In recognition of the unique circumstances of the past year and the financial challenges felt by many members of the Dartmouth community, employees earning up to $150,000 will be given a special payment of $1,000, before taxes.
Additionally, eligible faculty and regular non-union staff will receive merit increases in the coming fiscal year. Annual merit increases were not given last year due to the financial difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the financial outlook having improved significantly, a merit pool of 2.5% has been established for staff pay increases. (Union members will receive pay increases according to the terms of their contract.)
Hourly employees will see the increases in their paychecks on June 25, salaried employees will receive the increases in their July 1 checks.
“This has been a challenging year for all of us, but for some community members the economic stress has been acute,” says Executive Vice President Rick Mills. “The special payment is one way we can express our gratitude and say thanks.”
At the start of the pandemic, it would have been impossible to anticipate being able to give employees merit increases or a special payment one year later. In March 2020, the pandemic was spreading rapidly around the globe. Almost overnight, society faced a public health crisis that quickly caused a financial one.
In a message to the community on March 27, 2020, President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 captured the economic anxiety of the moment. “The U.S. is experiencing an economic downturn of nearly unprecedented proportions,” he wrote. “Earlier this week, Fortune magazine reported that Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs were predicting a 30% annualized decline in GDP in the second quarter while The Economist projected that unemployment will rocket to 12.8% from 3.5% in February.”
At Dartmouth, the combination of the virus and the anticipated economic damage it could bring led to reductions in revenue and an increase in expenses, creating extraordinary financial challenges. Dartmouth prepared for the worst through a series of measures: Hiring and wages were frozen; strategic, non-compensation expenses were cut dramatically; capital projects were delayed; and The Call to Lead campaign rallied private contributions to support the increase in student demand for financial aid.
“A year ago, with the economy in trouble, we did not expect to achieve the level of financial stability we currently have,” says Provost Joseph Helble. “Through the commitment and tireless effort of so many, we are coming out of the pandemic in the unexpected position of now being able to express our gratitude to all of our employees.
”It’s a great relief to be looking forward to more normal operation and anticipating the return of students, faculty, and staff by the fall. We couldn’t have come through this last year as well as we have without our dedicated employees,“ Helble says.
For the most recent information on Dartmouth’s response to the pandemic, visit the Dartmouth Together COVID-19 website.
Susan J. Boutwell can be reached at email@example.com.