GEE AND URSULA

Molly Moon’s Ice Cream adds childcare benefits for employees

May 12, 2023, 3:06 PM

Molly Moon's ice cream...

Molly Moon's Ice Cream. (mollymoon.com)

(mollymoon.com)

The founder and CEO of Molly Moon’s Ice Cream is taking an innovative approach to compensation. Molly Moon Neitzel is adding a childcare benefit. She has also gotten rid of tipping.

“This spring, we are adding one more benefit that is really crucial for parents, which is a child care benefit,” Neitzel explained on the Gee & Ursula Show. “So every parent that works for us, if they have a child that is too young to go to kindergarten, will start getting $1,000 a month in a childcare benefit to pay for childcare at a preschool or daycare, babysitters — any way that they can show us that they’re paying for childcare. At the same time, they come to work. And then if their kids are over the age that they can start kindergarten, we’re also going to continue to provide a benefit up to $4,000 a year so that parents can pay for after-school and summer care.”

Host Mike Lewis, filling in for Gee Scott, asked, “Are you getting any reaction from the staff that doesn’t have kids?”

“I actually think that our staff who don’t have kids are gaining something,” she said. “They are gaining co-workers who can cover their shifts, who can fully participate in our workforce, and who can be more team players because they know that they can find care for their kids.”

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Neitzel said one of the things really hard about childcare in the food and beverage industry is that daycare closes at 5 or 5:30 p.m., but a worker’s shift may end at 11 p.m.

“So getting a flexible childcare benefit for our employees means that they can pay a babysitter and work an evening shift,” she said. “So I think it’s great for everybody.”

Host Ursula Reutin asked, “What has this done for your bottom line? And has it forced you to raise prices?”

“I would say that the peers that I have in this industry with this size company, they’re all paying themselves about $200,000-300,000 more than I pay myself. That’s a choice that I’m making. I’m choosing to send more money not into my pocket and into employee benefits.”

Neitzel said Molly Moon’s will spend over $1 million on benefits for their 175 employees.

The decision to get rid of tips was based on real data.

“Tips are very inconsistent. And they make it hard to plan your life,” Neitzel said. “They also are really discriminatory. We did have tipping from 2008 through 2018.”

Neitzel said that when her team crunched the numbers, they found a lot of discrimination in how customers tipped.

“So folks who are not white are making a little more than $4 an hour less in tips than our employees who were white,” Neitzel explained. “Our big-bodied employees tended to make less money than our skinny employees. And I could go on and on. Removing tipping was the right thing to do.”

Neitzel explained to compensate for the loss in tips, the company added $4.50 an hour more to their paychecks. They also added a career path program.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Molly Moon’s Ice Cream adds childcare benefits for employees