by Rob Meiksins, CEO
Recently I wrote a blog addressing some questions about HR issues that we've been hearing from our members. We've also been hearing a lot of questions about a proposed change to the Fair Labor Standards act that could have a significant impact on overtime pay requirements. We've been researching this proposed change and asking a few questions.
The changes proposed by the DOL would more than double – to over $50,000 – the current salary threshold determining whether an employee can be exempt from hourly and overtime pay requirements. No accommodations for the differences between profit and nonprofit organizations or for regional differences in cost of living: $50,000 means something different in Milwaukee than it does in New York City.
Impact on Services and Staffing
This considerable increase has raised questions and concerns among many in the nonprofit community. For example, a good number of nonprofit executive directors in our area work for small organizations and are paid under $50,000. In many cases, they are providing direct service to the organization’s clients and this could have a negative impact on the people in need in our community who are getting assistance. Are they expected to log their hours and punch a clock? When they have reached 40 hours, how should they proceed? Are they supposed to stop working with their clients?
While we all want fair wages for workers, we have to wonder if the DOL and legislators have thought through the ramifications of this proposal and the impact it will have on the nonprofit groups that are already taxed with difficult budget circumstances at the same time there is a growing need for their work in our community.
Next Steps for Milwaukee Nonprofits
This is critical legislation that is going to have long term impact. Legislation has been introduced that will require the DOL to take some time and better examine the impact of their proposal. I encourage you as an employee in the nonprofit sector to take the time and learn about this. Download this handout from the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity to get detail, talking points, and case studies of how the changes would impact specific nonprofits. Also read the very good analysis of the proposed legislation by the National Council of Nonprofits.
Once you've decided what you think of these proposed changes, please take the time to reach out to your legislators in Washington using the following contact forms, and let them know what you think:
Contact Congresswoman Gwen Moore
Contact Senator Tammy Baldwin
Contact Senator Ron Johnson