March 30, 2015
The opportunity for nonprofit organizations, governmental entities, and tribal enterprises to save substantially by opting out of paying the state unemployment tax (SUTA) is very real and may initially seem like a windfall. But such action is not without its hazards.
Protecting these new savings dollars and carefully guarding against future losses requires:
• A clear understanding of the impending short and long-term liability and risk,
• a diligent, rigorous annual evaluation and subsequent re-evaluations, and
• a solid strategy that minimizes costs and is insured against prospective unexpected losses.
The election by a nonprofit to opt out of paying SUTA and “reimburse” the state for future unemployment benefit charges is essentially choosing to self-insure that risk. Once such a decision is made, going back to paying the tax is not difficult, except to do so may be cost prohibitive.
So the progressive nonprofit making the reimbursing election must thoughtfully consider their level of risk tolerance and choose a funding strategy that meets their budget capability while providing the highest level of downstream protection. Because all unemployment reimbursing costs are unknown, establishing a solid funding strategy requires:
1. Complete understanding and analysis of previous (normally three years history) unemployment losses matched against similar time-period employee populations and payroll,
2. Careful monitoring and cost management of the current year’s budget for unemployment activity, and
3. Thoughtful consideration of projected funding, budget constraints and risk tolerance in the next budget year.
Those who pay SUTA have no choice to make other than from what pot of money the funds for the fixed tax rate will be paid. To enjoy the privilege of lowering SUTA costs by reimbursing, proactive managers will explore what tools are available to establish the best funding strategy available for their organization. Nonprofit organizations should think of the reimbursing method as paying for SUTA as they go, and then remember how volatile and mutable their own funding can be.
Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.
Source: First Nonprofit Group’s “Financial Mechanics of Funding SUTA” series
Next article, “Understanding SUI Risk Transfer”
The Ensight Skills Center has enjoyed working with First Nonprofit for several years. We are enrolled in their Unemployment Savings Program and although we have not required a lot of intervention, there have been a few times. I know others have dealt with the same problem of unemployment fraud over the last year and in our case, a call to First Nonprofit (they actually answer their phones) cleared up the issue. They also sent us a letter to send to all our employees telling them what they needed to do to prevent this in the future and protect themselves. What a relief! Over the years if I have questions or concerns, they are happy to listen, advise and help if they can. Another BIG advantage of using First Nonprofit is that all the money that is paid into the Unemployment Savings Program lives on my balance sheet as an asset. The money continues to be Ensight’s not the governments. First Nonprofit has certainly given me peace of mind.
Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.
NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.
It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios. We are impressed with the accuracy of their employment decisions, integrity of their employees and efficiency of their claim handling. We greatly respect and value the consistent, impressive cost savings from the utilization of their outstanding services.
Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.
Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.