Breckenridge Grand Vacations invests $2.5 million into employees, raises minimum wage to $21.75 per hour
As cost of living and labor increases, Summit County businesses have hustled to keep up with the financial demands being placed on residents.
Whether they are increasing wages, building affordable housing or giving more paid time off and benefits, businesses are looking for ways to collect and retain their employees.
On Sept. 20, Breckenridge Grand Vacations announced a $2.5 million investment into its workforce.
Breckenridge Grand Vacations employees will now receive a baseline minimum wage of $21.75 per hour, paid volunteer time off, biannual bonuses, tuition reimbursement, a company matching 401(k) plan, merchant discounts and more.
The investment was funded by the company’s revenue, as well as the company’s managed homeowner associations, according to the news release.
“It just goes to show that they are completely invested in our community and in our workforce,” said Blair McGary, the executive director of the Summit Chamber of Commerce.
Breckenridge Grand Vacations CEO Mike Dudick said the goal of the $2.5 million investment was to create more sustainable wages for employees.
“The most important thing we can do in terms of investing on behalf of our employees is make sure that they are paid a livable, sustainable wage to work in Summit County,” Dudick added.
Even with Breckenridge Grand Vacation’s base rate of $21.75 per hour, the salary adds up to approximately $45,240 per year. That’s $13,000 less than the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s low income level for a one person household in Summit County, which is $58,000, according to a report issued by Summit County Housing Authority.
But Dudick believes a sustainable career doesn’t stop with money.
“We think that base hourly wage is a foundational part to someone’s either retention or their recruitment, but it’s not the be all and end all,” he added.
In addition to wages, Dudick wants to make affordable housing a priority.
A workforce housing development for Breckenridge Grand Vacations employees was approved in April, and it will bring 66 more units to the town of Breckenridge. Eventually, Dudick’s long term goal is to procure at least 200 bedrooms for his workers.
In the meantime, however, Dudick aims to ease housing worries through wage increases, he said.
“What matters is … the paycheck they get every other Friday is meaningful, and they don’t have to stress about paying their rent or buying groceries,” Dudick said.
According to Housing and Urban Development’s rule of thumb when it comes to budgeting for housing costs, renters should try not to spend more than a third of their gross annual income on rent each year. For Breckenridge Grand Vacations employees, that means they could spend about $1,244 on rent per month without going over budget.
In 2018, the average rent for Summit County residents was $957, according to a recent housing needs study that was conducted by Summit County government. But since then, housing prices have gone up.
In 2018, the average price of a single family home in Summit County was about $1,914,672, according to Land Title Guarantee Co. In 2021, the price increased to $3,350,302.
While affordable housing is in important goal to strive for, there are other benefits that employees at Breckenridge Grand Vacations receive.
Employees have earned 24 hours of paid volunteer time off. That means any employee can volunteer time to the community without missing pay.
For example, Dudick said one Breckenridge Grand Vacations employee reads to a local with cerebral palsy twice a week and is compensated by the company for that time.
“It’s very important to us as a company — philosophically — that our employees embrace the idea of giving back to the community,” Dudick said.
With almost 700 employees, Breckenridge Grand Vacations is a business leader in Summit County, McGary said. Considering their leadership within Summit County, Dudick said he is happy to set the example.
“We said, we’re going to be the best …” Dudick said. “And then we’re going to have all of these other benefits that not very many employers in the community provide to their staff. We’re going to not only provide the best starting wage, we’re going to have the best benefit package as well.”
McGary was impressed with how far Breckenridge Grand Vacations went provide for their employees.
“People love working for them,” McGary said. “It’s amazing what they do for our community.”
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