A couple of years ago a Seattle company, Gravity Payments, set their minimum salary at $70,000. They thought $15 per hour wasn’t good enough. The move made national news where there were great debates based on speculations about the implications. And then, the media moved on. In the meantime, the paychecks continued and began to have their effect.
KOMO News checked in to see what is happening and found some intriguing results.
Babies happened, but not immediately. Young couples are trying to deal with various debts. Make some extra money, pay down the debt, and raising a family becomes more affordable. Someone’s going to need a bigger house, maybe their first.
Commutes shorten. The classic tradeoff between affordable housing and a realistic commute means many people move outside the city and commute back in. For some, more money meant living closer to work, spending less time traveling, and having more time left over for living.
Health improves, at least for one person. One employee lost 100 pounds. Better pay can mean buying healthier food, or finding time and money for a gym or exercise gear. Drop money worries and drop stress.
This is only one company, but the people supply several stories. As trends go, it isn’t much to extrapolate from; but it is an indication that making the area more affordable can lead to shifts from single room apartments to houses, long drives to short bus rides or walks, and healthier lives.
As for the company, employee turn-over is down, which suggests training costs are down and productivity possibly improving. Wins all around.