What Do We Do About Over­worked Non­profit Work­ers?

The HR Digest - - Content Features -

At the be­gin­ning of 2016, the Depart­ment of La­bor signed one of the most con­se­quen­tial up­date to the fed­eral rules on over­time. The new rules dou­bled the salary thresh­old for guar­an­teed over­time pay, from $23,000 to $47,400. The rules went into ef­fect in De­cem­ber, ben­e­fit­ing mil­lions of em­ploy­ees who ear­lier made less than guar­an­teed over­time pay un­der the law when they work more than 40 hours a week.

Un­fa­vor­able re­ac­tion came from an un­ex­pected source: a non­profit called the U.S. Public In­ter­est Re­search Group (PIRG).

“Dou­bling the min­i­mum salary to $47,476 is es­pe­cially un­re­al­is­tic for non-profit, cause-ori­ented or­ga­ni­za­tions,” U.S. PIRG said in a state­ment. “To cover higher staffing costs forced upon us un­der the rule, we will be forced to hire fewer staff and limit the hours those staff can work—all while the well-funded spe­cial in­ter­ests that we’re up against will sim­ply spend more.”

Even though a lot of non­prof­its sup­port the new over­time rules, over 300,000 com­ments were posted to Reg­u­la­tions.gov, where non­prof­its ex­pressed their dis­ap­proval. Non­prof­its in­clud­ing Col­lege and Univer­sity Pro­fes­sional As­so­ci­a­tion for Hu­man Re­sources, Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity, and the YMCA of the USA.

In a 2013 re­port, the Ur­ban In­sti­tute sur­veyed over 4,000 non­prof­its across the U.S. and found that a ma­jor­ity strug­gled with dif­fi­culty se­cur­ing fund­ing for the cost of their ser­vices, de­lays in pay­ment for con­tracts, and other fi­nan­cial set­backs.

More­over, a lot of non­prof­its de­pend on gov­ern­ment fund­ing, and have an­nual

bud­gets of less than $1 mil­lion. While, they’re ex­pected to per­form like busi­nesses, they do not get the same lee­way that gov­ern­ment-con­tracted busi­nesses do. Many are ex­pected to meet fi­nan­cial chal­lenges by squeez­ing more work out of their work­ers without a sub­stan­tial in­crease in their pay. In fact, a lot of non­prof­its choose to cut wages, ben­e­fits, and other costs to scale back to their op­er­a­tions. The dis­sent over re­cent fed­eral rules speaks vol­umes about the non­prof­its cul­ture where staffs’ needs are put be­hind mis­sion-driven am­bi­tions.

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