November 04, 2016
5 Ways to Get Involved in Nonprofit Awareness Month
Total nonfarm payrolls rose by 161,000 in October while the unemployment rate dipped slightly from 5 percent in September to 4.9 percent. The number of unemployed also dipped in October to 7.8 million. The revision in numbers for both August and September, reflect an additional 44,000 employment gains, bringing the monthly average over the last three months to 176,000.
Employment continued to trend up in health care (+31,000), professional and business services (+43,000), and financial activities (+14,000). Combined, these three industries have filled over 100 thousand positions this year. Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed little over the month.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged at 2.0 million in October and accounted for 25.2 percent of the unemployed.
Average hourly earnings climbed an additional 10 cents to $25.92 with an annualized increase of 2.8 percent. Wage growth is at its strongest point right now with the employment-to-population ratio reaching 78.2 percent, a level it hasn’t reached since 2008.
Employment gains have remained steady since the recession ended providing a rise in earnings in recent years which solidifies a rate increase before the end of the year. Some, however, are suspecting that the outcome of Tuesday’s election may ultimately affect that action even further.
Presented by ThinkHR, this 60-minute webinar recording provides additional insights into employer compliance with this rule as a follow-up to the webinar conducted back in May. Learn about the common concerns employers face as well as other employment issues that this rule may cause.
By watching this webinar recording, you will learn:
Throughout the presentation, ThinkHR’s compensation expert, Renee Farrell, will share examples of calculating the costs involved with the final rule, including cost of overtime versus increasing salaries, and share ideas for controlling overtime costs.
Watch the on-demand presentation here: http://bit.ly/overtime-rule-2016
Want access to a live HR hotline and additional webinar opportunities? Visit www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/ and sign up for a FREE 30-day trial of the UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR.
Survey of 2,100 nonprofits reveals that 95 percent of UST members would recommend UST as the preferred unemployment claims management solution for 501(c)(3)s.
Santa Barbara, CA (October 27, 2016) – The Unemployment Services Trust (UST) today announced that 95 percent of its program participants would recommend UST to their fellow nonprofits for the program’s extensive cost-saving resources. Having recently added outplacement services to its list of member benefits as well as increasing education-based webinar opportunities, UST attributes this high net promoter score to its evolving customer service model.
Under federal law, 501(c)(3) employers have the exclusive ability to opt out of their state’s unemployment tax system and instead pay only for the unemployment benefits claimed by former employees. UST helps nonprofits exercise this unique tax exemption status in a safe and cost-effective manner by delivering the latest workforce solutions that ensure HR compliance, reduce cumbersome paperwork tasks and mitigate unemployment claims overpayments.
“We are constantly fine-tuning the UST program to address the sector’s current pain points and shifting needs in managing HR and unemployment liability,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “We couldn’t be more pleased to know the vast majority of our membership is very satisfied with our service, and honored that they would recommend our program to their peers.”
UST offers an extensive list of member benefits, which includes a live HR hotline, online employee handbook builder, 100% representation at unemployment claims hearings and e-Filing capabilities—helping to streamline day-to-day tasks and keep more money in the nonprofit community.
Most nonprofits have a November 30th state deadline to opt out of the unemployment tax system for 2017. UST encourages 501(c)(3) organizations, who have yet to benchmark their unemployment costs, to submit a free Unemployment Cost Analysis form by November 15 to find out how they may benefit from the UST program.
Performing small business payroll can be both difficult and critical to effectively avoiding the all-too-tricky claim type, “independent contractor vs employee.”
Nonprofit employers must take the time to learn the distinguishing characteristics of an employee of an organization and an independent contractor, who are self-employed individuals. If and when you make a mistake when classifying these two worker categories, not only will this mix-up lead to high penalties, but you may have to outsource for payroll assistance—costing your organization both valuable time and money.
In general, here’s how you differentiate the two workers:
To avoid overpayments, rework for the employer and state, and potential investigations from the IRS, employers should use either the ABC Test or the Common Law Test to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor.
Both tests are designed to readily identify the worker-employer relationship, focusing on how much control the organization has over a worker and the work accomplished. Check out both the ABC Test and Common Law Test here to ensure your nonprofit’s compliance.
This article was adapted from Equifax Workforce Solutions, UST’s dedicated unemployment claims administrator.
UST members receive exclusive access to an online claims dashboard, e-filing capabilities, a state-specific claims representative and 100% representation at unemployment claims hearings. To find out if your nonprofit qualifies for the UST program, fill out a free Savings Evaluation today or call us at 888-249-4788.
The Unemployment Services Trust (UST) is pleased to announce its new affinity partnership with the District of Columbia Behavioral Health Association. The D.C. Behavioral Health Association has chosen to pair up with UST to help their member organizations reduce unemployment costs and direct more funds toward mission advancement objectives.
Question: Is there a federal law that requires employers to provide employees with a certain amount of time off for voting?
Answer: Currently, no federal law requires employers provide employees with time off to vote. However, most states require employers to allow voters time off to vote and prohibit employers from disciplining or terminating employees for taking time off to vote.
For instance, according to Cal. Election Code §§ 14000 – 14003, if a voter does not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote at a statewide election, the voter may, without loss of pay, take off enough working time that, when added to the voting time available outside of working hours, will enable the voter to vote. However, no more than two hours of the time taken off for voting may be without loss of pay. The time off for voting will only be at the beginning or end of the regular working shift, whichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from the regular working shift, unless otherwise mutually agreed. If the employee, on the third working day prior to the day of election, knows or has reason to believe that time off will be necessary to be able to vote on election day, the employee must give the employer at least two working days’ notice that time off for voting is desired, in accordance with the statute.
Finally, no less than 10 days before every statewide election, every employer must keep posted conspicuously at the place of work, if practicable, or elsewhere where it can be seen as employees come or go to their place of work, a notice setting forth employee voting leave rights.
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.
Get your FREE Unemployment Cost Analysis today!
For most 501(c)(3) organizations with 10 or more employees, November is the month to exercise their state unemployment tax exemption for an effective date of January 1, 2017.
What does that mean? Well, by federal law, 501(c)(3)s are allowed to opt-out of paying taxes into their state unemployment tax fund, and instead only reimburse the state if and when they have an actual unemployment claim, dollar-for-dollar.
It can be a savings opportunity for many nonprofits who have lower claims than what they pay in state unemployment taxes—which are often driven up by for-profits and other companies that go out of business, as well as state fund deficits and improper payments made in error.
The Unemployment Services Trust (UST) performed more than 400 free unemployment tax savings evaluations for nonprofits with 10 or more employees in 2015, finding a total of $6,022,190 in potential unemployment tax savings if they were to exercise their exemption and join the UST program instead.
But time is running out to benchmark your nonprofit’s unemployment costs and opt out of the state unemployment tax system. Most states have a December 1st opt-out deadline, so UST needs all unemployment cost analysis forms submitted before Nov 15th at the latest in order to meet the state deadline.
You can view your state’s unemployment tax exemption deadline here: www.chooseust.org/state-unemployment-tax-opt-out-deadlines-for-nonprofitsUnfortunately, if a nonprofit misses the state deadline, they have to wait until the following year to exercise their exemption and join the Unemployment Services Trust. So if you or a nonprofit you know has not exercised their exemption, be sure to share the free cost analysis form before the Nov 15th deadline: www.chooseust.org/request-a-savings-quote
Through the Noise interviewed Elizabeth Scott, CEO of Brighter Strategies, to help nonprofit employers improve their overall effectiveness by building their internal capacity. Listen below or check out the full library of podcasts.
Podcast Description: This podcast emphasizes the importance of harnessing the emotional intelligence of staff members so that organization can do the most with what they have. Dr. Elizabeth Scott aims to provide thought leadership and high value organizational development consulting in an effort to strengthen the nonprofit sector.
Brighter Strategies is a non-profit consulting firm that works with non-profit organizations as a “thought partner” to help build capacity and make the most of their greatest asset—their human capital. To learn more about Brighter Strategies, visit their website at www.brighterstrategies.com.
To stay up-to-date on the latest best practice tips and cost-saving ideas just for nonprofits, sign up for UST's monthly eNews: http://www.chooseust.org/enews
Total non-farm payrolls increased by 156,000 in September which was lower than the expected 176,000. So far this year, job growth has averaged 178,000 per month, compared with an average of 229,000 per month in 2015. The unemployment rate ricked slightly upwards to 5.0 percent and the number of unemployed, at 7.9 million, changed little. Both measures have shown little movement since August of last year.
Job gains occurred in professional and business services with 67,000 new positions while health care added 33,000 jobs and food and bar services added 30,000. Retail trade continued to trend up over the month with an addition of 22,000 jobs.
Mining employment was unchanged in September and employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) accounted for 24.9 percent of the unemployed population and remained unchanged at 2.0 million. Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.9 percent, and the employment population ratio, at 59.8 percent, were unchanged in September.
Average hourly earnings for all private non-farm employees rose by 6 cents to $25.79. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.6 percent.
The Federal Reserve is looking to get rates back to normal and there is implication that could happen in December so this report comes at a critical time. With the presidential election, however, there may be further postponement.
UST R ewards 431 Members for Successfully Lowering Their Anticipated Unemployment Claims within the Last Year.
Santa Barbara, CA (October 4, 2016) – In an era when nonprofits are struggling to stretch their budgets, the Unemployment Services Trust (UST) today announced it is pleased to disperse $6,664,166 to 431 of its program participants. The agencies receiving the funds have demonstrated prudent management of their unemployment costs resulting in a return of funds back to the organizations. This brings participant savings over the past year to a whopping $34,980,275.96 in claims savings, audited state returns and cash back.
501(c)(3) organizations have the exclusive advantage of opting out of their state's unemployment tax system and instead paying dollar-for-dollar for only their former employees claims. Excess payments made into the state tax system are not refunded to employers. UST, however, provides cash back when an organization has had a positive claim history and has reduced its unemployment claims lower than initially anticipated, while also staying well-funded for future claims.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to give money back to these organizations whose core mission objectives are geared towards serving their communities,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “It allows them the funds to further expand their programs in areas where otherwise they might not have been able. In a way we’re helping to invest in the future of each nonprofit organization participating in the Trust and that’s a great feeling.”The largest nonprofit unemployment trust in the nation, UST helps 501(c)(3) organizations nationwide save time and money through a host of workforce management solutions that include - unemployment claims management, cash flow protection, HR Workplace assistance, outplacement services and more. The company services nonprofits from all sectors with 10 or more full-time employees. UST encourages nonprofits that are currently tax-rated or direct reimbursing on their own to review their options as they may be over-paying.
From day one and onward, nonprofit employees look to training to feel capable at their job… and valued. Do you offer them that opportunity?
According to the 2015 Nonprofit Employee Engagement and Retention Report, organizations with high turnover also tended to have fewer training opportunities for employees—so providing new hires with the right tools at the right time is extremely important for retaining good-fit employees.
Employees want to feel like they’re making a contribution, and being trained on the job is a critical part of employee development and reinforcing their sense of worth. But in last year’s study, 29% of nonprofit respondents reported that they received NO onboard training, and about 1/3 said they got only 1-2 weeks.
Longer onboard training for new employees was linked to 1) lower turnover, 2) higher levels of employee job satisfaction, and 3) a lower likelihood of employees planning to quit in the next year. Organizations with 90-day onboarding strategies had the highest employee engagement. And when a company implements a successful onboarding program, they experience 54% greater productivity and 50% greater retention.
Here are 4 simple ways you can implement training at your nonprofit:
Overall, onboarding new employees (especially supervisors) can help them feel welcome and prepared to do their best. Ongoing training is a great way to develop skills, maintain goodwill among employees and keep your new hires from packing up their desks.
Discover a few other top reasons your employees might be headed for the door. For a limited time, download UST’s 2016 report, 6 Reasons Your Nonprofit Employees QUIT, and learn how you can improve your organization’s employee management strategies.
HR professionals across all industries have been expressing concern over the difficulty in recruiting qualified job candidates for some time but with a lower number of applicants actually applying, the task of locating individuals who possess the needed skills, experience and educational credentials, is becoming even more challenging in the current day.
The fact that organizations are saying they have had more difficulty filling full-time regular positions in the last 12 months than in previous years is a sign that conditions have changed. The top cited reasons - lack of sufficient work experience and job skills among job candidates, more competition from other employers and a lower number of applicants’ altogether.
A skills shortage occurs when there are not enough people with a particular skill to fill the needed number of positions within a particular occupation. Some basic skills shortages are writing, basic computer skills, reading comprehension and mathematics. And applied skills shortages are critical thinking and problem solving, work ethic, written communication and leadership. With that said, the most difficult positions to fill were for high-skilled medical (nurses, doctors, specialists), scientists and mathematicians, skilled trades (electricians, carpenters, machinists), engineering and architecture, IT/computer specialist (analysts, developers, programmers) and executives. Basic and applied skills are not only critical but necessary in order to build a foundation for a strong and stable workforce.
Many organizations have had to have their training budgets increased in order to fill the gap between qualified candidates and or training existing employees. While online training courses have become the most utilized option, many employers are still utilizing conferences and professional workshops and on the job training. Investing in education and training should be viewed as a way to meet skills shortfalls.
Though many organizations are utilizing social media and collaborating with educational institutions as recruiting strategies, the most effective strategies have been using a recruitment agency and training existing employees to take on hard-to-fill positions.
Organizations need not to only focus on finding and retaining highly skilled employees but also need to consider how they are going to develop the next generation of organizational leaders as the current workforce ages and the highly experienced and skilled workers retire. Making sure employees are not at risk of burnout will also be critical, taking into consideration that when they’re unable to fill some positions, their existing staff may be forced to do more with less.
Question: What are some tips for developing and conducting an employee engagement survey?
Answer: An employee engagement survey can be a great tool to check the temperature of your culture. When done right, the survey can help you understand the needs of your employees, which in turn benefits productivity, job satisfaction and supports employee retention. It is also an excellent tool to help you calibrate the quality of your leadership as well as your employee relations and talent management programs.
Before you start, however, ensure that the management team is ready to act on the critical feedback you’ll get. Then decide what it is you need to know. Do you want to better understand how your employees view their relationship with management, understand and support the company’s strategic direction, or learn what aspects of their work environment, compensation and benefits, work assignments, and opportunities for learning and advancement are working (or not working)?
Next, determine how you will create, disseminate, tabulate, and communicate the survey process and results. If you’re creating your own survey, consider gathering employees from different areas of the company to formulate the survey questions and include them in the employee communications process to encourage participation. This team can also be instrumental in reviewing the survey results and providing feedback about how those results should be communicated and acted upon.
Another option is to use one of the many online engagement survey tools available in the marketplace. While the questions may not be as personalized to your company issues, you can get the surveys, along with the tabulated results, done quickly.
If you do create the survey in-house, consider these best practice tips:
Encourage participation by using incentives or contests. With more feedback, you’ll have a better picture of your employees’ engagement level. Train your leaders so that they are prepared to use the survey feedback as a gift to improve performance and have productive feedback and performance improvement planning sessions.
Most importantly, don’t ask for employee feedback unless you are willing to do something with the results. Your employees will expect you to implement changes and take action. Let them know how much you value and respect them by listening and acting on their opinions and ideas.
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.
By implementing a more robust onboarding process that introduces new team members to the company, their jobs, their co-workers and helps them better understand what the company expects from them, new hires will contribute more quickly in their jobs and are likely to stick around longer.
Presented by ThinkHR, this 60-minute webinar is designed to spark your creative juices to design a more productive and meaningful employee onboarding experience with elements that are simple, fun and tie to your company culture.
In the session, you will learn:
Throughout the presentation, Dan Riordan, President & COO of ThinkHR, will share tips and key findings with you and answer any additional questions you may have.
When: Tuesday, September 20th at 8:30 PDT / 11:30 EDT
Visit www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/ to sign up for a free 30-day trial of the UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR.
Through the Noise interviewed Nicolie Lettini and Cathy Galbraith, CEO/Founder and Managing Director of CostTree, to help nonprofit employers better understand the difference between direct and indirect costs and how to accurately anticipate and budget for them annually. Listen below or check out the full library of podcasts.
Podcast Description: This podcast explains the importance of understanding where your nonprofit’s hard-raised money is going, and how you might be able to better allocate funds to your staff’s paychecks. Cathy Gallbraith constantly aims to help nonprofits understand how to create an indirect cost rate, how to use it in everyday strategic development and how to ensure organizational accountability and sustainability.
A cloud-based cost allocation software that simplifies the process of creating an indirect cost, CostTree looks to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of entities that make a difference in our lives and the communities they serve. To learn more, visit CostTree’s website at https://www.costtree.net.http://www.chooseust.org/enews
August has continuously undershot expectations by the most of any month on average over the last 13 years and this year has proved no different with a mere 151,000 job gains. The unemployment rate was unchanged for the third month in a row at 4.9 percent and the number of unemployed persons held steady at 7.8 million or 9.7 percent - both showing little movement over the year. Average hourly earnings in August rose by an additional 3 cents to $25.73.
Employment in restaurants and bars continued to trend upward with an additional 34,000 jobs. Social assistance added 22,000 positions, with most of the growth in individual and family services. Employment in professional and technical services grew by 20,000 and financial activities edged up by 15,000. Health care also contributed 14,000 jobs in August, though at a slower pace than the average monthly gain over the prior 12 months. Since peaking in September 2014, employment in mining has declined by 223,000, with an additional loss of 4,000 positions in August.
Employment in several other industries – including constructions, manufacturing, wholes trade, retail and information, transportation and warehousing, temporary help services, and government – showed little change over the month.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) accounted for 26.1 percent of the unemployed population and remained unchanged at 2.0 million. Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 59.7 percent, were also unchanged in August.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised down from +292,000 to +271,000, and the numbers for July were revised up from +255,000 to +275,000, combined job gains were 1,000 less than previously reported.
Job numbers are being watched closely by the Federal Reserve as they prepare to meet this month to discuss the possibility of a rate increase which is appropriate when the economy shows a solid and continual improvement. Many feel the August numbers still show economic growth but the jobs report likely decreases the probability of a rate hike for right now.