The Plight of the Overworked Nonprofit Employee

the Department of Labor finalized the most significant update to the federal rules on overtime in decades. The new rules will more than double the salary threshold for guaranteed overtime pay, from about $23,000 to $47,476. Once the rules go into effect this December, millions of employees who make less than that will be guaranteed overtime pay under the law when they work more than 40 hours a week.

.. But pushback also came from what might have been an unexpected source: a progressive nonprofit called the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)

.. These responses expose a gap between the values that many nonprofits hold and the way they treat their own staffs. There’s no doubt that nonprofits today face serious financial difficulties and constraints, but do they have no choice but to demand long, unpaid hours of their employees?

.. the “nonprofit starvation cycle.” The cycle starts with funders’ unrealistic expectations about the costs of running a nonprofit. In response, nonprofits try to spend less on overhead (like salaries) and under-report expenses to try to meet those unrealistic expectations. That response then reinforces the unrealistic expectations that began the cycle. In this light, it’s no surprise that so many nonprofits have come to rely on unpaid work.

.. “Can you imagine Lockheed Martin or Boeing putting up with a government contract that didn’t allow for overhead?”

.. The Urban Institute report found that most nonprofits choose to cut salaries, benefits, and other costs long before scaling back their operations.

.. These nonprofit employees are saying that their operations depend on large numbers of their lowest-paid staff working unpaid overtime hours.

.. a culture that can put the needs of staff behind mission-driven ambitions.

.. “There’s a culture that says, ‘Young people are paying their dues. It’s okay for them to be paid for fewer hours than they’re actually working because it’s in the effort of helping them grow up and contribute to something greater than they are,’”

.. “Too often, I have seen the passion for social change turned into a weapon against the very people who do much—if not most—of the hard work, and put in most of the hours,” Hastings recently wrote on her blog. “Because they are highly motivated by passion, the reasoning goes, they don’t need to be motivated by decent salaries or sustainable work hours or overtime pay.”

.. A more recent study of nonprofits in the U.S. and Canada found that turnover, one possible indicator of burnout, is higher in nonprofits than in the overall labor market.

.. Low-paid workers who do not have executive decision-making power and do not manage a staff, according to the Department of Labor’s criteria, shouldn’t be classified as exempt

.. one easy place to start is simply to write higher salaries into budget proposals.