It’s no secret. MSEA’s education support professionals in every job category are underpaid. The economy, though showing some signs of recovery, remains a serious concern for workers across the board.
Many hardworking ESPs, from custodians and school secretaries to instructional assistants and school nurses, already struggle to enjoy the quality of life a full-time, 40-hour per week job should offer.
Many Marylanders who work full-time fall well below the poverty level, prompting some counties to pass living wage ordinances. It’s a start but thousands of workers in Maryland remain grossly underpaid.
A living wage can enable an education support professional (ESP) to survive on one full-time job, without support from relatives or government agencies, and have time left over for a real personal and family life. A living wage is sufficient to pay for the basic needs in a given community—including food, housing, transportation, health care, child care, clothing, taxes, personal necessities, and even some modest savings.
A “basic needs budget” is the total of these expenses, calculated monthly and adjusted according to family size, work status of adults in the household, and regional variations in costs.
Using estimates of a monthly living wage, members of Association bargaining teams, UniServ staff, and lobbyists can break the numbers down to several different hourly wage figures, reflecting the length of the ESP workday, workweek, and school year.