Blogs

November 23, 2020

2020 Risk Management Toolkit for Nonprofit Employers

The Coronavirus has presented a whole new set of challenges to the nonprofit sector—one of the most prevalent being the impact of unpredicted unemployment costs. To help nonprofit employers address (and avoid) future UI risks, we've compiled our top resources to create the 2020 Employer Risk Management Toolkit

As nonprofits continue to struggle in the current economic environment, it's more important than ever to recognize and manage unemployment risk. This free toolkit includes unemployment cost management strategies, a UI Integrity infographic, fraud prevention tips, and more:

  1. Understanding Unemployment Insurance
  2. Top Employer UI Cost Management Challenges
  3. Webinar Recording: Supporting Nonprofit Sustainability
  4. UI Integrity Best Practices Infographic
  5. Overview of UI Benefit Changes Under the CARES Act
  6. COVID-19 Employer Tax Credits: The Employee Retention Credit
  7. The Anatomy of Improper UI Payments
  8. Addressing Unemployment Fraud in the Workplace
  9. State-by-State Unemployment Insurance Reference Guide

Want access to more nonprofit-specific tips, toolkits and webinars? Sign up for our nonprofit eNewsletter today!

November 20, 2020

[Webinar Recording] UST Live: Recruiting During a Pandemic

In our third and final UST Live webinar, we welcomed three human resource leaders from across the U.S. with expertise in recruitment best practices to discuss innovative strategies for interviewing and hiring best-fit job candidates, while showcasing brand and culture, in the age of the Coronavirus. You'll also learn about the latest recruiting tools that your HR peers have leveraged during the pandemic.

Watch now to discover:

  • How to streamline hiring processes and attract the right candidates
  • Tactics for illustrating a positive employer brand and workplace culture
  • Ideas to maintain an effective interview process with in-person limitations

As nonprofit employers and their employees continue to navigate the many unknowns of the Coronavirus—and its impact on future business—UST remains committed to supporting the sector with reliable and timely content for managing the day-to-day challenges of COVID-19.

November 10, 2020

HR Question: Asking Employees About Their Symptoms

Question: As we begin to return to work, if an employee is out of the office due to sickness, can we ask them about their symptoms?

Answer: Yes, but there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. In non-pandemic circumstances, employers shouldn’t ask about an employee’s symptoms, as that could be construed as a disability-related inquiry. Under the circumstances, however — and in line with an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace — it is recommended that employers ask specifically about the symptoms of COVID-19.

Here is a suggested communication: “Thank you for staying home while sick. In the interest of keeping all employees as safe as possible, we’d like to know if you are having any of the symptoms of COVID-19. Are you experiencing a fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or a new loss of taste or smell?”

Remember that medical information must be kept confidential as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If the employee does reveal that they have symptoms of COVID-19, or has a confirmed case, the CDC recommends informing the employee’s co-workers of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace (but not naming the employee who has or might have it) and directing them to self-monitor for symptoms. Employers should also follow CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfecting.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 60-day trial here.

November 04, 2020

2020 Virtual Event Best Practice Tips

As we continue social-distancing—heavily relying on virtual resources—large-scale events have taken on a whole new look and feel. With 2021 right around the corner, NOW is the time to map out what your nonprofit's event strategy will look like in the new year and beyond.

While the idea of hosting a virtual event might seem overwhelming, with thoughtful planning and the right support, achieving exceptional results is possible. Virtual events offer the best combination of brand exposure and the digital engagement people crave. Whether your event is large or small, one day or one week, we've compiled some of the top Virtual Event Best Practice Tips to help you navigate the many considerations involved in planning (and executing) a successful virtual event. 

Want access to more nonprofit-specific tips, toolkits and webinars? Sign up for our nonprofit eNewsletter today!

October 29, 2020

COVID-19 Nonprofit Story: DARTS

UST’s new blog series, “COVID-19 Nonprofit Stories,” illustrates how nonprofits and their employees have been coping with the unexpected challenges of the Coronavirus. Each blog spotlights one organization and the personal hurdles and workforce strategies they have encountered throughout this pandemic.

Our next story comes from another dedicated UST member—DARTS. Located in Minneapolis, DARTS provides personalized professional services to the aging demographic in the local Dakota County. By providing transportation and home services to their aging community, DARTS helps participants to lead more independent and fulfilling lives. Their services include such things as light housework, outdoor chores, home repair, caregiving resources, transportation and more.

Q: In general, how has your nonprofit been impacted by COVID-19?

A: DARTS provides services to help older adults stay engaged in the community and live in home of their choice. COVID-19 has caused older adults to isolate themselves and their caregivers are either isolated from their loved one or unable to have respite from them. The need for our services grew and we had to rapidly adapt to be able to provide them safely.

Q: What was the most immediate impact your organization faced during the onset of COVID-19?

A: DARTS provides bus rides for groups of older adults, as well as individuals. The group rides stopped immediately on March 13. We took our bus capacity to help fill a need that older adults were not able or willing to go out to food shelves to get groceries by partnering with area food shelves to help deliver those food supports.

Q: What do you see as the long-term impact COVID-19 will have on your organization?

A: How we gather as older adults will be affected for months to come and so we are becoming more nimble with technology to supplement in-person meetings and group gatherings. COVID-19 will help those with means to rely more on technology and it will make the gap larger between those who have resources and those who do not.

Q: How have you addressed employee mental health and wellness during this time?

A: We added intentional time during team meetings to talk about COVID related stress and social justice issues. We hold regular optional coffee breaks so that people can still connect, leaders are proactively reaching out to their team, we are allowing flexibility for those who can to work from home and we got brightly colored DARTS shirts for employees - a cheerful reminder as to how important they are to our community."

Keep an eye out for future renditions of “COVID-19 Nonprofit Stories,” as we continue to gather insight from the nonprofit sector. In the meantime, check out our COVID-19 Resource Center for more nonprofit-specific content—including unemployment insights, workforce trends, employee wellness tips, COVID-19 FAQs and more!

October 23, 2020

2020 Employee Engagement Toolkit

As the pandemic continues to impact the way we work—with no end date in sight—many employees are left feeling disengaged and unmotivated. To help nonprofit leaders rethink (and prioritize) the employee experience, we've compiled our top resources to create the 2020 Employee Engagement Toolkit

Now more than ever, it's critical that you foster a positive work culture where employees feel valued, involved and supported. This free toolkit includes a helpful checklist, a survey template, best practice tips and more:

  1. Employee Engagement Survey Template
  2. Employee Engagement Checklist for Leaders
  3. 6 Employee Engagement Best Practice Tips
  4. 5 Creative Ways to Celebrate Your Team
  5. Back-to-School FAQs: DOL Guidance on FFCRA Leave for Employees
  6. 7 Tips to Help Keep Your Nonprofit Employees Mentally Sound
  7. Blog: 5 Ways to Offer Your Support During a Time of Crisis
  8. Webinar Recording: Employee Engagement & Mental Wellness Strategies During COVID-19

Would you like access to more HR-specific articles, templates and checklists? Sign up for a free 60-day Trial of UST HR Workplace today! You'll also gain access to live, certified HR consultants, 300+ on-demand training courses, an extensive compliance library and more.

October 15, 2020

[Webinar Recording] UST Live: Developing a Sustainable Strategy for 2021

 

UST's latest interactive webinar series, "UST Live," brings the collective expertise of reputable nonprofit leaders to you—live—in virtual panel discussions.

In our second UST Live webinar, the panel discussed new (and successful) strategies nonprofit leaders have implemented since COVID-19 began, as well as common hurdles nonprofits are facing with future strategy development. Plus, get YOUR questions answered first-hand by your nonprofit peers—who have tremendous experience in strategic thinking and organizational sustainability best practices.

Watch now to discover:

  • Common hurdles nonprofit leaders encountered (and overcame) during COVID-19
  • Tactics utilized for refining existing strategies and developing new ones altogether
  • Successful operational strategies that were implemented after the pandemic began
  • Ideas on how to develop sustainable strategies for 2021

Upcoming UST Live Webinars: In our final session for 2020—scheduled for November 19th—we'll discuss innovative recruitment best practices that can help nonprofits attract quality job candidates during (and after) a pandemic.

October 08, 2020

HR Question: Reducing Pay Due to COVID-19

Question: Can we reduce pay because of an economic slowdown due to COVID-19?

Answer: You can reduce an employee’s rate of pay based on business or economic slowdown, provided that this is not done retroactively. For instance, if you give employees notice that their pay will change on the 10th, and your payroll period runs from the 1st through the 15th, make sure that their next check still reflects the higher rate of pay for the first 9 days of the payroll period.

Nonexempt employees (those entitled to overtime) - A nonexempt employee’s new rate of pay must still meet the applicable federal, state, or local minimum wage. Employees must be given notice of the change to their rate of pay, and some states require advance notice.

Exempt employees (those not entitled to overtime) - An exempt employee’s new salary must still be at or above the federal or state minimum for exempt employees. The federal minimum salary is $684 per week. Several states have weekly minimums that are higher than that (California and New York, for instance, are in the $1,000 per week range). The minimum may not be prorated based on hours worked.

Exempt employee reclassification - If an exempt employee has so little work to do that it does not make sense to pay them the federal or state minimum (or you simply cannot afford to), they can be reclassified as nonexempt and be paid by the hour instead. This must not be done on a very short-term basis. Although there are no hard and fast rules about how long you can reclassify someone, it is recommended that you don’t change their classification unless you expect the slowdown to last for more than three weeks. Changing them back and forth frequently could cause you to lose their exemption retroactively and potentially owe years of overtime.

Employees with contracts or CBAs - If employees have employment contracts or are subject to collective-bargaining agreements (CBAs), you should consult with an attorney before making any changes to pay.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial here.

September 30, 2020

COVID-19 Nonprofit Story: National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)

As nonprofit employers continue to navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19, UST decided to compile a blog series that illustrates how nonprofits and their employees have been coping with the unexpected challenges of the Coronavirus. Each blog will spotlight one organization and the personal hurdles and workforce strategies they have encountered throughout this pandemic.

Our first story comes from one of our dedicated UST members, the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. (NORD). Located on the East coast, NORD is very near the epicenter of where the Coronavirus transmission began. A patient advocacy organization, NORD is dedicated to helping individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them through programs of education, advocacy, research and patient services.

Q: In general, how has your nonprofit been impacted by COVID-19?

A: We moved to having all staff working from home. Since two of our organization’s offices are located in Southern New England and the third is in Washington D.C., and these were the areas of the country that were first impacted, the states and locations where we are located basically closed businesses—and offices we were forced to work from home.

Q: What was the most immediate impact your organization faced during the onset of COVID-19?

A: We were required to purchase laptops and other electronic equipment for some of our staff so they could work from home. We also had to change various events from being in person to being remote/virtual.

Q: What do you see as the long-term impact COVID-19 will have on your organization?

A: We will probably have staff working either full time from home or have them come into the office less often. As far as events, I think they will eventually be held in person, though I am not certain.

Q: How have you addressed employee mental health and wellness during this time?

A: We have had one virtual all staff meeting, which was well received, plus we send out a newsletter each week which contains information about what the staff members are doing during this "new normal". In addition, we have software which allows the individual staff members to connect via video with each other during the day which allows them to maintain some sense of "normalness."

Keep an eye out for future renditions of the blog series, “COVID-19 Nonprofit Stories,” as we continue to gather insight from the nonprofit sector. Check out our COVID-19 Resource Center for more nonprofit-specific content—including unemployment insights, workforce trends, employee wellness tips, COVID-19 FAQs and more!

September 22, 2020

[Webinar Recording] UST Live: Employee Management Strategies

To help nonprofits combat the most prevalent day-to-day workforce challenges caused by COVID-19, UST has launched a NEW interactive webinar series called "UST Live." We're collaborating with reputable nonprofit leaders & HR experts across the U.S. to bring their collective expertise to you—live—in hour-long, virtual panel discussions.

In our first UST Live webinar, the panel discussed the innovative employee management strategies that are being used for onboarding, training, employee development and employee engagement during these difficult times. Plus, the panel answered attendee’s questions related to HR best practices and employee relations management.

Watch now to discover:

  • Tactics on how to effectively onboard new staff during a pandemic
  • How employee training processes have evolved since the onset of COVID-19
  • Common hurdles nonprofits are facing with prioritizing employee development
  • Ideas on how to keep employees engaged and mentally well

Upcoming UST Live Webinars: This webinar series was designed to equip nonprofits with the strategies and resources they need to survive (and thrive) throughout this pandemic. Be sure to register for our next UST webinars—scheduled for October 15th and November 19th—where we'll discuss how to develop a sustainable strategy for 2021 as well as innovative recruitment best practices.

September 18, 2020

2020 UST Workforce Re-Entry Toolkit

 

As states begin to loosen their social distancing restrictions, nonprofit employers are beginning to strategize a return-to-work plan while staying compliant with state, local and federal guidelines. To equip nonprofit leaders with the resources they need to safely re-enter the workplace, we compiled the 2020 Workforce Re-Entry Toolkit

While the decision to reopen will vary from employer to employer, having a thoughtful strategy in place will help minimize employee concern and solidify any new policies well in advance of re-entry. This free toolkit includes essential checklists, letter templates, sample policies and response plans:

  • Return to Work Employer Checklist
  • COVID-19 Employer FAQs
  • Checklist: Preparing the Workspace for Re-Entry
  • Survey: Employee Readiness to Return to Work
  • Employer Guide: Deciding Who Returns
  • COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policies
  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Poster
  • Sample Welcome Back Letter
  • Quick Response Plan for Infected Employees
  • Sample Communication Regarding Infection in the Workplace
  • Webinar Recording: Preparing to Re-Entry to the Workplace

Would you like access to more HR-specific articles, templates and checklists? Sign up for a free 60-day Trial of UST HR Workplace today! You'll also gain access to live, certified HR consultants, 300+ on-demand training courses, and extensive compliance library and more.

September 01, 2020

Back-to-School FAQs About Leave Under the FFCRA

The end of summer traditionally signals the start of a busy period for employers and HR professionals, as they update their policies to reflect regulatory changes, complete their HR initiatives for the year, and start their next-year planning. This fall promises to be especially active given the continuing pandemic and related HR challenges.

The start of the 2020-2021 school year has created confusion and disruption for both employers and their employees. As a result, ThinkHR, powering UST HR Workplace, has been fielding urgent questions about how to handle a variety of situations, including how online vs. in-person school impacts employee leave. Following are some of the most common questions received and their responses.

Q: If children and their parents can choose between in-person schooling or online schooling, can we deny leave to employees who choose online schooling?

A: We don’t know yet. EFMLA can be used when a child’s school or place of care is “closed,” such that the child cannot be there in person. This might suggest that if the option is available to attend in-person, that those choosing online school would not be eligible for leave. However, we expect that many school districts will need a certain percentage of students to take classes online to make in-person school possible at a sufficiently reduced capacity. In effect, these schools will be “closed” to a certain portion of the student body and it may or may not matter whether the parents chose the online option. We expect guidance from the Department of Labor soon that will answer this question definitively.

Q: If kids are going to school in-person two days a week and doing school from home three days a week, do we have to give a parent three days a week off or can we refuse intermittent leave?

A: If you’re in the Southern District of New York, you must grant intermittent EFMLA if that is what an employee needs and asks for. That district includes the counties of Bronx, Dutchess, New York, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, and Westchester.

In the rest of the country, the answer is not clear, but we certainly recommend providing intermittent leave (as does the Department of Labor). Employees with children are in desperate need of flexibility and understanding right now and refusing a request for intermittent leave may lead to low morale, low productivity, or the employee quitting.

Keep in mind that not all employees will want a full day off just because a child is doing school from home — many may request an hour or two in the morning and an hour or two in the afternoon. Being open to these kinds of requests should help you maximize productivity (as much as possible under tough circumstances) and reduce turnover.

Q: Can we set up childcare or tutoring in the workplace?

A: While it may be possible (and we applaud the creativity), you’d want to consult with an attorney or someone else in your state that is familiar with the kind of licensing and insurance that would be required to do this. Even if you were only allowing children in the workplace occasionally, and they remained under the control of their parent, you’d want to check with your general liability carrier to make sure that it would cover incidents that involved a visiting child.

Q: Can I deny leave to an employee who has high schoolers who should be able to take care of themselves during the day?

A: No. However, if the child or children are 15 or older, you should require that the employee provide a statement or affirmation that there are special circumstances that cause the older child to need their care. They do not need to provide any further information beyond that statement (such as what the special circumstances are). If you feel it necessary, you can remind all employees that it is fraudulent to take FFCRA leave if they are not unable to work as a result of the care they will be providing. 

Q: Can we require proof that the school or place of care is closed?

A: No. You can and should (for IRS documentation) require the names and ages of the child or children being cared for and the name of the school, place of care, or caregiver that is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19. You should also require a signed statement that the employee is unable to work because they need to provide care for the child or children. Finally, if the child or children are 15 or older, the employee needs to indicate that there are special circumstance (but doesn’t need to explain them).

We don’t encourage independent sleuthing to verify what an employee tells you, but if you feel that’s necessary, be very careful of doing anything that could infringe on an employee’s right to privacy. Also be consistent in verifying this kind of information — if you are only fact-checking certain employees, you’ll open yourself up to complaints of unfair treatment.

Q:  Can I ask an employee to look for different childcare if their usual provider is unavailable?

A: No. An employee is entitled to leave if the child's usual care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 — they are under no obligation to look for alternatives, and any attempt on your part to require that would be illegal interference with their right to leave.

Q: Can I deny leave if I think or know an employee is lying about the need to care for a child?

A: There is significant risk in denying a request for FFCRA leave if an employee has provided the appropriate documentation. That said, if you believe the request is fraudulent, you should have a discussion with the employee before granting or denying leave. If it turns out that they were submitting a fraudulent request — and you have sufficient evidence to support that — you can take disciplinary action if it seems appropriate. If, after discussion, you think their request is more likely than not legitimate, you should grant it.

Be careful of disciplining an employee who requests leave but doesn’t meet the necessary criteria. These leave entitlements can be confusing, and it would be unlawful retaliation to discipline an employee who was attempting to use their right to leave in good faith.    

Q: If an employee’s stay-at-home spouse is sick with COVID-19 and unable to care for their children, can they take FFCRA leave to do so?

A: Yes, the children’s regular care provider (the stay-at-home spouse) is unavailable because of COVID-19, so the employee would be able to use either EPSL or EFMLA to provide care while their spouse is not able to do so.

Q: What if an employee won’t fill out the required FFCRA documentation?

A: The earliest an employer can require notice is after the first workday of FFCRA leave. (The regulations require employees to provide notice of their need for school closure leave as soon as practicable, but there are no consequences if the employee doesn't do so.) If, after the first workday, the employee does not provide sufficient documentation to support their request for leave, they must be notified of the problem and given an opportunity to provide what is needed. If the employee still does not provide completed documentation after being given a reasonable opportunity to do so, then the employer is not required to provide FFCRA leave.  

Q: Can we terminate an employee who is unable to work because they need to care for a child but have used up their leave under the FFCRA?

A: Assuming that no other leave laws apply, termination is an option. But you may want to instead consider offering the employee an unpaid personal leave of absence or revisiting whether a flexible or part-time work schedule would be better than losing the employee entirely. Recruiting, hiring, and training are all expensive undertakings, so if there’s a way to keep an employee around — even if they need some time off — that is likely better for your bottom line.

If you do decide to terminate an employee who is out of leave, make sure you can be consistent in that response going forward. If you are flexible with some employees while firing others, you will open yourself up to claims of discrimination.   

Q: What if we find out after we’ve granted and paid for an employee’s leave that it was fraudulent? Do we make them pay us back or report them to the IRS?

A: There is not yet clear guidance about how to handle this situation, so we recommend calling your local Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. They are generally very responsive and may be able to provide some guidance based on your situation.

The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to provide compliance assistance to employers and its employees on their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA. The full 100-question Department of Labor FAQ can be found here.

This Q&A was provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Sign up for your FREE 60-day trialand test drive UST’s online HR platform! You’ll find HR-specific articles, templates and checklists as well as access to a plethora of tools including a live HR consultant, 300+ on-demand training courses and an extensive compliance library.

August 28, 2020

Help Your Employees Better Manage Stress

As we continue working from home—isolated from loved ones, juggling work/life balance and trying to make sense of this seemingly never-ending pandemic—stress levels are at an all-time high. So it's more important than ever to ensure the well-being of your workforce.

The harmful side effects of long-term stress can lead to increased absenteeism, poor work quality and decreased morale. Taking the time to show you care about your employees' mental health, by developing activities and resources that help alleviate stress, can create a sustainable, positive workplace.

Without effective mental health resources in place, it could cost your organization its best employees. Uncover 7 Tips to Keep Your Nonprofit Employees Mentally Sound to help foster an engaged workforce during these uncertain times.

Would you like access to more HR-specific articles, templates and checklists? Sign up for a FREE 60-Day UST HR Workplace Trial today! (Use priority code "2020HR-Content" to expedite your request).

August 21, 2020

Nonprofit Sector Layoffs Surge Due to Pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic has pushed the economy into a sudden and deep recession, impacting local businesses as well as a number of large corporations. But the effects of this pandemic on the nonprofit organization has been even more substantial and unfortunately, gone unnoticed. Many citizens rely on the services nonprofits provide such as, social services, medical care and spiritual community. Tens of thousands of nonprofits are likely to close without the support of some kind of rescue package to help keep their doors open. The nonprofit sector is the nation’s third-largest private employer, with 1.3 million nonprofits employing nearly 12.5 million people—about 10 percent of the total number of people working in the private sector.

According to the John Hopkins University 2020 Nonprofit Unemployment Report, more than 1.6 million nonprofit jobs have been lost between March and May of 2020. Private education nonprofits lost an estimated 323,201 jobs, while health care lost an estimated 574,530. As we know, nonprofits come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from large organizations, like city hospitals to small mom and pop thrift shops that help support local charities. No matter the size, nonprofits have been severely impacted by the pandemic in more ways than one. Many nonprofits are unable to perform normal day-to-days tasks due to the number of shutdowns and social distancing requirements. For food pantries and free clinics, the economic disruption has caused an increase in clients in need of these services. While many think of nonprofits as running predominately on donations, roughly half of their revenue come from billing for services, a third from government contracts and grants, and only about 9 percent from individual donations.

While some foundations and charitable-giving funds have seen an increase in their donations, other nonprofits have not had the same luck due to relying on revenue-generating activities and fundraising. Making it not only difficult to keep people on the payroll but also impacting long-term viability of their organization.

Many nonprofits were eligible for federal pandemic aid under the Paycheck Protection Program, which extended potentially forgivable loans to small employers to keep workers on the payroll. But qualifying for such aid can be difficult. Give Kids the World received $1.75 million, however, organizations like the Y.M.C.A. of Metropolitan Chicago were left out because they had more than 500 employees.

The nonprofit sector has more of an impact on the overall economy than many realize—offering crucial contributions to the country’s health, education, social service, and cultural activities. Nonprofits not only make up the country’s third largest workforce but also generate the third largest payroll of any national industry while making important contributions to the tax revenue of the country’s national, state, and local governments. The devastation of this pandemic has put many individuals out of work while closing the doors of many other beloved nonprofits—putting pressure on the vital services these organizations offer their communities.

August 13, 2020

UST Launches New Video – Simplify Your Nonprofit’s Recruitment & Onboarding Processes

For over three decades, UST has been providing nonprofits with HR solutions that help manage day-to-day workforce issues, ensure compliance, and maximize employee bandwidth. By offering essential tools such as the job description builder, customizable online employee training tracks, and onboarding checklist, UST helps nonprofits maximize productivity and increase employee engagement.

As part of UST’s ongoing efforts to strengthen and educate 501(c)(3) organizations, we’re excited to announce the recent launch of our newest short video—designed to provide a snapshot of UST’s cloud-based HR platform. About a minute long, this video highlights tools that allow nonprofit employers to navigate the many complex realms of human resource management with ease—including recruitment and employee training.

Check out our newest video today to discover how our virtual HR services can help streamline your nonprofit’s HR processes and simplify day-to-day tasks—so you can focus more time on what matters most: keeping your mission-driven initiatives moving forward.  

Test drive UST’s online HR platform today and explore some of these essential HR checklists and training solutions for yourself! Sign up for your FREE 60-Day HR Trial here!

August 07, 2020

Nonprofit eBook Reveals Strategies to Secure Nonprofit Endurance

UST releases a new eBook, focused on positive brand perception in today’s increasingly competitive job market.

Founded by nonprofits, for nonprofits, UST publishes an eBook that discusses the importance of ensuring you have a solid brand reputation and why. This insightful eBook uncovers strategies that nonprofit employers can utilize to attract employees that fit their organization’s culture, mission, and values—and keep them.

Available now for download, UST’s eBook explores 5 key strategies that can help strengthen your organization's culture through inclusivity, innovation and trust.

You'll also discover:

  • Why it's important to evaluate your employer’s brand
  • How to increase productivity and improve bandwidth
  • Methods to create cultural diversity in the workplace

Don’t miss your opportunity to download your complimentary copy of “A Collective Strength: Strategies to Secure Nonprofit Endurance” to discover how to attract better talent and promote a diverse and inclusive workplace.

July 29, 2020

2020 UST Nonprofit HR Toolkit

Here at UST we’ve put together our Top 10 Guides for 2020 Nonprofit Human Resource management. And for a limited time, we’re giving them away for FREE.

Since 1983, UST has provided nonprofits with the latest HR resources in an effort to help organizations stay compliant, maximize employee bandwidth and reduce overhead costs. This toolkit includes updated 2020 state and local minimum wage data and recordkeeping requirements, as well as a variety of checklists to ensure compliance. Plus, you can discover facts surrounding COVID-19 laws and the latest workplace protocol.

  • State and Local Minimum Wage
  • Federal Recordkeeping Requirements
  • ACA Employer Compliance Checklist
  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
  • COVID-19 Fact vs. Fiction
  • Employee Handbook Self-Audit
  • Involuntary Termination Checklist
  • New Employee Onboarding Checklist
  • Webinar Recording: Preparing for Re-Entry to the Workplace
  • UST Program Evaluation Form  

Still have questions? You can get a free 60-day trial of UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR. This cloud-based HR platform offers a live expert hotline, 300+ online training and compliance courses, compensation tools, employee handbook builders and employee classification step-by-step guides. Set up your ThinkHR Trial today!

July 09, 2020

HR Question: Replacing Employees Not Ready to Return to Work

Question: Some of our employees have said they don't feel safe returning to work. Can we just permanently replace them?

Answer: We recommend extreme caution when deciding to replace an employee who refuses to work because of concerns about COVID-19. Generally, employees do not have a right to refuse to work based only on a generalized fear of becoming ill if their fear is not based on objective evidence of possible exposure. However, under the current circumstances, where COVID-19 continues to be a threat across the country, we think it would be difficult to show that employees have no reason to fear coming in to work, particularly but not exclusively in a location with a shelter-in-place rule. Returning employees may also have certain rights under state and federal law. Here are few things to keep in mind:

  • Recalled employees may have a right to job-protected leave under a city ordinance, state law, or the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). See our overview of the FFCRA.
  • Employees who are in a high-risk category — either because they are immunocompromised or have an underlying condition that makes them more susceptible to the disease — may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or state law if their situation doesn’t qualify them for leave under the FFCRA (or if they have run out of that leave). It would be a reasonable accommodation under the circumstances to allow the employee to work from home or take an unpaid leave, if working from home is not possible.
  • Employees who live with someone who is high risk are not entitled to a reasonable accommodation under federal law, but we strongly recommend allowing them to work from home if possible or take an unpaid leave. Otherwise, they may decide to quit and collect unemployment insurance. If you want to keep them as an employee, being compassionate and flexible is your best bet.
  • Under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules, an employee’s refusal to perform a task will be protected if all of the following conditions are met:
    • Where possible, the employee asked the employer to eliminate the danger, and the employer failed to do so;
    • The employee refused to work in “good faith,” which means that the employee must genuinely believe that an imminent danger exists;
    • A reasonable person would agree that there is a real danger of death or serious injury; and
    • There isn’t enough time, because of the urgency of the hazard, to get it corrected through regular enforcement channels, such as requesting an OSHA inspection.

Check state and local law to see if additional protections may apply.

Instead of replacing employees who express fear at this time, we recommend that you consider methods to encourage employees to come to work and to help put their minds at ease. Consider emphasizing all of the safety methods you have put in place (such as scheduled handwashing, frequent disinfection of surfaces, social distancing rules, reduced customer capacity, staggered shifts, or more extreme measures if warranted by your industry). We recommend relying on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health department guidance for establishing safe working conditions at this time. You might also consider offering premium pay (a.k.a. hazard pay) or additional paid time off for use in the future to employees who must come to work.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 60-day trial today.

 

July 01, 2020

Guidance for Nonprofits When Returning to Work

As nonprofit organizations prepare to return to business as usual, there are quite a few new safety protocols being put in place to ensure that employees return to a safe work environment. The Center for Disease Control – CDC continues to release updated guidelines for employers to help prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. When making decisions around business operations, two main components should be factored in: (1) the level of disease transmission in your community and (2) how prepared your business is to protect both your employees and customers.

Employers are encouraged to coordinate with their state and local health officials to acquire timely and accurate information to provide updates to employees as needed. If your nonprofit’s business operations were put on hold, or are gearing up for workforce re-entry, this is an opportunity to update your COVID-19 preparedness, response and control plans.

When making the appropriate updates to your organization’s COVID-19 plans, the following items should be included:

  • It must speak specifically to your workplace environment
  • It must mention all possible job tasks and areas in the workplace that could lead to possible exposure to COVID-19
  • It must include the appropriate measures that will be taken to eliminate or reduce these exposures

Be sure to take the time to communicate with your employees of any changes and ask for their input—their questions and concerns can ensure all your bases are covered when creating the COVID-19 plan for your organization. Educating our employees on the severity of taking the necessary precautions to keep themselves and others safe is vital. To protect themselves while at work and at home, new policies and procedures related to illness, cleaning and disinfecting should be followed.

To ensure a safe workplace environment, employers should advise their employees of the following:

  • If an employee is sick, they should stay home except if they are going to a doctor’s appointment to receive medical care
  • If an employee’s family member is sick at home, they must alert their supervisor
  • Avoid working in other employees’ work spaces and avoid using their office equipment
  • Practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings while maintaining a distance of 6 feet
  • Wash their hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching their face with unwashed hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces or objects

While there is much more to learn about the severity and characteristics of this virus, as a nonprofit employer, you can do your part to follow important guidelines to create a safe and healthy working environment for your dedicated employees.

June 26, 2020

The UST COVID-19 Nonprofit Employer Guide

Are you still trying to figure out how to navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19 and its impact on your nonprofit and its employees? When you download UST’s new employer guide, 3 Critical Steps to Maintain a Resilient Nonprofit During COVID-19, you'll discover helpful tips on maintaining your nonprofits operations during the current pandemic and beyond.

This short employer guide shares valuable insights and key strategies for securing your brand during times of crisis, including: 

  • Equipping your staff with the tools they need to stay productive at home
  • Supporting employee mental health and well-being during a time of uncertainty
  • Preparing to re-enter the workplace

This guide will not only enable you to stay on top of strategy development, but also equip you with the tools you need to help your employees feel safe. Download your FREE copy today!

June 16, 2020

[Webinar Recording] Preparing for Re-Entry to the Workplace

Nonprofit employers have faced unimaginable challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as states start permitting businesses to reopen, nonprofits across the country are trying to figure out what that looks like for them, their employees and the communities they serve.

This informative webinar recording provides helpful tips for preparing to welcome employees back to the office while maintaining compliance with state and federal regulations related to the Coronavirus. Watch now to discover:

  • Important workplace health and safety measures
  • Ways to return employees to the office in phases
  • How to handle common areas in the office
  • And more general best practices

For additional COVID-19 employer resources and FAQs, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center today!

June 10, 2020

UST Supports Nonprofits Who Fight for Social Justice & Equity

UST is deeply saddened by the series of disturbing and tragic events that have taken place over the last few weeks related to the violence and injustice toward the Black community—including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. The resulting protests have created a long overdue flashpoint for awareness, action, and change. 

UST has supported the nonprofit community for over 35 years and we are proud of the impact that each of our members have in their communities. We know that communities that have nonprofit organizations established within experience less crime, such as murder, violent crime and crimes against property. Sharkey’s work also affirms some of the tenets of community policing: that neighborhoods are vital to policing themselves, and that they can address the complex roots of violence in ways that fall beyond traditional police work. Whether it is taking back the public parks, establishing mentorship programs for youth or implementing job training and employment opportunities, these all make a difference. But. That. Is. Not. Enough.

UST does not do this work directly but we support the organizations who do in their efforts, their ideals and their fight for more social justice and equity in communities across the nation. We are fortunate to have a strong board of Trustees who are all working in their own spaces for change. We think our current Board Chair, Karen Beavor, CEO of the Georgia Center for Nonprofits has expressed our sentiments exceptionally well. View her complete message here.

UST will continue to support the work our nonprofit members do to address these issues; we will listen, and will actively look for ways to be part of the change that is so desperately needed.

June 04, 2020

HR Question: Screening Employees Returning to Work

 

Question: Can we screen employees returning to work for COVID-19?

Answer: Yes. Generally, inquiries about an employee’s health or a medical exam (like a temperature check) would not be allowed, but the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has stated that screening employees for symptoms of COVID-19 is allowed since it is a direct threat to others in the workplace. Because of that, you may inquire about symptoms related to the virus, require self-reporting by employees, and take employees’ temperatures.

Known symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and sudden loss of taste or smell. As the medical community learns more about COVID-19, additional symptoms could be added to this list. Employers can check this page for currently recognized symptoms.

If you decide to do screenings, make sure you screen all employees; otherwise you may find yourself in the middle of a discrimination claim. And remember that all information about employees’ health — including a lack of symptoms or temperature — must be kept confidential.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 60-day trial today.

May 29, 2020

Tips for Ensuring Your Nonprofit Isn’t Scammed During COVID-19

COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines—in more ways than anticipated. While cybercriminals are always looking for ways to scam victims, pandemics provide additional opportunities for fraud. As people are spending more time than ever on their smart phones, iPads, and computers for work, shopping and entertainment, cybercriminals are ramping up their activities and getting more creative with their methods of hacking unsuspecting victims.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers are using COVID-19 to further target consumers and businesses alike. They’re setting up websites, contacting people by phone and email, and posting dishonest information on social media platforms. Being aware of the different types of scams out there is the first step in protecting yourself, your business and your employees. Knowing how to handle those scams can save you a great deal of headache down the road.

The following are some examples of scams linked just to COVID-19:

  • Government Check Scams – Attempt to get you to make a payment in return for available business funds.
  • Business Email Scams – Create dummy accounts that look like they come from a company executive asking an employee to make a financial transaction.
  • IT Scams – Emails that appear to come from your tech team asking for a password or directing your employee to download infected software.
  • Supply and Shopping Scams – Create fake stores, e-commerce websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell high demand supplies like hand sanitizer and face masks. 
  • Robocall Scams – Use a recording that appears to come from Google to target small businesses who may be affected by the Coronavirus, warning them to “ensure your Google listing is correctly displaying. Otherwise, customers may not find you online during this time.”
  • Phishing and Malware Scams - Gain access to your computer to steal your credentials. 
    • Malware is malicious software or viruses that can be activated when you click on email attachments or install risky software.  
    • Phishing is used to convince you to share sensitive data such as passwords or credit card information by pretending to be someone you know.

Take the following precautionary measures to protect your organization and its employees from known and emerging scams:

  • Independently verify the identity of any company, charity or individual that contacts you regarding any COVID-19 related content.
  • Ensure you’re using reliable resources to get up-to-date information on the Coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites are your safest sources.
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails offering information, supplies, or treatment for COVID-19 as well as anyone requesting personal information. Fraudulent emails may be infected with malware designed to capture keystrokes, credentials, or payment information.
  • Do not click on links or open email attachments from unknown or unverified sources.
  • Make sure your anti-malware and anti-virus software programs are operating and up to date.
  • Use secure login methods such as requiring multiple password authentication for remote employees.
  • Secure home networks by using encryption which scrambles information sent over a wireless  connection so outsiders can’t read it.
  • Never provide personal information to anyone who calls out of the blue.

With so many people working remote, hackers are looking for companies to drop their defenses, making it easier to infiltrate networks. When people are aware of what scams are out there, they are much less likely to fall for them. Talk about the risks with your management team, create a simplified outline of what to look for, and how to respond and relay to your entire staff.

May 26, 2020

COVID-19 Fact vs. Fiction for Nonprofit Employers

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 coronarvirus outbreak a pandemic leaving nonprofit employers across the states scrambling to understand the impact on their business. Now that orders are being lifted and we prepare to re-enter the workplace it’s important to understand the do’s and don’ts of implementing new COVID-19 procedures within your organization.

Do you know whether employers are permitted to take employees’ temperatures and ask about symptoms? Or if employers should allow employees to work at the office if they have been exposed to COVID-19, but are not showing any symptoms?

Since it's often difficult to differentiate the credible information from the bogus, UST has compiled a COVID-19 Fact vs. Fiction handout for nonprofit leaders. Uncover the answers by downloading the COVID-19 Fact vs. Fiction Employer Handoutand discover other key COVID-19 facts as well as common misconceptions.

Ensure that Your Nonprofit Stays Compliant! Get a FREE 60-Day Trial of UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR—a cloud-based platform that provides access to a live HR hotline, COVID-19 policy updates, thousands of documents and more. Request your free trial today at www.chooseust.org/HR-trial.

May 21, 2020

Five Ways to Offer Your Support During a Time of Crisis

Our country has been forced to adjust to a new way of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With that, a large percentage of our workforce is now working from home and in an effort to help employees adjust to this new normal, nonprofit employers have created a variety of techniques to better support their employees. From increasing mental health benefits, offering flexible work hours and ensuring employees have what they need to be productive at home—nonprofit employers are doing their best to navigate these changes while keeping their employees well-being a top priority.

Even with all these steps being taken to ensure a smooth transition for employees to work from home, social distancing has certainly altered our in-person interactions, such as coffee breaks, breakroom chats and late afternoon strolls with a colleague. Human connection has the ability to boost our spirits—our mental and physical health need it now more than ever so finding alternate ways to connect is important during this uncertain and strange time.

Some leaders are taking this opportunity to further engage with those who are struggling or that have been impacted in more ways than one during this pandemic—a spouse losing their job, feelings of isolation, increased emotional stress, juggling home-schooling their kids while meeting work deadlines. Times are tough right now and our employees are in need of support.

Here’s some ways you can offer support to someone at work during this pandemic:

1)  Scheduling virtual meet-ups: Check in on each other by hosting virtual coffee dates, lunches, happy hours and even mentoring sessions on video-sharing platforms, which their employer may already offer. A virtual happy hour can offer a relaxing environment for you and your fellow coworkers to escape life for a bit, swap stories and share the latest DIY project that you’ve taken on.

2) Encourage healthy activities: Offer support for a variety of activities people are embracing these days to improve their health and well-being, including new exercise routines and nutritious recipes. A healthy lifestyle that includes workouts and heart-healthy meals can help us remain focused, increase energy levels and be more mindful.

3) Offer cross-training opportunities: Cross-training can provide an opportunity to offer relief to those who may have health, childcare and/or family concerns. Also, cross-training allows for employees to carry out essential functions to keep the company moving forward while employees are out on leave.

4) Connect through social media: Creating a private Facebook group for your employees to share wellness and well-being information with fellow coworkers can be great way to stay connected. From sharing tips on fitness and self-care to a new recipe or a cute pet photo—personal connections can improve the mood of employees, making them subsequently happier and less stressed.

5) Send a care package or make a special doorstep delivery: Small tokens of appreciation go a long way toward forging a connection with your coworker. Baking some homemade cookies, or putting together a simple flower arrangement can brighten anyone’s day. A gift can also come in the form of offering your time or help, such as picking up groceries. 

Any kind of support, while important during normal circumstances, has become even more essential to help keep our employees spirits up and overall well-being high during this pandemic.

May 14, 2020

[Webinar Recording] Employee Engagement & Mental Wellness During COVID-19

While we continue to adjust to this new “normal” of working remotely—with little to no face-to-face interaction—the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a major toll on nonprofit employees and their mental health.

This informative webinar provides helpful tips on how nonprofit leaders can help keep employees productive and engaged in day-to-day work activities. Watch now to learn key strategies that include:

  • Ideas for which company policies to update during unexpected workforce changes
  • Methods for communicating with a remote staff to keep them engaged
  • Tips for recognizing the impact of isolation and loneliness and what to do           

For more access to nonprofit specific how-to guides, checklists and resources? Sign up for UST's monthly eNews today!

May 07, 2020

COVID-19 Nonprofit Workforce Trends Report

In a recent nonprofit survey, UST uncovered how COVID-19 has affected 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, their employees and operational strategies.

With nearly 800 survey respondents—representing a wide variety of nonprofits from across the U.S.—this report highlights critical COVID-19 information, including:

  • How operations have been impacted as a result of COVID-19 containment efforts
  • Sector statistics on reduced work hours, suspended operations, threatened revenue and more
  • Trends surrounding the most utilized resources for navigating this crisis

This report will provide valuable insight on how nonprofit organizations are coping with the unprecedented challenges during this pandemic. Download your complimentary copy today.

April 29, 2020

HR Question: Furlough vs. Layoff

Question: What's the difference between a furlough and a layoff?

Answer: First, you should note that the language used when sending employees home for a period of time is less important than communicating your actual intent. Since temporary layoffs and furloughs are only used regularly in certain industries (usually seasonal), you should not assume that employees will know what they mean. Be sure to communicate your plans for the future, even if they feel quite uncertain or are only short-term.

Furlough

A furlough continues employment but reduces scheduled hours or requires a period of unpaid leave. The thought process is that having all employees incur a bit of hardship is better than some losing their jobs completely. For example, a company may reduce hours to 20 per week for a period of time as a cost-saving measure, or they may place everyone on a two-week unpaid leave. This is typically not considered termination; however, you may still need to provide certain notices to employees about the change in the relationship, and they would likely still be eligible for unemployment.

If the entire company won’t be furloughed, but only certain employees, it is important to be able to show that staff selection is not being done for a discriminatory reason. You’ll want to document the nondiscriminatory business reasons that support the decision to furlough certain employees and not others, such as those that perform essential services.

Layoff

A layoff involves terminating employment during a period when no work is available. This may be temporary or permanent. If you close down completely, but you intend to reopen in the relatively near future or have an expected reopening date — at which time you will rehire an employee, or all employees — this would be considered a temporary layoff. Temporary layoffs are appropriate for relatively short-term slowdowns or closures. A layoff is generally considered permanent if there are no plans to rehire the employee or employees because the slowdown or closure is expected to be lengthy or permanent.

Pay for exempt employees (those not entitled to overtime)

Exempt employees do not have to be paid if they do no work at all for an entire workweek. However, if work is not available for a partial week for an exempt employee, they must be paid their full salary for that week, regardless of the fact that they have done less work. If the point is to save money (and it usually is), it’s best to ensure that the layoff covers the company’s established seven-day workweek for exempt employees. Make it very clear to exempt employees that they should do absolutely no work during any week you’re shut down. If exempt employees do any work during that time, they will need to be paid their normal weekly salary.

Pay for nonexempt employees (those entitled to overtime)

Nonexempt employees only need to be paid for actual hours worked, so single day or partial-week furloughs can be applied to them without worrying about pay implications. We recommend that you engage in open communication with the affected employees before and during the furlough or temporary layoff period.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial today.

April 24, 2020

[Webinar Recording] COVID-19 Unemployment Insights for Nonprofit Employers

Nonprofits are facing unprecedented challenges navigating COVID-19 and its impact on day-to-day operations. Our recent webinar was designed to provide some valuable insight into the latest unemployment legislation and its impact on your organization and its employees.

This informative webinar recording discusses how COVID-19 is impacting nonprofits nationwide, what alternatives there are to layoffs and/or workforce reductions and more. Watch now to discover:

  • How unemployment for nonprofits and nonprofit employees normally works
  • How the COVID-19 response is expected to impact unemployment for Employees
  • How the COVID-19 response is expected to impact unemployment for nonprofit Employers, both tax rated and reimbursing
  • Other COVID-19 response related resources you may consider as alternatives to layoffs and/or reductions in workforce

For additional COVID-19 employer resources and FAQs, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center today!