Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Five Years After Setting a $70,000 Minimum Salary, a Look at Its Effects on Gravity Payments’ Employees

Five years ago, Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments, announced to media fanfare that he would be setting a minimum employee wage of $70,000. He cut his own salary to match.

Stephanie Hegarty of the BBC followed up with Price on the effects of his decision:

“Before the $70,000 minimum wage, we were having between zero and two babies born per year amongst the team,” he says.

“And since the announcement – and it’s been only about four-and-a-half years – we’ve had more than 40 babies.”

More than 10% of the company have been able to buy their own home, in one of the US’s most expensive cities for renters. Before the figure was less than 1%.

Hegarty also reports that employees have contributed far more to their pensions, the working environment has improved for staff across levels of seniority, and the company has hired more people.

“You’re not thinking I have to go to work because I have to make money,” Rosita Barlow agrees. “Now it’s become focused on ‘How do I do good work?'”

There are ways in which Price’s story is far more complicated than the glowing press he frequently receives, and I do not think that should be ignored. But it does not invalidate the goodness that has resulted from paying employees a solid living wage.

I know a lot of the things that I write about here are bleak and miserable. I see my role as being a useful element of friction between the vast universe of news and the things I think are important, and a fair chunk of what’s important right now is not particularly positive. But I thought this was a heartwarming story that, hopefully, assuages the times I pointed out that the FCC are cowards and that iOS is aggressively self-promotional.