Federally mandated changes to the state-run unemployment system will be rolling into effect over the next 6 months as the October 2013 deadline looms, forcing employers to comply with stricter administration standards or face high penalties. UST helps member nonprofits comply to avoid costly errors.

– Interview Available-

Santa Barbara, CA (April 18, 2013) – In an effort to reduce potential penalties for its nonprofit employer members, the Unemployment Services Trust (UST) has launched several new efforts and technological tools to help address what is being called the federal “UI Integrity mandate.”

Passed as a part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011, the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Integrity mandate requires all employers to provide a complete and timely response to the state’s first request for information about an unemployment claim. Designed to address one of the biggest weaknesses of Unemployment Insurance (UI) funds nationwide—the persistence of unemployment benefits paid in error, which are have cost $10.3 billion in the last year—the UI Integrity Act requires full compliance from all states no later than October 21, 2013. As of today, 5 states (NE, OK, MS, IL, and WV) have enacted legislation with 6 additional states (CA, UT, NM, SD, MN, and NC) passing legislation to be enacted in the coming months. 12 states (WA, OR, ID, MT, WY, CO, AZ, ND, IA, LA, KY, and VA) have pending legislation. The remaining states have yet to take any action to meet the federal deadline.

To ensure that the reform yields the necessary savings, there will be penalties on employers for non-compliance. Any employer that fails to provide a complete and timely response to a claim loses any hope of relief from charges attributable to that claim—even if the employer ultimately wins the claim.

Further, if the state identifies a pattern of failure to provide complete and timely responses, negligent organizations and their claims administrator are at risk of permanently losing valuable protest rights and/or facing monetary penalties.

To address these new liabilities, the Unemployment Services Trust (UST), which helps more than 2,000 nonprofit employers nationwide to reduce the cost of unemployment claims, is conducting regional seminars and state-specific webinars for its members. Through its partnership with Equifax Workforce Solutions (WS), UST’s educational opportunities will allow its nonprofit members to examine how changes to the national UI integrity laws will affect them and to gather helpful tips to improve overall win ratios when protesting improper claims. On average, this type of diligence reduces an employer’s claims costs by 15% each year.

In addition to the seminars and webinars, UST’s nonprofit members now have access to a unique unemployment claim dashboard called CaseBuilder, which was launched by WS earlier this year. “This online dashboard will allow organizations to gather and submit documents and details in a fast, secure environment for all stages of the unemployment process,” reports Workforce Solutions. Current members who utilize CaseBuilder have significantly increased their ability to comply with state requests in a timely manner—which will be extremely pertinent as states begin to integrate UI Integrity legislation into their practices.

Finally, members of UST are already reaping the benefits of “SIDES,” the State Information Data Exchange System that 24 states have implemented, with more scheduled throughout 2013. SIDES is a secure, paperless system which allows UST members and their claims administrator WS to better provide necessary details and documentation at the time of an initial claim filing. Here is how it is helping UST member organizations:

  • It’s electronic, so it’s more secure than paper documents.
  • Electronic delivery of claims from the state will increase the amount of time employers have to respond to requests for separation information.
  • SIDES was specifically designed to require details as a part of the response. Providing the details up front will save time by reducing additional requests for information.

“All employers will be on the hook to respond to every unemployment claim, every time,” says Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “We’re trying to establish best practices that ensure our member nonprofits are ahead of the curve—so they can avoid penalties down the road.”

About UST: Founded by nonprofits, for nonprofits, UST is the largest unemployment trust in the nation, providing 501(c)(3) organizations with a safe, cost-effective alternative to paying state unemployment taxes. Equifax Workforce Solutions (WS) is UST’s partner to provide members with claim administration, audits of state charges, and hearing representation if a member’s claims protest goes to court. They also provide educational seminars and training materials to UST member agencies throughout the year. Visit www.ChooseUST.org to learn more.

For the 59th month in a row, the Georgia Department of Labor has announced that the unemployment rate, at 9.3 percent, remains higher than the national average. Only 7 states, including Washington D.C., have a higher unemployment rate.

For nonprofits, this isn’t the worst of the news.

After falling below 9 percent in April for the first time in more than 3 years, the rate has begun a steady climb upward again, negatively affecting nonprofit employers throughout Georgia by simultaneously increasing cost and need. Compounded by the state’s depleted unemployment insurance trust fund and an outstanding loan balance of more than $742 million that is still owed to the federal government, nonprofits are facing a higher possibility increased unemployment taxes in 2013.

Because Georgia quickly depleted its unemployment insurance (UI) trust fund, the struggle to provide benefits has hurt employers and jobless workers as the state has made large cuts to benefits and steeply increased the overall unemployment costs paid by employers.

Further adding to the coming financial strain, the interest on the federal unemployment trust fund loan cannot be paid from the unemployment tax fund and must instead be paid from other state revenues, causing further financial stress for legislators.

To pay it, the Georgia legislature passed SB 347 earlier this year, which, in addition to cutting jobless benefits and increasing unemployment benefits paid out by employers, includes provisions to:

  • Assess employers an unemployment insurance tax on the first $9,500 of each employee’s wages, up from the current $8,500, beginning January 1, 2013.
  • Assess employers a solvency tax, called the Statewide Reserve Ratio surcharge, whenever the balance in the state’s unemployment fund falls below a specified level.
  • Reduce the number of weeks jobless workers can collect unemployment benefits from 26 to a period ranging from 14-20 weeks depending on how high the statewide unemployment rate is.

While this legislation makes Georgia one of 11 states that have cut jobless benefits in the past year by reducing the duration and level of payouts and by restricting eligibility, the legislation may ultimately harm nonprofits specifically as it forces unemployed workers to turn to nonprofits for aid, while also increasing the amount that agencies must set aside to pay for unemployment costs of their own.

For nonprofit organizations still in the state tax system, there are other options available though. Since 1972 nonprofit employers have had the exclusive ability to opt out of the state system and reimburse directly the dollar-for-dollar costs of only their own unemployment costs.

By safely leaving the state’s pooled liability system and paying only for their own unemployment costs, many nonprofits- particularly those with 10 or more employees- can save up to 50 percent off of their UI taxes and gain greater predictive control over yearly budgeting. In fact, Georgia nonprofits that leave the state system and join UST save an average of $14,321 a year.

Learn more about your nonprofits money saving alternatives, or sign up for an upcoming webinar to learn how UST can help your nonprofit reduce SUI costs.

Read the original Savannah Morning News article.

When the federal government established the Unemployment Insurance (UI) system after the Great Depression, it was designed to support workers who, “through no fault of their own” lost their jobs. Established to ensure that the economy could recover in the face of massive job losses, the state UI system is supposed to be a safety net.

The system is far from perfect though.

For instance, the system is intrinsically flawed for many nonprofit employers who face little to no job-turnover and who remain a part of their state system. Featured in a recent report, the North Carolina UI system has provided one of the strongest examples of why eligible 501(c)(3)’s should consider opting out of their state UI system, as allowed by federal law.

After borrowing more than $2.4 billion from the federal government to meet their UI responsibilities after their UI Trust Fund became insolvent during the Great Recession, North Carolina has begun leveraging their high interest payments on state UI participants.

Like many states which were unable to meet their UI obligations, the burden of reimbursing the federal government for the full loans falls on all employers within the state, whether or not any of their former employees are currently collecting unemployment benefits.

No state reached insolvency overnight though.

Long before the recent recession, states resisted “indexing” or raising their unemployment taxes from year to year. Things were good, the economy was stable — why should they make adjustments? But while employers enjoyed low taxes, in the long run they were being set up for a much bigger fall in the future. And that’s when the Great Recession hit. Not only had states failed to maintain an adequate UI cushion, employers would be double-hit by the recession in having to lay off workers to cut costs, and then pay higher unemployment taxes as a result. According to a 2010 Government Accountability Office report, “Long-standing UI tax policies and practices in many states over 3 decades have eroded trust fund reserves, leaving states in a weak position prior to the recent recession.” Not that states weren’t warned. Even in North Carolina, the Budget and Tax Center reports that it “conducted a thorough analysis of the unemployment insurance system in March 2007, before the start of the Great Recession, warning of the long-term unsustainability of the system as implemented and suggesting reforms.”

More than ever, systems today must be built that can better weather economic downturns and large, prolonged layoffs. Adequate funding levels must be re-attained so that states rely less on the federal government for funding support to meet benefit payments. A system must also be built which maintains its ability to support the economy with wage-replacement levels that are adequate in supporting workers seeking work.

While innovative programs must continue to be introduced to help place jobseekers in new positions, an overhaul of many state UI systems would better support nonprofit employers who remain in their state tax-rated UI system whether they are too small to opt out, or if they feel safer in the state system.

However, because 501(c)(3)s have the exclusive right to opt out of their state UI system in favor of becoming a reimbursing employer that pays directly for former employees’ UI costs, many already experience a greater savings because they aren’t paying for the state’s interest on federal loans, or subsidizing larger employers’ UI costs.

UST releases a new eBook, focused on helping nonprofit organizations create a workforce to stand apart in a competitive job market.

Founded by nonprofits for nonprofits, UST publishes an eBook that reveals the latest best practices that can help nonprofits find and retain employees that fit their organization’s culture, mission and values. This resourceful eBook provides ideal strategies nonprofits can utilize when tackling a competitive market and juggling the many organizational challenges that comes with maintaining a dynamic workforce.

The eBook, “Competitive Hiring Practices That Empower Nonprofits,” reveals that “56 percent believe their current job is only a temporary stepping stone to something better.” However, with the right tools in place nonprofits will be able to offer their employee’s professional development while creating a nurturing base where talented people can grow, feel challenged and valued.

“Hiring the best-fit personnel can be demanding of your time, energy and resources”, explains Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “This eBook offers the critical tools organizations need to draw in and maintain best-fit professionals that can help carry out mission-driven initiatives.”

With recent survey data and nonprofit employment trends, UST is able to provide nonprofits with six proven strategies to develop and maintain a thriving workforce.

The eBook, now available for free download, also offers:

  • New statistics from the sector
  • Onboarding and coaching tactics
  • Key ways to create a stand-out culture
  • Critical employee engagement tips

Be sure to download your complimentary copy today!

Social media has taken over millions of nonprofits. It provides a cheap, easy way for agencies working on a limited budget to reach their target audience and build new contacts. And, it can be one of the most effective ways for nonprofits to spread word about what they do and how they do it.

Recent reports show that despite shrinking budgets, and extensive staffing challenges across the board, nonprofits are still finding value in growing their social networks. According to one blogger, recent studies have found that:

  • 98% of nonprofit agencies have a Facebook page with an average community size of over 8000 fans.
  • Average Facebook and Twitter communities grew by 30 and 81% respectively.
  • Average value of a Facebook “like” is $214.81 over the 12 months following acquisition.
  • 73% allocate half of a full-time employee to managing their social networking activities.
  • 43% budget $0 for their social networking activities.
  • The top 3 factors most nonprofits are using to gauge the success of their social media are: strategy, prioritization, and dedicated staff.

Statistics compiled by Katya’s Non-profit Marketing Blog

But still, social media presents some distinctive challenges for nonprofit organizations.

Because social media provides captive audiences with thousands of attention-grabbing options, nonprofits have to find quick, easy ways to distribute their information and to keep fans engaged. Using interesting infographics goes a long way to keeping your audience aware and involved with a nonprofit mission though.

Innovative and easy to digest, infographics combine key

facts, compelling stories, and interesting imagery that work to start conversations both online and off. “Good visualizations can also help charities better understand their own data and use those insights to improve their programs,” said Jake Porway, founder of Data without Borders, in an article published by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

By sharing simple messages that can be understood with little or no prior knowledge of the subject matter, nonprofits are finding that they can easily improve their operations and increase their reach.

For more examples of well received infographics and tips on how to make your own, read the full article on The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Using a business model has grown to become an essential tool when making any business or financial decisions within the nonprofit sector. When incorporating a new business model, a few key components should be discussed to ensure the business model will not only provide financial stability but also further the growth of operations within your organization. Along with understanding the financial side of a new business model, it is important to factor in the daily tasks that occur in a business, including cash flow—money being transferred in and out of an organization. 

Cash flow can be simply defined as a movement of money within the organization’s accounts. It is where the numbers and financial reports show how the money has moved and how it’s been accounted for. When managing cash flow, the question you will be asked repeatedly is “When?” —when do you pay your staff, when will you be receiving a grant payment or  when is a particular bill due. And while all nonprofit business models are different in one way or another, they all rely on the “when” with the movement of money. 

When creating a nonprofit business model, there are two main components to factor in—what kinds of programs and services does your nonprofit offer to the community and most importantly, how are they funded. Each of these components require the understanding of organizational cash flow in order to have effective financial planning. To further understand what kinds of programs and services a particular organization offers, you would look at where and how money is being spent.

When looking at how an organization is funded, this can provide a better understanding of what’s to come in terms of cash coming into the business. If by chance the cash flow doesn’t quite match up with the services offered, this could be further explained by how the organization receives its funding. Each type of income varies based on certain implications and challenges for cash flow, so if a business model is built primarily around one type of funding, this will have to be factored into the structure of the business model.

Creating a smart and strategic business model requires you to be informed and collaborative in cash flow management. This will ensure that your nonprofit’s long-term strategy isn’t hindered by obstacles that could have been avoided. 

In December 2007 when the Great Recession officially began, it’s doubtful that anyone could have predicted that over the next several years almost 35 states would face insolvent unemployment insurance (UI) trust funds.

For Connecticut, and its pool of steadily increasing jobless workers, it took just over two years.

And now, three years after reaching insolvency, the price of the state’s debt is being leveraged on all employers remaining in the tax rated state system.

Although the principal balance of the $632 million loan isn’t yet due, employers are already being called on to cover the interest payments for the debt. For nonprofits remaining within the state UI system, their organization can expect to add approximately $1.70 per thousand dollars of taxable payroll, or about $25.50 per full time employee to their 2012 UI taxes.

As required by law, all employers within the state tax system will be billed directly for this assessment on or about August 1, which must be paid by August 31. Paid outside of the normal state UI system, this additional fee will add on to the gross overpayment of more than $162 million made by Connecticut in the past three years.

For nonprofits still in the state system, there are other options, such as leaving the state to join a Trust, like the Unemployment Services Trust (UST), that can help save more money and gain greater predictive control over yearly budgeting.

By reimbursing the state dollar-for-dollar the claims of only their own former employees, nonprofits that join UST are able to stop overpaying in the state tax system and do more with their money. In fact, Connecticut nonprofits with 10 or more employees can expect to save an average of $10,484 a year after joining UST.

Written by Barry Omahen, CPA, Managing Partner, and Stephanie Kretschmer, Marketing Manager, Lindquist LLP

If your organization is considering having an audit for the first time or changing auditors, it is wise to exercise due diligence when obtaining bids for services. With the continued focus on transparency and accountability by government agencies, donors, parent organizations and the general public, the selection of a qualified certified public accountant (CPA) has become increasingly important.

Quality audit and accounting services help nonprofit organizations safeguard their assets; improve internal controls and efficiency; complete timely and accurate returns to comply with federal and state regulatory filing requirements; and stay on top of regulatory requirements, accounting standards and industry best practices.

Before you request bids, your organization needs to answer a few key questions:

  1. Who is going to be responsible for the selection process? Will it be an individual (Executive Director, Director of Finance or Controller) or a group (Board of Directors or Audit Committee) Does your organization have an Audit Committee and, if not, would it make sense to create one?
  2. What services do we need? Define your organization’s needs and create a list of required services. Getting clarity on exactly which services are needed will help ensure that you are comparing apples to apples at decision time.
  3. When do we need these services? Consider your year-end deadlines, filing deadlines and scheduled meetings of the Board of Directors. How quickly after year-end do you close your books? When do you want the financial statements presented? You will need to communicate any timing expectations to prospective bidders.
  4. Upon which criteria are we going to base this decision? Consider: prior experience with not-for-profits; organization, location, size and structure of the firm/individual; understanding of the work to be performed, including ability/plan to complete services according to the organization’s timeframes; experience of references; price; industry knowledge and approach to communications. Some organizations develop a weighting system to help ensure they are objective when making the decision.
  5. What is our process and time frame for making a decision? Determine whether you are going to allow candidates to come onsite to meet with accounting staff or wait until you have received proposals and identified finalists for the decision-makers to interview—or both. Outline when you are going to issue a request for proposal, how long candidates have to ask questions or request an onsite visit, when candidates need to submit a proposal, when you expect to interview finalists, and when you expect to reach a decision.

Gone are the days of calling a couple of CPAs to say, “Give me a bid,” and reaching an agreement with a handshake. Today’s organizations need to be conscientious about their selection of a CPA. Conducting a diligent and thorough selection process not only satisfies key stakeholders, but ultimately helps protect the organization.

Barry Omahen, CPA, is the Managing Partner of Lindquist LLP, a certified public accounting firm specializing in audits of not-for-profit organizations and their related employee benefit plans. Barry’s chief responsibilities include supervising Lindquist LLP’s day-to-day operations and the firm’s quality control review process. Email Barry at bomahen@lindquistcpa.com.

Stephanie Kretschmer, Marketing Manager, helps the professionals in Lindquist LLP’s four West Coast offices attract and retain clients. She oversees firm communications and has responded to hundreds of requests for proposal in her career. Email Stephanie at skretschmer@lindquistcpa.com.

To learn more from Lindquist’s nonprofit-focused CPAs, watch the recorded webinar: “Beyond the Numbers- How to Review your Organization’s Form 990.”

Already Offering Multiple Nonprofit-Exclusive Programs, Designed to Streamline Operations and Reduce Overhead Costs, UST Launches Unemployment Insurance Program to Further Safeguard Nonprofits.

Santa Barbara, CA (October 19, 2017) The Unemployment Services Trust (UST), a program dedicated to helping nonprofits ensure compliance and protect assets, today announced it is rolling out a fully insured program, called UST Secure, which will provide full coverage for all claims within the year as well as access to claims management tools, certified HR guidance and award-winning outplacement services.

Already working with more than 2,200 nonprofit participants from across the nation, UST aims to provide nonprofit organizations with workforce solutions that reduce costs and strengthen their missions. Having received frequent requests for an insurance option over the last few years, UST is partnering with Ohio Indemnity Company to deliver an insurance solution specifically for 501(c)(3) employers.

“We are honored and excited to work with UST,” said Ron Lucki, Vice President of Business Development at Ohio Indemnity Company. “As one of the nation’s leading specialty insurance carriers for nonprofits and financial institutions, we look forward to growing with UST and offering insurance options that will enable UST to serve their clients with insurance protection and peace of mind.”

“UST Secure is another way we can provide financial relief and an invaluable sense of security to the nonprofit community.” Donna Groh, Executive Director, UST

Ohio Indemnity Company is a fully licensed and admitted insurance company that has provided specialty insurance products to all 50 states plus District of Columbia for nearly 60 years. OIC’s financial stability has earned them an “Excellent” rating by A.M. Best, a global full-service credit rating agency and is also listed by the U.S. Treasury as an approved surety bond provider.

“No nonprofit is alike, so we have continuously looked for new resources and program offers to expand our reach within the sector,” says Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “UST Secure is another way we can provide financial relief and an invaluable sense of security to the nonprofit community.”

501(c)(3) nonprofit employers who are interested in learning more about UST Secure can reach out to a dedicated Unemployment Cost Advisor at 1-888-249-4788.

“If there is one lesson the nonprofit sector has learned in the past few years, it is the value of maintaining healthy reserves,” says Hilda Polanco in a recent article from Philanthropy Journal.

Here at UST, where we help our members create reserves to pay unemployment claims, we couldn’t agree more.

But finding those unrestricted dollars to fund a reserve is easier said than done. However, it is a necessary step in managing sustainability – a lesson all too clear to many nonprofits during the recent economic downturn. Ms. Polanco provides some insight into how nonprofits can start building their operating reserve. Here is what we learned:

1. Start with nurturing a culture (all the way up to the Board) that strives to produce revenue and surpluses – not just “breaking even”

2. Next, when creating your budget, insert a line-item for “Current Year Contribution to Reserves” so that it is a clear priority for both management and staff.

3. Finally, there must be a reserve policy that states when reserves should be accessed, and defines “when is it a ‘rainy day’?” or “what constitutes an emergency?” This will provide the purpose of the reserves based on your organization’s own individual mission.

Overall, says Polanco, the board should figure out “how much of its unrestricted net assets to make available for management to use as needed (“Operating Reserve”), how much to set aside for a rainy day (“Board Designated”) and how much to earmark for a specific strategic goal (“Special Purpose”).” A reserve is not something that will appear overnight, but by taking these few steps your nonprofit will be on its way toward being a stronger, more stable organization.

Tip 10: Work with an Unemployment Trust.

Working with an unemployment trust like UST can provide you with a partner that works with you at every stage of the unemployment process. Whether you need help with unemployment claims, appeals, hearings, charge audits, best practices, unemployment reports or client education, a trust can help cut down on costs and administrative burden.

For example, UST helps nonprofits to:

1) Evaluate whether they should opt out of the state unemployment tax system

2) File the paperwork with the state to become a “reimbursing” employer

3) Set up an account reserve just for unemployment costs

4) Provide web reporting with the tools that help you stay abreast of unemployment activity

Unemployment trusts like UST can also offer guidance, preparation and representation at hearings to help you win a claims appeal for improper charges.

By working with the Trust’s claims monitor, especially at the initial level of the claim, an unemployment trust can help you avoid penalties, loss of appeal rights, and it can keep you from being charged for benefits improperly collected. Working with a trust can make the difference in saving your agency thousands of dollars in claims costs each year.

Trusts are best for nonprofits with 10 or more full time employees who have somewhat stable employment. Those with seasonable employees or volatile unemployment claims are best staying in the state unemployment tax system. Read more about your options as a nonprofit.

To find out if your agency would benefit from opting out of the state unemployment tax system and working with UST, request a Savings Evaluation today.

Tip 9: Consider re-employment strategies!

Helping transitioning employees find another job rapidly after a staff reduction, position elimination, or other involuntary, non-misconduct separation can help your nonprofit control the duration of non-protestable unemployment claims.

Because these claims typically result in the longest duration and highest total benefit payout, they can be the most costly for your organization.

An unemployment claims monitor or Trust can help you by providing one-on-one job coaching, e-learning, and other key outplacement elements

Tip 8: Weigh the consequences of partial employment, systematic layoffs, and independent contractors before you use them!

It should be self-evident, but too often employers act impulsively and don’t review all of their options before laying employees off, which ultimately raises their UI tax rates, or their cash on hand if they are a reimbursing employer. Layoffs can cost thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits.

Know when employees are eligible for partial weeks of unemployment, how a systematic layoff will affect your contribution rate, and whether independent contractors are a good idea for your agency.

In the case of layoffs, helping severed employees find jobs benefits the employer and employee.

Independent contractors may file for unemployment, and the employer needs to be able to prove he or she is not an employee of your company.

If you work with an unemployment trust or claims administrator, they can provide you with a listing of state-specific guidance that can highlight how helping severed employees find a new job will benefit both them and your nonprofit, as well as helping you properly document that independent contractors are not an employee.

Tip 7: Appeal benefit collections when it is warranted.

An appeal is your request to the state to assign a hearing officer to review the facts of a particular case because you believe the eligibility rules have not been properly applied. Appeals aren’t something you should do by default though.

Appeal only if you adamantly disagree with a decision allowing the claimant benefits, and be prepared to present the facts and evidence that show why your former employee should not be allowed to collect.

If you work with a claims administrator or unemployment trust, you should be prepared during an appeal to give all documentation and preparation to a hearings representative who will help your organization determine who should be contacted for the hearing, and how their testimony will work with your case.

Tip 6: Be prepared for hearings.

All unemployment benefits hearings require first-hand testimony as to the facts and events under consideration. By proactively documenting all employee actions and disciplines, you collect the information you will need for a hearing. By having all documents readily available during the hearing, you avoid relying on hearsay evidence which is generally not persuasive enough to win your hearing, and may not even be considered, depending on the case.

If you work with a claims administrator or a trust like UST, you may have access to your own hearing representative. Working with a hearing representative will also help you prepare for the case by providing you with someone who is not only on your side, but has many years of experience in working through claims hearings.

Tip 5: Know the difference between voluntary resignations, discharges, and lack of work claims.

In almost every state, a voluntary resignation, especially for non-compelling reasons, usually disqualifies the employee from receiving unemployment benefits.

But there are significant exceptions because some states may allow benefits for a quit with “good cause.”

Here are some good things to remember:

  1. In a voluntary quit, the burden of proof rests with your former employee.
  2. A discharge for misconduct is legally defined as willful misconduct connected with your work that resulted in a tendency for damage to your nonprofit interests.
  3. A discharge in which you initiate the termination puts the burden of proof on your nonprofit. Make sure you have the right documentation on hand for at least 18 months.
  4. Always avoid the words “unsatisfactory performance” in cases where the employee is able to perform the job, but is negligent of performing their duties. This term has a legal definition of an employee who is unable to perform the job, and will likely result in benefits awarded to the claimant.
  5. In discharges due to misconduct, be prepared to provide documentation of the final incident that led to the discharge.

And never, ever forget, lack of work claims are the very reason unemployment insurance exists. They provide benefits to employees who, through no fault of their own, are separated from work. But to get any award, claimants must be able to work, available for work, and actively looking for work.

Tip 4: Track unemployment costs and budget appropriately.

Track claims, monitor potential liability and review past history to forecast budgets for unemployment taxes. Be familiar with the base period and benefit year in your state and review tax information to ensure budgets are adequate. By better understanding how your unemployment tax costs are affected by layoffs, you can plan for the future and make sure you have the cash on hand for fluctuations in staffing that may affect your future costs.

If you are a reimbursing employer, meaning you have opted out of the state unemployment tax system to reimburse the state for your own UI claims, you should very carefully manage unemployment claims and make sure you aren’t paying for any that are unwarranted. Also, you can catch errors by the state if you know how much you should be paying. If you work with a trust like UST, your claims representative should be doing this for you and will be able to walk you through any questions.

Even if your nonprofit doesn’t have a dedicated human resources team, it’s important that your human resources practices are up to snuff. Best practices include:

  • Performing detailed reference checks before hiring new employees.
  • Consistently using (and documenting) progressive discipline.
  • Enforcing all rules and policies uniformly. Even the smallest deviations undermine your credibility as a fair nonprofit employer.
  • Follow an employee’s progress from the moment they are hired.
  • Perform thorough talent assessments before hiring or promoting employees to alleviate problems down the road.

There are online performance assessment tools that you can use to help screen employees before hire, and assess after hire. For example, UST members have access to pan, an online aggregation of hundreds of assessments from more than 50 of the industry’s top test publishers. These online assessments include employee acquisition, evaluation, and development solutions to help reduce costs in the hiring and recruiting process for UST members, as well as decrease turnover and its related costs.

Tip 2:  Compose effective written warnings.

Every manager, HR generalist, and employee from here to Timbuktu knows that warnings are an act of progressive discipline. But what many of these same people fail to remember is that warnings are an act of progressive discipline that effectively ensure an employee understands what is expected of them.

In the case of an employee discharge, state unemployment agencies look for warnings to determine if your former employee was discharged for misconduct. Effectively clear, and non-judgmental, warnings help you meet this burden of proof with concrete evidence, when written to include:

  • The violation
  • The action that must take place for the situation to improve
  • The consequences to the employee if this standard is not met
  • The employee’s action plan and comments
  • The signature of the employee, a witness, and the issuer
At the end of July the National Unemployment Law Project released a blistering analysis which found that much of the financial burden facing 30 states which will have to pay back nearly $1 billion by the end of September could have been avoided with better planning.

According to the analysis, had each of the states forced to borrow from federal funds enacted more responsible financing of their funds leading up to the Great Recession, fewer states would have had to slash the safety net created for jobless workers through unemployment insurance benefits. The report further details how excessive tax giveaways and breaks for many employers left many states with depleted unemployment trust funds that were unprepared for even a modest downturn.

Citing evidence from 1995 to 2005 in which 31 states reduced employer contribution rates by at least 1/5, the report reveals that while employer tax rates fell to a historic low in the decade leading up to the recession, the combined balance in all state trust funds was half the amount experts recommend.

Funds were so abominably low, Michigan and New York even had to begin borrowing from federal funds before the recession had even officially begun.

The trend continues today. As of yet, few states have made significant changes to the structure of their unemployment insurance funds which would prevent another mass borrowing or would allow them to reinstate a fully funded unemployment trust fund in the next few years. Only Alabama has done enough to predictively repay the federal loan within the next few years.

For employers that have paid increasingly high unemployment taxes the news can come as a shock.

Although tax rates for employers within the state unemployment insurance system have increased substantially since 2009, the higher payments have done little to cover the increased benefits payments and the high level of interest being charged on federal loans, much less build up the level of reserves available.

To combat the continued depletion of funds, many states have even shifted the blame onto those found jobless by reducing benefits and eligibility across the board. Not surprisingly, each cut has severely jeopardized the capacity of unemployment funds to insure families and stabilize the economy during swift downturns, which has led to further increases in tax payments made by employers in the state system.

Thankfully, nonprofits with 10 or more employees have the exclusive ability to opt out of the state UI tax system and reimburse the state only for the benefits paid out to their former employees. This protects the benefits paid out to nonprofit employees, while simultaneously reducing the operational costs of unemployment, which allows nonprofits to do more for their mission.

For a complimentary overview of how UST could help your nonprofit reduce unemployment expenses and lower improper payment rates, please sign up for an upcoming webinar, or fill out a Savings Evaluation today.

Laura, Megan, Angela, Lisa, Robin, and Kim pose with their UST mugs outside our office.the very best of our members “Mugging with UST!”

Beginning mid-March we’re going to be featuring the very best of our members “Mugging with UST!”

Send us your pictures* with a UST mug, logo, pen, newsletter, or whatever else you can think of, and we’ll feature you on our social media channels! All submissions should be sent to stroup@ChooseUST.org.

*Please include the link to your website if you would like us to also highlight the nonprofit you work for! (We’re all about sharing the love.)

As a nonprofit organization, working with a limited budget is a common and familiar task.  Any one organization can attest to the financial responsibilities and limitations that come with managing a budget for a nonprofit. In addition, monitoring spending in accordance with strict grant limitations can be challenging and may limit any new business ventures. Instead of pinching pennies, make sure you are reaching your financial goals by monitoring money and allocating funds for future business opportunities that could help your nonprofit flourish.

Most nonprofit organizations are familiar with providing products and services to their membership and or the community with minimal funding. When relying on inconsistent funding sources such as grants, donations, and membership fees, there may be times when money is tight and your organization has to question every expenditure in an effort to make every dollar count. While there is something to be said for being frugal, you also have the ability to stretch your dollars and make the most of every penny your organization spends.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while allocating your budget towards future business objectives:

  • Clearly define needs vs. wants – With the continual integration of all things digital, it is important to make sure that your technology is efficient enough that each employee is able to do their job and reach their best potential.  On the other hand, assuming that each employee needs a third monitor may not be a necessary expense.
  • Purchasing power requires education – People with purchasing power shouldn’t be left to wonder what they can and can’t spend money on. If your staff is unsure and constantly asking for approval before purchasing anything, consider reevaluating your training procedures. Staff members that need to make purchases should be aware of their limitations.
  • Overhead shouldn’t dictate everything – When dealing with overhead, you shouldn’t have to spend your time minimizing costs to stay on your donors good side. To prevent this habit, it is helpful to demonstrate the necessity behind your purchases while being transparent with your donors.

When it comes to being financially responsible, it can vary based on the budget of your organization and the willingness to spend money on new business ventures. It all comes back to having a better insight into your finances and operations, which can help align financial activities with your strategic goals—essentially making your money work harder.

In almost every nonprofit setting, it’s pretty safe to say that leadership requires the most out of every employee to create the greatest possible impact on the governing mission. Whether this means that case workers take emergency calls from clients more than they are schedule to, or that an administrative assistant wears multiple hats as the social media coordinator, office manager, event planner, and even an intake specialist, continually changes. But, despite the great pressure nonprofits place on each employee to give their absolute best, employee development is often overlooked.

A recent Bridgespan Group survey has revealed that most nonprofits rank their ability to provide development and growth opportunities to employees as their fourth greatest management weakness overall even.*

The same survey went on to explain that a lack of employee development has become the “Achilles heel” of the nonprofit community. Because only 30 percent of nonprofits have created or sustained an agency-wide plan for employee development—and only 23 percent of those track its progress—the large majority of organizations don’t have a clear understanding of what skills they need for each position as their mission evolves. Many more don’t even have an idea of where that talent would come from.

To help you develop a plan to address future leadership gaps, Bridgespan put together a list of 52 free ways that nonprofit agencies can improve their internal employee development. Some of the easiest and most impactful employee development initiatives that they list include:

  • To prepare employees for positions of team leadership and management, have key employees lead monthly meetings
  • Allow potential future leaders to manage junior staff such as interns or volunteers
  • Organize and execute team building activities at monthly meetings
  • Allow key employees to represent the organization in professional or community networks
  • Ask employees you want to develop to participate in drafting portions of grants or business contracts to improve their business capabilities
  • Have staff participate in developing key budgets
  • Ask staff to organize initiatives throughout the organization or in the community

On its own, on-the-job development isn’t enough though. To foster truly effective options for employee and organization development, get your board involved with individual employees through the agency. And have each person who is involved with your development program—whether that is a board member or a developing leader—regularly assess what works best at getting employees ready so that you are more likely and more able to advance them within your agency.

*Rounding out the top 3 are communication of priorities, coordination across organization boundaries, and performance assessment and consequences.

As a supervisor, what’s your least preferred responsibility? If you said goal setting and performance management, you aren’t alone.

As an employee, what’s your least preferred activity? Again—you’re not alone.

Often performance evaluations are cited as the most broken and least preferred organizational practice, but everyone knows goal setting and performance management are important. So how can you help your direct reports succeed?

  1. Be upfront and honest. Communicate openly and often with your employees. Most of the people working with you want to do well throughout the year; they want to help your organization succeed. So give them the opportunity to do so! If Steve isn’t taking process “A” as seriously as you need him to, or if Becky needs to dial back on “X,” tell them (as nicely and appropriately as possible). More often than not, you’ll find that they are not only open to, but eager for, feedback about their work.
  2. Set stretch goals throughout the year—not just during the annual review process. Setting stretch goals throughout the year helps your employees scale mountains one step at a time. In conjunction with smaller goals, stretch goals give employees the opportunity to take chances within their position and challenge themselves as employees. Best of all, stretch goals give your employees the opportunity to fail gracefully. Because you’ve encouraged them to do something you acknowledge is outside of their comfort level, most employees recognize that you’re challenging them to jump, but not taking away the netting if they fall. It also gives you the opportunity to reward and recognize successful work during the annual review.
  3. Be agile and expect goals to change throughout the coming months. One of the most dreaded things about performance reviews is that they’re structured to make an employee accountable for specific things throughout the coming year. But, for most organizations, goals are constantly changing, which can make it difficult to keep track of and follow through with performance measures that have become outdated.
  4. Trust your team. Remember: someone at your organization hired each and every one of your employees because they felt that the employee demonstrated the drive, talent, and promise you need to fulfill your mission. If you can’t see why an employee was hired, give them the opportunity to tell you why they think they were hired.

Schedule a time to find out why they think they were hired and talk through the ways your mission has changed since then. Chances are they know your organization and its mission well enough that they aren’t someone you want to slip away, so find out if there is another way they can help your team succeed.

What would you add? Are there other ways that you help employees and managers collaboratively work together to make performance evaluations more productive and enjoyable?

As a nonprofit leader, you have an obligation to approach “harassment” with three key factors in mind— prevention, investigation and willingness to address. Investigations of harassment in the workplace can come in many shapes and sizes, meaning they can originate from a wide variety of topics—such as discrimination, substance abuse, harassment or workplace safety. While each investigation can be different and may have different formalities attached to it—standards should be in place to ensure a thorough investigation is applied to each incident.

It is important to respond immediately when an allegation of harassment surfaces. This can help prevent any new acts from taking place and will help with maintaining the trust of your employees. At the same point, you should be reaching out for professional guidance to ensure that all aspects of a harassment claim is carried out appropriately—reaching out to your insurance carrier to provide a “notice of a potential claim.” This is a common move for nonprofits since the insurance company can offer resources and the expertise of legal counsel. Another option is hiring a third-party human resource firm that has experience with handling harassment investigations. Lastly, a nonprofit may decide to handle the investigation in house utilizing its’ own staff with guidance from various legal resources.

Each investigation should be handled promptly, documented, thorough and remain confidential. Your nonprofit should always aim for consistency and consider how to best provide “due process.” This also includes, informing those involved with the outcome of the investigation once it has concluded. Being transparent about the outcome, actions or steps being taken to address a situation, will give your nonprofit the opportunity to demonstrate follow through of its own policies, while remaining confidential and maintaining privacy for those involved.

As a nonprofit, you are required to maintain the safety of your employees by creating a safe working environment—and with that comes the responsibility of acting promptly when approached with a harassment claim. Whether it’s the CEO or an associate being investigated, it should be carried out in the same manner and properly conducted. This will determine that the appropriate policies are in place and encourage fair outcomes for all employees involved.  

Employers added 157,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate went down to 3.9 percent making the number of unemployed people decline by 284,000. At the end of July, the total number of people unemployed is now at $6.3 million.

In July, the number of long-term unemployed was unchanged at 1.4 million, which accounts for 22.7 percent of the unemployed. In addition, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons—also referred to as involuntary part-time workers—changed slightly in July, at 4.6 million, but has been down by 669,000 over the course of the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because of their hours being reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

America increased employment in professional and business services, manufacturing, health care and social assistance sectors. In professional and business services, there was an increase of 51,000 jobs in July making an overall increase of 518,000 over the course of the year. In the manufacturing sector, there was 37,000 jobs added with most of the gain in durable goods. There was a rise in transportation equipment (+13,000), machinery (+6,000) and electronic instruments (+2,000). Over the past 12 months, manufacturing has added 327,000 jobs in total. Lastly, employment in health care and social assistance rose by 34,000 and with an upward trend of +17,000  jobs in health care employment this past month, the number of jobs has totaled 286,000 since the beginning of the year. Hospitals and social assistance added 23,000 jobs during the month of July.

The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $27.05. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.7 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 3 cents to $22.65 in July.

Each year, the establishment survey estimates are benchmarked to comprehensive counts of employment from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) for the month of March. These counts are derived from state unemployment insurance (UI) tax records that nearly all employers are required to file. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release this preliminary estimate of the upcoming annual benchmark revision on August 22 at 10am.

Are you frequently overwhelmed by your workload and flustered by the chaos that your desk has turned out? You’re not alone. Many of us feel buried every now and then – it’s  your busiest time of year, there’s new mail, invoices and or reports that end up on your desk every day and before you know it your desk looks like a tornado swept through it. The problem isn’t so much that your desk is messy but that important stuff gets lost. Beyond efficiency, the strain of disorganization can add unnecessary stress to your work day and cause mental exhaustion.

Reason dictates that those who are unorganized cannot be as efficient or as productive as those who are. There are some however, that know exactly where everything is. Some people may feel that a cluttered desk makes they appear busier while others feel a clean desk shows how efficient they are at getting the work done. Either way, the key is to work in a manner that allows you to be the most effective.

Whether you want a white glove worthy desk or just to bring some order to your work area, utilizing these simple tricks will get you on track in no time at all.

  1. Prioritize your workload every morning. Create a to-do list and keep track of your projects on a week to week basis – this can go a long way in helping to stay focused on what’s most important. There are also many computer programs that allow you to set reminders that can be used in lieu of a spreadsheet.
  2. Scan your overnight emails first. Reply to emails that can be handled quickly. Then, delete those irrelevant messages and handle the remaining in order of importance. This provides an immediate sense of accomplishment and prepares you to move into your workday with some structure.
  3. Adopt the one-touch rule. One surefire way to prevent desk clutter is to deal with every piece of paper as it comes across your desk. Trash it, act on it, file it or – if you really must – place it in your inbox until you have time to deal with it.
  4. Get an inbox and look at it every day. Having a place to leave pending items serves as an excellent reminder to get the task done.
  5. Cut back on saving hard copies of everything. Nowadays, most businesses back up all business related files onto a company server at the end of every day. This makes savings those hard copies unnecessary unless there’s a legitimate reason to do so.
  6. Straighten up your desk every night before leaving the office. By spending just a few minutes at the end of your day ensuring everything is in its place, you will alleviate any early morning stress when arriving to work. Organization is best done regularly versus waiting until it’s piled up so high, it will take hours to sort through.
  7. Create a routine. Make it a habit to cover these steps every day and you will find yourself much more efficient than you could have imagined. It will allow for more time spent on the things that really matter. A routine ensures that each and every day you take consistent steps to rid yourself of mental and physical clutter.

If you are like most of us, you are going to spend the majority of your day at work. It’s essential to your organization and sanity to make your work space work for you so that it maximizes your efficiency.

Hiring the perfect candidate sometimes seems like it has 1,001 steps. Between sorting through all of the resumes, doing phone interviews, conducting in-person interviews, and letting those passed over down in a way that makes them more likely to apply again later, it’s easy to forget that hidden in there is one of the most important steps to making sure you do get the right person for the job.

In this day and age, the reference check has become much more than a mere formality. Shedding light on what a candidate is really like, calling references and verifying former positions and educational history helps enlighten the hiring team as to what the best, and sometimes worst, parts of working with a particular candidate are.

Underestimating the amount of information you can glean from conducting reference checks is done all too often though. Because it takes significant time and energy to call every reference, it might be easier for some agencies to look at having a third party professional recruiter talk to the references.

If this isn’t a strong option, the key to conducting the most successful reference checks lies in asking, and listening, to carefully developed questions that speak to what you most want, and need, to learn about a candidate. Making the process feel like a conversation- one where you’re up front and open about what the opportunity is and what information you’re looking to learn about the candidate- can lead to valuable revelations that help cement your decision and show you where you can best support and develop a new hire.

When developing your reference check questions, you should look for both hard data, such as questions about the candidates skill set, and qualitative data which will help you better understand the candidate’s communication and management style as well as their strengths and areas for improvement.

Some sample questions might include:

  1. Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your relationship with XX.
  2. What are the personal qualities that most stand out to you about XX?
  3. How has XX impacted your organization/department/campaigns?
  4. Can you tell me about XX’s leadership skills?
  5. How does XX deal with conflict? Does XX tend to be successful in dealing with conflict?
  6. If you did an appraisal of XX, where would you highlight areas for professional development?
  7. Have any particular experiences with XX stood out to you?

Speaking with a broad list of references- personal, professional, and developmental- will help you put together the best possible picture of what a candidate would look like in your organization. Since few candidates will put down anyone that would give a less-than-stellar review of them and their abilities, drill down deep into how the reference talks about the candidate and their level of enthusiasm about your candidate for the most telling information.

Thankfully, after all of the reference checks are done, if the candidate still matches your expectations, you can finally make your offer.

Read more about checking candidates’ references.

UST is giving 532 nonprofits $3,869,249 in cash back for their ability to reduce their anticpiated unemployment claims within the year.

UST, a program dedicated to providing nonprofits with workforce solutions that help reduce costs so that they can focus more on their missions, announces that it will be dispersing $3,869,249.80 in cash back to more than 532 of their program participants. After accruing all of their claims savings, audited state returns and cash back throughout the last year, UST members will have $30.1 million filtered back into their nonprofits’ pockets.

UST aims to provide 501(c)(3) nonprofits with the latest HR training, outplacement resources and unemployment claims management tools they need to stay compliant with the state and federal laws, while also helping to reduce paperwork burdens.

One of UST’s most popular programs, UST Trust, helps reimbursing employers build a reserve—protecting their money on the front end—so they don’t experience the steep ups and downs in their cash flow due to unexpected unemployment claims. Unlike their for-profit counterparts, UST Trust participants can receive cash back through UST when their organization is able to reduce their unemployment claims and still maintain a healthy reserve balance for future claims.

“The $3.8 million we are returning to UST participants can offer their organizations the flexibility they need to execute additional mission-driven initiatives,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “Here at UST, we are pleased to be able to continue returning funds to our members and further supporting the communities in which they serve.” 

These refunds are just part of how UST serves its mission of “Providing nonprofits with workforce solutions that reduce costs and strengthen their missions.”

To learn more about the UST program for 501(c)(3) employers, visit www.ChooseUST.org. If you’re a reimbursing or tax-rated nonprofit, and looking for innovative ways to save money, fill out a free Unemployment Cost Analysis form.

Since the recession began, companies laid off millions of employees believing that their bottom line wouldn’t survive if they kept any more than the most skeletal staff onboard. And, as people lost their jobs, nonprofits lost large chunks of their funding.

Things seem to be changing though. Recently economic-focused news outlets, like Bloomberg Businessweek, have been reporting an upswing in hiring trends, lower jobless claims and that companies are re-hiring for many of the positions they previously cut.

Creating hope that the recession may be breathing its last breaths, these reports are also changing the ways employees interact at nonprofits.

Now, even though more people are volunteering with charitable and nonprofit agencies through social media and word-of-mouth, the lack of funding for employee paychecks is causing high turnovers as these employees are offered better paying jobs elsewhere.

For instance, The Chronicle of Philanthropy has found that there is an exceptionally high turnover rate for fundraisers that is costing charities lots- and lots- of money. Finding that most fundraisers are only staying at their jobs for an average of 16 months and are being recruited after only a few months, the direct and indirect costs of finding a replacement are estimated to be $127,650 per fundraiser.

Because demand for fundraisers, and many other nonprofit employees, vastly outstrips the supply of good candidates, the president of Cygnus Applied Research, Penelope Burk, says that she has found that “only 1 out of 3 fundraisers experience[s] even a day without a job.”

In conducting research for a study that is expected to be released this fall, Burk suggests that keeping fundraisers happy can save organizations thousands of dollars. She also suggests that agencies work at promoting their internal talent and offering training opportunities that can make inside people better qualified for assuming new positions.

Just one example of where high turnover is hurting nonprofits, the move to re-train the unemployed for new positions is also affecting nonprofits as many job seekers are requesting courses and training in fields like computers and nursing where they can expect a stable salary.

Operating on already tight budgets, the high rate of turnover at many nonprofits is making it even harder to survive, but by looking for ways to increase employee happiness- whether that means offering more time out of the office or the ability to work from home- more agencies can compete for the best possible candidates.

To find out if job seekers can be re-trained to work for your organization, contact your local unemployment agency or career center.

Terms Of Use

Privacy Policy and Terms of Use

UST maintains a secure site. This means that information we obtain from you in the process of enrolling is protected and cannot be viewed by others. Information about your agency is provided to our various service providers once you enroll in UST for the purpose of providing you with the best possible service. Your information will never be sold or rented to other entities that are not affiliated with UST. Agencies that are actively enrolled in UST are listed for review by other agencies, UST’s sponsors and potential participants, but no information specific to your agency can be reviewed by anyone not affiliated with UST and not otherwise engaged in providing services to you except as required by law or valid legal process.

Your use of this site and the provision of basic information constitute your consent for UST to use the information supplied.

UST may collect generic information about overall website traffic, and use other analytical information and tools to help us improve our website and provide the best possible information and service. As you browse UST’s website, cookies may also be placed on your computer so that we can better understand what information our visitors are most interested in, and to help direct you to other relevant information. These cookies do not collect personal information such as your name, email, postal address or phone number. To opt out of some of these cookies, click here. If you are a Twitter user, and prefer not to have Twitter ad content tailored to you, learn more here.

Further, our website may contain links to other sites. Anytime you connect to another website, their respective privacy policy will apply and UST is not responsible for the privacy practices of others.

This Privacy Policy and the Terms of Use for our site is subject to change.

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy and Terms of Use

UST maintains a secure site. This means that information we obtain from you in the process of enrolling is protected and cannot be viewed by others. Information about your agency is provided to our various service providers once you enroll in UST for the purpose of providing you with the best possible service. Your information will never be sold or rented to other entities that are not affiliated with UST. Agencies that are actively enrolled in UST are listed for review by other agencies, UST’s sponsors and potential participants, but no information specific to your agency can be reviewed by anyone not affiliated with UST and not otherwise engaged in providing services to you except as required by law or valid legal process.

Your use of this site and the provision of basic information constitute your consent for UST to use the information supplied.

UST may collect generic information about overall website traffic, and use other analytical information and tools to help us improve our website and provide the best possible information and service. As you browse UST’s website, cookies may also be placed on your computer so that we can better understand what information our visitors are most interested in, and to help direct you to other relevant information. These cookies do not collect personal information such as your name, email, postal address or phone number. To opt out of some of these cookies, click here. If you are a Twitter user, and prefer not to have Twitter ad content tailored to you, learn more here.

Further, our website may contain links to other sites. Anytime you connect to another website, their respective privacy policy will apply and UST is not responsible for the privacy practices of others.

This Privacy Policy and the Terms of Use for our site is subject to change.