While a campaign is underway in B.C. to raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars, a Seattle company is going to pay its employees at least $70,000 a year.
Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments, made the announcement on Monday that he will help finance the new minimum wage by cutting his own remuneration from $1 million a year, down to the $70,000 mark.
- 'Fight for $15' protests focus agenda on low-wage jobs
- Canada's minimum-wage workers deserve more money, more respect
- B.C. minimum wage to be tied to the province's Consumer Price Index
Price says his goal isn't to make money, but to make a difference.
"I really do view everything I do as a responsibility and seeing growing inequality and how it is harder to just make ends meet and live the normal American dream," said Price. "Things are getting more expensive, especially in a city like Seattle and the wages aren't keeping up."
Price had been planning the change over the past few weeks, but wanted to surprise everyone at the end of the quarter.
"I could see the faces of everyone. Jaws were dropping, people were hugging, high fiving. There was a standing round of applause for him," said Maria Harley, VP of operations at Gravity Payments.
Harley says employees told her how much their new salary would change their lives.
"I've heard things from, 'I can finally afford to move out of my parent's home,' 'I can finally afford to have a baby', we have some people that are parents and really want a good education for their children and feel like they can finally afford that."
Before the announcement, the lowest salary at the company hovered around $34,000 per year.
Harley says raising the company's minimum wage is also going to be good for business.
"We're optimistic about the return on investment. We've already got thousands upon thousands of inquiries of people saying we want to support your business, we want to do business with you," said Harley.
Since the company made the announcement, it has received over 5000 resumes in just one day.
Harley thinks the benefits of increasing compensation outweighs the costs, but every business is different.
"It's definitely a risk and it's one you just have to take a leap on when you are ready."