We've invented a system called “Team takes” to solve the problem of compensating voluntary labor. Essentially, in our solution, everyone sets their own compensation. Our first version of this system worked great! Now we are revamping it to better fit with existing tax and labor law. Stay tuned! :-)
The essence of Gratipay's payroll system is that everyone publicly sets their own compensation, or “take.” Similar to pay-what-you-want on the payments side, Gratipay introduces “take-what-you-want” on the payroll side.
The owner of a Team adds ~users as “members,” which sets their weekly take to a penny, and can remove members, which is a safeguard against abuse of the system. However, once a ~user is a member of a Team, only that ~user can increase their take above a penny a week, or reduce it once it's been increased (apart from the nuclear option of removing the ~user).
Gratipay's payroll system optimizes compensation of voluntary labor. In a voluntary organization—by definition—each member has control of their labor inputs. Gratipay payroll complements this with control over their monetary withdrawals. By giving the individual control over both variables, Gratipay provides for the resolution of the individual resentment and guilt that otherwise build up when mixing money with voluntary labor. Feeling burned out? Take more money, or do less work. Not pulling your weight? Take less money, or do more work.
It is normal for payroll to gradually get out of balance over time, for some people to end up taking too much and others too little. Team managers should view payroll imbalances as vital indicators of underlying social issues on the Team, and address those issues at the social level. Once the social issues are addressed, the payroll will naturally rebalance to reflect the new social reality of the Team. A healthy Team is built on trust, and trusting each other with money is a powerful cause and effect of mutual trust.
What About Tax and Labor Law? ¶
Voluntary organizations such as open-source projects are often only loosely organized. Owning a Gratipay Team, by contrast, introduces weightier duties and responsibilities governed by tax and labor law. The challenge we face is building out a system that is robust enough to be legal, and simple enough to be accessible.
Team owners signing up now should be prepared to accept the yet-to-be-fully-determined burden associated with payroll once we do bring it back. Caveat emptor.
What if my Team doesn't have any revenue to share? ¶
Gratipay's payroll is about sharing out of your Team's abundance, so it doesn't apply if your Team has no revenue available to share with contributors. Every Team when it's just starting out will take some time to generate enough revenue to compensate people for their labor. Some Teams may take especially long, for example, a coworking space where the money primarily goes towards rent and other expenses. A good rule of thumb is that if anyone is taking payroll for their labor, then anyone else may take payroll for their labor.
Who takes first? ¶
In our original experiment, the last person added to a Team was the first person to take payroll each week (and take growth was throttled so they couldn't take all the money and run). We'll probably add more flexibility here so that company founders can be guaranteed they'll get their take before sharing with others.
How do I use Gratipay to distribute payroll? ¶
How do I take money from a Team? ¶
Right now, the only one who can take money from a Team is the Team's owner. The Team's owner takes 100% of the Team's revenue each week.
How do I add members to my Team's payroll? ¶
You can't yet.
When is payroll run? ¶
We process payroll once a week, on Thursdays. You can watch along each week.
What currencies do you support? ¶
We pay out in USD.
What payout methods do you support? ¶
We are able to deliver funds to Team owners via PayPal. In fact, you must connect a PayPal account to your ~user account via Gratipay Payment Routes page before you can apply for a Team.
What are the payout fees? ¶
PayPal charges a 2% fee, capped at a $1 fee for U.S. accounts, and $20 for non-U.S. accounts. We assess this fee at cost upon payout.
There may be foreign exchange and/or other fees involved in withdrawing funds from PayPal to your bank.
Gratipay itself is funded on Gratipay. We don't take a cut.
What are the payout limits? ¶
Our minimum payout is 50¢. We pool your money for you week to week until you reach the minimum. There is no maximum.
Do I have to pay taxes on the income I receive from Gratipay? ¶