• Like most issues in life, this one is complicated. I don’t know of any non-profit that does not want to pay their employees a decent living wage. However, there are so MANY different kinds of non-profits and each face different challenges. My organization provides community based and residential treatment services 24/7 to youth in foster care and juvenile justice. It is a service that local government must provide and elects to do so by contracting with organizations like mine. However, while government benefits from our commitment to mission and ability to be more cost-effective (i.e. cheaper) than if they provided these services themselves, they also set the regulations we must meet as well as the funding levels they will pay us to provide these services. About 97% of my $50 mm budget is government funding. We do our best to raise private funds but what we do is looked at by many as the reason why they pay taxes!

    I cannot just reduce my staffing because then I would not be meeting staffing ratios and levels that government requires AND that insure the safety and well-being of the youth we work with. We advocate for adequate funding from government but we all know how that goes! In NY, we just went through 7 years with no increase in funding and now we are just starting to see slight COLA increases. We end up not being able to pay better wages and then struggle with staff turnover that affects the quality of what we do and the cycle continues. Many of my staff are eligible for OT and we pay it and this is built into the funding we receive. The new Federal regs will include many more staff in this category but to date NY has chosen to look the other way. We will continue to push government to pay for the work we provide on their behalf while also staying focused on our work and our mission. We work between the rock and the hard place.
    Gerard McCaffery
    CEO, MercyFirst

  • Karin

    While I understand the intent of this law the only thing it is doing at my non-profit is taking away one of the main benefits of working there: flex time. We don’t make very much, but we are a small organization and are paid as much as possible. Since our pay is low the organization makes it up in other ways, the chief one being flextime. If I have used up all my vacation time but still want to go visit my family at Christmas it isn’t a problem. I go and make up the time later. If I am having a bad day and decide I want to go home early I do. We are never required to work a 12 hour day, but I have chosen to do so often. I like it when I get sucked into work or an event because I know I am earning time off.

    Another problem is that now we don’t get paid emergency leave. I had unexpected surgery a few years ago and was out for two weeks. I still got paid and just made up the time. Currently my dad has cancer and I need to fly home to donate my bone marrow for transplant. With flextime I could go and make it up or I could opt to not make it up and not get paid. Instead I now lose the choice and have to take unpaid leave For those 2-3 weeks.

    Our workflow can mean that one week there isn’t much to do so I only work 20 and another week I may work 60. With this law the workflow isn’t going to change. We will do what we can to even it out but I am sure that I will be clocking out and continuing to work off clock just to get things done. We are forbidden to do that, but I believe in my organization and our work so I know I won’t just stop what I’m doing at 5pm. I will stop when the work is done like I always have. The only difference is that now I will be working without compensation to do so.

    There is no way my organization can pay more money. They can’t afford overtime so we will never work more than 40 hours. All this does in the long run is reduce our pay overall. We are struggling with financial difficulties lately and I am worried that this change will kill our organization. It has certainly done a lot to kill employee morale.

    • anitagjen

      You make some excellent points that I have not seen elsewhere.

  • Margot Haliday Knight

    Every non-profit I have ever worked for or led has had an informal comp-time/flex-time policy. As the law makes no flexibility or provision for this very real benefit to both employee and employer, my guess is that these arrangements will continue “off the books,” with the hope that no one feels slighted and drops the dime. Another issue is how to do the math around positions that include room and board or both. California law outlines threshold dollar amounts to count towards minimum wage requirements. I have yet to find any guidance at the federal level (if it exists, someone share!). I fully support the intention of this move–non-profit work is work and every position deserves a living wage and benefits. But government contractors and private sector donors MUST buy in as well or this could be disastrous for more than a few non-profit organizations.

  • Simone N. Hennessee

    No way that comp time or not paying overtime is an option. This is the law and lawyers will be trolling for opportunities for unhappy employees to bring a suit. Yes there is guidelines. I recently did a workshop on overtime along with the impact on non-profits. This is a major sea change and will impact every part of your organization. Do not take this lightly.