calculator to provide the definition of a “living wage.” This calculator broadly considers a number of important factors and ultimately determines a per-hour living wage rate.
Per MIT, the living wage for an individual employee is $17.74 per hour statewide or $18.88 per hour for Essex county. In addition to other financial components, the School Committee has proposed hourly rates for the current school year of between $18.24 per hour (step 1) and $27.41 per hour (top step).
There are some nuances to the MIT methodology that are not directly comparable to Andover Instructional Assistants. For example, it would not be appropriate to translate MIT’s hourly rate into an expected annual living wage for Andover IA because MIT “consider(s) full-time work to be year-round, 40 hours per week for 52 weeks, per adult,” or 2,080 hours per year. IAs work approximately 62% of those total hours (1,288 or 1,274 hours per school year). Additionally, MIT estimates the typical Essex County employee pays $847 more per year on health insurance than the average Andover IA. Nonetheless, the MIT calculator provides a helpful metric in roughly defining an hourly living wage.