Question #25 – 9/19/2008 – Another Question About Salaries?

I have been looking on your website and have an interesting question. We have a maternity transitional home that houses pregnant and delivered moms(only the ones who relinquish babies) through our crisis pregnancy center. I was told that we couldn’t pay our “house-parent” a salary because we are a non-profit organization. Is this correct? From what I’ve seen on this site, people are getting paid a good amount and these agencies are listed as non-profit. We do provide a stipend(small) for the person to pay off one of their bills….BUT they do not have a set salary. Could we get in trouble for not paying them, or is Room and board considered a salary? Thanks sweet mama

Mike’s Response 

I am not a labor attorney and I CANNOT give legal advice.  You would need to contact your local State Labor Department, The US Department of Labor, or a Local Labor Attorney for your specific situation.

However, in general, I think it is pretty clear that under Federal Labor Law rulings that most houseparents in non-profit organizations are not covered under the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA).  They may be individually covered under FLSA when they participate in more than an occasional amount of interstate commerce.  (What an occasional amount means can only be answered by the DOL.)  I think that is why there is such a huge difference in the salaries that are paid by facilities and why some pay less than $10,000 a year, there is no set minimum wage in most cases.

There is also far more to consider than federal law, because states and local governments have their own laws and regulations that can greatly effect how a facility does business.  I spoke with an administrator at a facility in Oregon.  According to him, they were not allowed to mention salary at all when referring to houseparent compensations because of state laws.  They instead paid a stipend.

So in a round-about way I am saying is, I am sorry, I don’t have an answer to your question.  Regulations vary from state to state so each facility needs to consider their local laws and regulations in addition to any federal labor laws and need to consult with a local attorney familiar with those laws and regulations.

 If anybody has any other ideas or you would like to add something, just register and add your comments. 

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