Gravity Payments Raises Its Minimum Wage to $70,000 A Year — Here's Hoping Other Companies Step Up

Remember when people were freaking out over Walmart raising its minimum wage to $10? It just got shown up big-time — a company called Gravity Payments raised its minimum wage to $70,000 a year. Hey, if this trend of companies one-upping each other's minimum wage continues, maybe we'll have an actual, livable minimum wage across the country by, say, the end of the century. Now that's what I call progress.Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price first came up with the idea after reading an article describing a study that found money can buy happiness — and $70,000 is the price tag, The New York Times reports. While it's safe to say most business owners would spare little more than a few moments imagining what they would have to do in order to raise their workers' wages, Price astonished everyone by announcing his plans to set a new minimum wage on Monday. None were more surprised than his 120-person staff, even the most junior of whom can now look forward to making as much as the CEO within three years. You read that correctly; in order to implement the new wage, Price is cutting his own salary to $70,000. According to the Times, he's also using 75 to 80 percent of the company's profits to pay for the increase.

<img title="Image: http://media.giphy.com/media/dsKnRuALlWsZG/giphy.gif" class="article-body-image" src="http://media.giphy.com/media/dsKnRuALlWsZG/giphy.gif" alt="the office animated GIF "/>

Although it's a drastic decrease from his former salary of about $1 million, it won't require too much of a lifestyle change for Price. "I think CEO pay is out of whack," he told ABC News. "I may have to scale back a bit, but nothing I'm not willing to do." He has been driving the same Audi for the past 12 years, and he owns a three-bedroom home, according to ABC News, and he told the Times that his usual vices are "snowboarding and picking up the bar tab." It's not exactly the luxurious, jet-setting lifestyles you typically associate with CEOs, is it?Those lavish lifestyles are attainable thanks to the unbelievable wage gap between CEOs and workers in the United States. According to a study last year, Americans believe that CEOs make around 30 times more than the average employee, but in reality, they make more than 350 times their workers' incomes, The Washington Post reports. According to the same study, CEOs are better paid in the United States than anywhere else in the world, by a margin of almost $5 million. The average American CEO's salary is $12 million, while the next highest income is $7 million for CEOs in Switzerland. Switzerland is also the country with the second biggest wage gap between executives and workers, and they make just 148 times the average employee.

<img title="Image: http://media.giphy.com/media/o8bK8Qx05v19S/giphy.gif" class="article-body-image" src="http://media.giphy.com/media/o8bK8Qx05v19S/giphy.gif" alt="unimpressed animated GIF "/>Despite efforts by the government to increase transparency, the Securities and Exchange Commission has yet to enforce measures requiring the ratio of CEO to worker income to be released to the public, the Times reports. According to Price, the wage gap is "absurd," although there are no laws in place to force him to pay a higher wage. "As much as I’m a capitalist, there is nothing in the market that is making me do it," he told the Times. Is anyone else thinking Google has a competitor for best place to work? Let's hope Gravity Payments' HR department is prepared for the job applications to come flooding in.

Images: Giphy (2)