Employment

Nonprofit Executive Staffing: 10 Best Practices

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Your nonprofit has just identified a capable and promising executive candidate, perhaps for executive director, chief financial officer, or another high-level position within the organization. And the candidate has accepted! What should be negotiated and worked out for that person’s employment? How can the board promote a positive working relationship with clarity and optimal opportunity for success? The following key areas warrant attentiveness at the beginning of this critical engagement, to promote a healthy, effective, and legally compliant employment relationship.

Health Reimbursement Arrangements: Bringing Back Flexibility

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Thanks to a new federal rule, employers may more flexibly either (a) provide pre-tax reimbursements for their employees’ individual health insurance premiums and other expenses, or (b) pay such expenses directly on employees’ behalf.  Effective January 1, 2020, such pre-tax availability has been reinstated, following the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s elimination and only a limited version under the 2016 21st Century Cures Act, but with some new twists. As a result, employers and their employees now enjoy more pre-tax options for health benefits, albeit with increasing complexity and varied conditions.

Good News for Nonprofits Affected by the Nonprofit Parking Tax

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As part of a large spending package to avoid a government shutdown, Congress passed legislation repealing the infamous “Nonprofit Parking Tax” – an income tax on the cost of parking provided by nonprofit organizations to their employees performing exempt charitable, religious, and educational activities. The repeal of the Nonprofit Parking Tax is retroactive – the legislation literally states that the effective date of repeal is as if the tax was never in the original law. The bill was signed by President Trump on December 20, 2019.

New Salary Threshold for White Collar Exemption

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An estimated one-million-plus salaried American workers who are currently exempt from mandatory overtime pay will no longer be exempt under new regulations issued on September 24, 2019 by the U.S. Department of Labor.  The new rule, effective January 1, 2020, changes the minimum annual salary threshold that certain employees must earn to be exempt from mandatory overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The change represents the first update to the overtime pay rules in more than 15 years.

SCOTUS Trio: Does Title VII “Sex” Discrimination Include “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity”?

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The U.S. Supreme Court recently accepted a trio of cases addressing whether Title VII’s prohibition of “sex” discrimination in employment contexts should focus on biological male and female distinctions, or if it should be expanded and redefined to cover “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” Lower federal courts have split on these issues. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has favored such expansiveness, while the Trump administration is opposed. Against the backdrop of our prior articles on related employment discrimination litigation, this article highlights the tension between the judiciary and legislative government branches as well as significant religious liberty interests at stake.

Salary Threshold Increase for Exempt Employees

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The minimum federal salary threshold for white-collar employees may soon increase from $23,660 to $35,308.  The U.S. Department of Labor recently released a proposed rule increasing the long-standing amount, as one of the requirements for “exempt” employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Consequently, nonprofit employers with modestly or low-paid executive directors and other dedicated leaders may need to revisit their compensation structures to ensure that key leaders remain as exempt employees, for purposes of overtime pay and related legal compliance. In case this news sounds familiar, it is.  The DOL previously tried to increase the salary threshold much more drastically, and this second attempt might just stick. 

Reimbursing Employees for Work-Related Use of Personal Devices: It’s the Law!

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Must employers reimburse their employees for work-related expenses, like cell phones and laptops used for work calls and projects?  Illinois recently joined the growing state trend, requiring employers to reimburse expenses incurred by employees within the scope of their employment.  As a result, many nonprofits need to revisit and update current reimbursement policies and communicate these changes to employees to mitigate against unexpected liability in this area.  Additional employment law aspects make legal compliance even more compelling.   

Closed for Inclement Weather: Employer Best Practices

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Winter weather advisory: snow, gusty winds, ice, and bitter cold are hitting much of our nation, with Chicagoans soon facing record wind chills of fifty below or worse. What should responsible nonprofits do to address inclement weather issues for their employees and program participants? And are employees entitled to pay for time missed due to inclement weather?

Volunteer Tax Deductions

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Are expenses incurred for volunteer work deductible? Consider if a person is planning a church mission trip to El Salvador to help build houses, and the church will not cover the airfare. The volunteer may deduct his or her properly documented travel expenses and possibly other expenses as well. Similarly, if a person serves as a volunteer board member, his or her unreimbursed travel expenses to attend meetings and other functions may be deductible. Here are some guidelines to consider before you write off your charitable expenses.

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