Gravity Payments Sets a Happy Standard for Minimum Wage; It’s Equal Pay Day – So Help Do Something About It!; Why Tax Day Doesn’t Have to be Taxing

To whom should I submit my resume?

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s a good day to be a minimum wage worker at Gravity Payments. The CEO and founder of the Seattle-based credit card payment processing company, Dan Price is generously – very generously – going to be giving most of his staff of 120 really big raises. I mean REALLY BIG. Mr. Price decided all this after he read an article about a study detailing how income affects happiness. The magical number, or rather salary, at which people’s happiness takes hold is a little more than $70,000. So Gravity Payments decided to set its minimum wage at $70,000 a year. The average salary there was (as of Friday, anyway) $48,000 a year, with minimum wage employees already earning more than the federal minimum wage. But now more than 30 people will now get at least double what they are already making. Mr. Price will pay for all these new raises by reducing his salary by $1 million and also using a big chunk of the company’s $2.2 million profit.  Mr. Price does’t see this as a loss, or even as charity. Instead, the prescient CEO sees it as an investment, as happy employees are conducive to happy clients and attract more business.  And what’s not happy about that?

While we’re on the topic of income inequality…

Image courtesy of  2nix/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of 2nix/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s not only the day before Tax day, today also marks Equal Pay Day. Patricia Arquette was spot on in her Oscars acceptance speech which had more to do with income inequality than…well, thanking her very well compensated team. Too bad Ms. Arquette wasn’t armed with the latest report from the National Partnership for Women and Families  at the time. Women “lose more than $490 billion to the wage gap every year.” But that’s just the dismal wretched beginning. On average, women as a whole make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes in the same job. Have kids? That takes it down another penny. But it only gets worse as African American women make 64 cents on the dollar while Latinas only earn 56 cents on the dollar. Single mothers, whose struggles are infinitely higher, make 58 cents for every dollar a man makes. Mad enough now? Help change things. Click here.

Not that you needed to be reminded…

Image courtesy of vectorolie/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of vectorolie/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’re just hours away from the dreaded Tax Day as gazillions of Americans are getting ready to submit all the tedious details about their fiscal activities. But take comfort in knowing that businesses across the United States are offering the tax-weary all sorts of nifty discounts, coupons and somewhat generous offers. Need a tax extension? Instead of getting a penalty for filing late, get yourself a coupon for an extension. Both E-File.com and TaxExtension are graciously offering discounts of 15-20% off those pesky extension filings. Given this whole emotionally taxing situation, HydroMassage is also offering a coupon for a free massage. But don’t wait. It’s only good through April 17 and I am pretty sure there are no extensions for that one. If all this fiscal drudgery has your appetite on overdrive, there are a bunch of eateries offering all kinds of offers and discounts. McDonalds has a “buy one get one for one cent” on Big Macs and Quarter Pounders. More of a whopper fan? Burger King’s also got a “buy one get one free” deal on those burgers. If Boston Market’s more your thing, then go with a friend  – or not – to buy one dinner and get the second one free. In select Hard Rock Cafes your singing skills, provided you have any, might get you some free grub between 5-7 pm. As for all those trees that were sacrificed in the name of preparing your tax returns, Staples, Office Depot and OfficeMax stores are offering to shed between 2-5 lbs. of documents and other pieces of paper you’d be happy never to see again.

Michael Bolton: IRS = Anus of Our Country; NY AG Schneiderman Takes Issues With Shifty Shift Practices; Rank and File: Airlines Get Graded

How am I supposed to live without you?

Image courtesy of hywards/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of hywards/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With tax day on Wednesday, John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight thoughtfully explained our national aversion to taxes and the IRS: namely, they involve “someone taking our money and math.” To further complicate things and strengthen our aversion, Congress has drastically cut funding to the IRS, causing activity at the agency to come to an almost virtual standstill. Mr. Oliver urged us to redirect our anger, rage and frustration at Congress and not the folks at the IRS who perform “a dangerously boring job.” So what better way to pay tribute to the IRS than to call it the “anus of our country” which is precisely what, crooner Michael Bolton did, on John Oliver’s show, when he sang a not-so-moving ballad that was sort of meant to be a show  “… of reluctant support for their appropriate funding.”  To help taxpayers truly grasp the anus/IRS comparison, Mr. Oliver articulately explained that we should, “Think of our government as a body. The IRS is the anus: It’s nobody’s favorite part, but you need that thing working properly or everything goes to s–t real quick.” Pure poetry.

Oh shift!

Image courtesy of  iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

More than a dozen retailers are getting probed for some shifty shift scheduling practices that are not only downright rude, but according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, might just be illegal, as well. The practice in question, dubbed”on-call shifts” basically lets hourly wage employees know if they will be working only hours before they need to show up for work. The practice is not cool for so many reasons. First, for many employees, the practice does not give them ample time to make care-giving arrangements for children and and elders in their care. “On-call shifts” also don’t allow for employees to make other arrangements for alternative sources of income.  If an employee reports for work for which they had been scheduled, then according to New York State law, that employee is entitled to be paid for four hours of work at basic minimum wage. Some of the big retailers who were sent letters about their shift scheduling practices include Target, The Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, J.C. Penney and J. Crew.

Would you like some pretzels with that?

Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The 25th annual Airline Quality Report is out and the least shocking observation on it is Virgin America taking the top spot for the third year in a row. If you’ve ever flown Virgin America, and also American Airlines, then you’ll clearly see why Virgin America gets the top spot while American – which merged with US Airways – doesn’t. However, American still managed to snag the number seven spot. A bit high, if you ask me. In fact, I am shocked that American isn’t in last place. Its regionally operated Envoy/American Eagle airline does place last, though. Yikes. The report, which measures airline performance quality, takes into account four major aspects – or as the pros say “core elements”: on-time performance, involuntary denied boardings, mishandled baggage and customer complaints. No doubt, if the AQR measured how travelers were treated, I am certain American/US Airways would have claimed the last spot. In any case, Hawaiian Airlines came in at number. Too bad it doesnt fly anywhere I need to go. Delta took the number three spot, the only large carrier to break into the top four, while some were left scratching their heads over JetBlue’s fourth place ranking, since the airline came in second last year.