I’m here to lift the lid on what we are actually paid, the salary if you will. I see too often blogs and people moaning about it. ‘oh its shit pay’ and ‘the pay isn’t even worth looking at’ and they usually quickly follow it up with ‘you do get a free lift pass and stuff so it’s not too bad’ – NOONE EVER TALKS NUMBERS!
What is it with people…why is everyone so afraid to talk about wages and salaries in society. ESPECIALLY whilst being a chalet couple or host…everyone already knows you are not there for the money! These ski companies have to make as much money as they can in a very short time frame…your lifestyle and well-being means as much to them as their values and traditions do to you and therefore they will pay you the absolute minimum! (it actually works out far far less than that but hey, I’m not a human rights lawyer!).
We are here to change that and break everything down for you. But we’ll let you into a little secret first.
…That season long lift pass is NOT free…you still pay for it!
Yup, that’s right, everyone’s a lying bastard.
Okay so I’m only giving you this from one perspective and one ski company. But we are offered £665 per month as basic pay. Sounds doable right? I mean, if you work back in the UK you have to minus all your bills etc out your pay and I don’t know about you but I live near London and at the end of the month I’ll be lucky to have this number left! But oohhh no. There’s a reason it’s called basic pay. It really is a little basic bitch…
Now we are into the juicy stuff!
I’ll start with the ones people usually forget – tax. Think you stop paying UK tax because you’re living it up in a scene from Frozen? Nah. You’re paid into a UK bank account. And you would have lived there for at least the previous 6 months of the tax year (unless you’re a lucky sod who also did some summer seasonaire work – screw you!). Therefore, you still have pay a lovely 20% on that, plus National Insurance (another way to lump nearly 20% extra tax on your pay).
Now, this is assuming in the last 6 months you’ve had a job that paid up to your personal allowance (currently £11000). If, you’re coming straight from uni/college then you won’t be taxed anywhere near as much…if any! You lucky forward thinking, job dodging, tax looping, smart arse. Lets call it a cool £200 for the rest of us though.
Next, wouldn’t want an accident and not be covered right? That shits expensive. Long live the NHS and all that because foreign hospitals just don’t get it. Go in with a headache and you’ll come out with 7 injections, 4 blood tests, an X-ray, MRI and a finger up your ass. They aren’t stupid those medics, they know what pays. And hopefully it’s your insurance company, not you. A decent one will set you back at least £45 a month.
Of course, the lure of a chalet couple role and the like is the free stuff right? Wrong. Ski hire. Heavily discounted but still £30 a month. This includes a tune up every so often but get pally with the crew in the ski shop and they may give you top of the range gear.
And then the fun part. The lift pass isn’t free. Again, it can be heavily discounted dependent on where you are based, but its not free. With our company we have the option of a few places. The best offers a £1000 discount on a season pass and comes in at around £75 a month. The worse only manages a measly £300 discount and costs a whopping £165 a month. The worst part is we don’t even get a say on where we are based so our monthly wage could take a whopping.
Lets break that down then;
Tax and NI: -£200
Ski Hire: -£30
Lift Pass: -£75/-£165
Now, to work out our hourly wage, we’ll need to work out how much we work. Say you’re in the kitchen by 7am cooking breakfast. After clearing up, cleaning the chalet, baking a cake and setting the afternoon tea, you may be out by 11. That’s 4 hours’ work, times that by 5 days a week equals 20 hours in the morning.
Plus the evening. Back from skiing around 6 to prep dinner, serve a 3 course meal, wash up and bugger off. Maybe done by 10:30pm?. That’s 4.5 hours. 5 times a week equals 22 hours in the evening.
There’s a reason I said 5 days a week. The dreaded handover day makes up the 6th. You can work up to a solid 14 hours on this day. I will be lenient though and say 11 for arguments sake.
So that’s; 20+22+11 = 53 hour week. 53 x 4 equals 212 hours a month. I’d say this is lenient too. And at the start of your season when you’re getting used to everything expect many more…
Pay per hour
So, let’s pretend we're working in the resort that’s heavily discounted on the lift pass;
£320per month divided by 212 working hours = £1.50. That’s right. Your net, take home, beer token, slip it in your pocket, MONEY PER HOUR WORKED equals £1.50.
Lap it up.
Remember how you got there? And getting home? = Free flights. Free transfers.
Remember what you’re eating? Free food. Glorious food.
That’s why you live off tips! Tips save a chalet couple/chalet host/seasonaire! So If you’re reading this and you’re about to go on a catered ski chalet holiday, give the guys working a break. Give them a tip. Share your beers and let them party – I guarantee they’ll make your holiday the best yet ;)