Overtime Rules and Pay Fairness in the Nonprofit Sector

A few weeks ago, a federal district judge in Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking new overtime rules that would have brought about raises for about 4.2 million American workers. Nonprofit organizations, many that spent 6 months studying and planning for these changes, are now temporarily off the hook for making changes.

I would argue that nonprofits have an ethical and moral obligation to continue with the changes they were planning to make.

Nonprofits should not and cannot continue to overwork its employees. One of the main things nonprofits have become much more attuned to is how many hours their employees are currently working. Employees work through lunch, answer emails before and after normal business hours, and work special events on the weekend. With no extra compensation or flex time. This is one of the big reasons why we’re experience burnout in the sector.

Nonprofits should pay a fair, living wage, especially when so many of our organizations are dedicated to reducing poverty and improving the quality of life of our clients. It is not acceptable to under pay your staff where they need to access the same services your organization is providing to clients. Pay a fair wage.

Nonprofits that act in an ethical and moral way toward hours and wages will have better retention. We know it’s more costly to hire and retrain a new employee than keep an effective employee happy with an adequate work arrangement.

Yes, these new laws – if/when they go into effect – will propose challenges for many nonprofits, but I would argue that you cannot afford to not make these changes to keep your productive staff working to fulfill your mission.


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Sarah Cortell Vandersypen

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