The boss who put everyone on 70K
By Stephanie Hegarty
Published 28 February 2020
In 2015, the boss of a card payments company in Seattle introduced a $70,000 minimum salary for all of his 120 staff - and personally took a pay cut of $1m. Five years later he's still on the minimum salary, and says the gamble has paid off.
Dan Price was hiking with his friend Valerie in the Cascade mountains that loom majestically over Seattle, when he had an uncomfortable revelation.
As they walked, she told him that her life was in chaos, that her landlord had put her monthly rent up by $200 and she was struggling to pay her bills.
It made Price angry. Valerie, who he had once dated, had served for 11 years in the military, doing two tours in Iraq, and was now working 50 hours a week in two jobs to make ends meet.
"She is somebody for whom service, honour and hard work just defines who she is as a person," he says.
Even though she was earning around $40,000 a year, in Seattle that wasn't enough to afford a decent home. He was angry that the world had become such an unequal place. And suddenly it struck him that he was part of the problem.
At 31, Price was a millionaire. His company, Gravity Payments, which he set up in his teens, had about 2,000 customers and an estimated worth of millions of dollars. Though he was earning $1.1m a year, Valerie brought home to him that a lot of his staff must be struggling - and he decided to change that.......................
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