Advocacy Overall

Nonprofit Overtime Rule Change Begins January 1, 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor announced its Overtime Final Rule that adjusts the salary level test, for determining when white-collar workers are exempt or must be paid overtime for working more than 40 hours in a week. The new rule raises the salary threshold for the white-collar exemption from overtime pay to $684 per week ($35,568 per year), up from the current level of $455/week ($23,660 per year). Effective January 1, 2020, the Final Rule also raises the salary threshold for highly compensated employees who are exempt from FLSA overtime pay requirements from $100,000 per year to $107,432 per year and allows employers to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level by using nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments.

Based on the most recent Human Capital Study, approximately 12% of United Way staff earn less than this new threshold, and 50% of staff at United Ways raising less than $500,000 are below the threshold. UWW has issued FAQs, which you can find here. There are also two webinars that are going over the rule, both free to United Ways, if you would like more information:

National Council of Nonprofits Webinar: November 5th at 3:30pm

United Way Worldwide Webinar: November 14th at 2:00pm

UWP is also following some developments on an Overtime Rule Change in Pennsylvania. Gov. Wolf is moving a proposal through the process, which would increase the earnings threshold for when the state’s overtime requirements are applied to executive, administrative and professional (EAP) salaried workers. Our current state rules, enacted in 2004, have been superseded by federal rules at the $455 per week rate. The PA Bureau of Labor and Industry is seeking to increase the threshold to $45,500 annually, or $875 per week, and then automatically adjust that threshold every 3-years. The change would be phased in over two years, starting in 2021. This would make 82,000 more Pennsylvanians eligible for overtime pay.

While it is still early in the process, the Dept. of Labor and Industry sent the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission a revised, final version of the rule. The IRRC would need to approve the regulation. There is a lot of opposition to the regulation from the business community and several lawmakers, so the approval is not final. We will continue to monitor this and keep members updated on the information.

Take Action for ALICE!  

We have launched a call-to-action for our state legislators to stand up for ALICE and work to find solutions to help them achieve financial stability. The CTA is live on our website now and we encourage all our committed ALICE members to help us advance policies that positively impact ALICE. You can take action here! Please share this with your boards, donors, volunteers, partners, and followers! The more energy around ALICE, the greater likelihood for attention from the legislature.  

New Look for UWP 2020 Hill Day! Help Us Engage Women United!

UWP will be holding our annual Hill Day in 2020, but it will look a little different than years past to help us engage more United Way supporters. Through guidance from our Board and Public Policy Committee, we have decided to expand our traditional advocates group to also include local Women United affinity groups, or groups of women advocates in your communities. We are very excited to expand our reach and feel women have become such an important voice in many issues areas that we are advocating on behalf of, making them fantastic partners on our issues! Watch our video to learn more about what the new Hill Day will look like!

To make sure we are on schedule, we have begun the planning process. In order to ensure adequate space and other needs, we are asking our member United Ways to fill out a form indicating your interest in attending, whether you have a Women’s United group or other women interested in engaging, and a rough number of participants you anticipate. We understand you cannot guarantee participant counts at this time, but please begin to circulate the information and try to identify any interest from your area. At this time, we do not have a date set since we are still waiting for the Senate schedule to be released. We should have that information by the end of the year and will get a date confirmed. Stay tuned for some more information to come in the next couple weeks.

Another Proposed SNAP Rule Change

At the beginning of October, the USDA published another proposed rule change that would create additional cuts SNAP benefits by changing the SNAP Utility Allowance (SUA). The new rule will change how states take a households’ utility costs into account in determining the amount of SNAP benefits for which they qualify. Under current law, states can take into account the utility expenses (heating/AC) of each SNAP household and have flexibility to adjust the SNAP benefits based on the utility expenses most people pay in their state, and that utility allowance gets approved by USDA. The current policy allows variances in utility allowances to accommodate for the obvious differences in utility costs in each state. Instead, the USDA would standardize and cap utility allowance calculations uniformly across the country. 

USDA estimates that nationally, the proposed rule would cause 19% of SNAP households to get lower monthly benefits, disproportionately impacting seniors, families with small children and people with disabilities, and would create a net cut to SNAP benefits nationally amounting to $1 billion annually over the next five years.

UWP will be submitting comments on this proposed rule and will share resources once we receive a template from UWW. The deadline to submit a public comment is December 2.

Urban Institute Releases Food Insecurity Interactive Map

The Urban Institute recently released an interactive map on food insecurity across the nation. The map identifies and groups shared risk factors across U.S. counties, as well as highlights intervention opportunities. An estimated 40 million Americans deal with food insecurity, including 12.5 million children. Since this is such a vast problem, the hope with this interactive map is to understand how we can work to solve this problem by better understanding how we can look at solutions that target economic strategies to get at the root causes of food insecurity.

PA Partnerships for Children Release State of Children’s Health Care in Pennsylvania

PPC released a comprehensive report which highlights 124,000 children in Pennsylvania are uninsured. PA ranks 24th nationally for the percentage of uninsured children, which remains unchanged at 4.4 percent. The data was collected from a variety of sources, which found children under six are the most likely to be without coverage. Additionally, the report outlines how to improve publicly-funded health insurance options. Some of the key takeaways include:

  • 28 out of 67 counties in PA have a higher rate of children living in low-income families without health insurance than the statewide rate
  • Forty percent of uninsured children live in just 5 counties: Allegheny, Berks, Chester, Lancaster, and Philadelphia
  • Disproportionality within race/ethnicity categories exist throughout Pennsylvania.

UWP Hiring for an Advocacy Engagement Coordinator

UWP is currently accepting applications for a new Advocacy Engagement Coordinator position which will be filled pending final approval of a multi-year advocacy grant. This position will be responsible for increasing engagement in advocacy throughout our membership, as well as engaging donors, volunteers and others in the community to support UW’s advocacy agenda. This position will also be responsible for communications strategies to support our advocacy agenda.  We are looking for one to two years of prior experience working in government relations, policy or advocacy or state government. Interested applicants can read the full job description, with application instructions here. The deadline to apply is Friday, November 15th. If you have any questions, please contact Maggie.

New Census Resources Added to Toolkit

We are continuing to add resources to our Census Toolkits! We’re looking to add guidance on door-to-door canvassing and we have already added PACOUNTS Social Media posts in Spanish! We have two versions of the Toolkit, one for our Local United Ways and one for Partner Agencies. Please feel free to use the United Way Toolkit and please pass on the link to the partner toolkit!

Local United Way Toolkit

Partner Agency Toolkit

Policy Updates from UWW

Open Enrollment for 2020 ACA Health Insurance Begins Today!

ACA Open Enrollment begins November 1.  As in years past, UWW is asking local United Ways to help promote outreach and enrollment efforts. To support your work, they have created an Open Enrollment Toolkit with key messages, graphics, sample social media and a template e-mail. Bambu stories will also be available for sharing on your United Way’s social media channels throughout the open enrollment period.

Get more details and resources.
Share on the Twitter graphic and open enrollment begins messaging via Bambu (live on Friday, November 1)

Share on the Facebook graphic and open enrollment begins messaging via Bambu (live on Friday, November 1)

Voter Registration 2020: VITA Sites Can Help!

The 2020 election will be an important time for our democracy. VITA sites can play a critical role in helping people get registered to vote and make their voice heard. Research has found that VITA sites can double voter registration rates without slowing the tax filing process.

UWW announced this week that the Brookings Institute has created a Filer-Voter program to help VITA sites offer voter registration to their clients. For filing season 2020, they are hoping to reach 50,000 VITA clients across the country. For participating VITA sites, there will be free training and support as well as financial stipends available to support site coordinators or intake specialists who lead the program at their sites.

If you are interested in joining this program, please contact filervoter@brookings.edu with the following information:

  • Organization Name
  • City
  • Number of returns filed last year

For more information, contact Lindsay Torrico.

Recording and Action Opportunities from Fall 2019 Public Policy Quarterly Update

Last week, UWW held their quarterly update webinar and shared the legislative outlook for the remainder of 2019, their top policy priorities, and ways United Ways can take action. If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording here.

The top 5 ways to take action through the end of 2019 are:

  1. In District Meetings: November & December Recesses
    1. Once you complete your in district engagements, fill out the form to let UWW know!
  2. Promote ACA Open Enrollment
  3. Write a SNAP Comment Letter
  4. Activate Supporters Through Digital Advocacy
  5. Write an Op-Ed/Letter to the Editor

Partner Event: The 2020 Election Cycle & The Nonprofit Organization: Intersections & Opportunities

November 7, 7:00pm

Register for the Livestream Here

Election cycles present a unique, strategic opportunity for the nonprofit sector to engage in policy and advocacy. Presented by the Nonprofit Management Master’s Program at Columbia University, the first workshop of this Election 2020 special series, two of the foremost policy experts in the sector, Sue Santa and Sandra Swirski, joined by Steve Taylor and Nina Ozlu Tunceli, leaders in policy and advocacy from renowned 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations, will address how nonprofits may harness the opportunity an election cycle presents to shape policy. Whether your nonprofit’s focus is on national, state or local politics, this workshop can help you jumpstart or elevate your strategic policy initiatives.

Workplace LIVE Chat: Engaging Business in the 2020 Census

November 6, 2:00pm

Join Here

As we gear up for 2020, UWW knows that many United Ways are involved in supporting get-out-the-count efforts in their local communities. To help United Ways work more closely with their corporate partners and local businesses on the 2020 Census, UWW is hosting a Workplace live chat with Jeff Connor-Naylor, Deputy Director at ReadyNation.

Join this Workplace live conversation to learn how to message civic engagement to business leaders, tips for engaging companies and activities that companies can employ to ensure that customers, employees and the general public complete their census questionnaires.

Join live on the UW Public Policy and Advocacy group on November 6 at 2pm ET and bring your questions! This conversation will be recorded and shared on Workplace.

Pre-K for PA Advocacy

The Pre-K for PA Campaign released a report, Ready to Succeed: Kindergarten Teachers Support Investments in High Quality Pre-K, last month highlighting broad teacher support for pre-k and the need of increased state investments into early learning.

DHS just released the updated 2019 income limits and copays for subsidized child care to reflect the increased federal poverty limit guidelines. You can view the updated list here.

Start Strong Advocacy

The Start Strong PA campaign had an amazing launch in January and we are asking for your help to keep up that momentum! In March we want to reach out to legislators with a message of literacy. Below are some ideas to help get some great stories to share with your local legislators.

  1. Record & Share Toddler Stories – we all have heard the tall tales small children can tell. Ask a toddler to tell you a story (give them a specific topic) and write down or video what they say.
  2. Create your own reading materials using photographs of family and friends, or other print materials. Ask your child to narrate captions for each page (or give suggestions for them to choose from, if they are not verbal)
  3. Use a series of photos to tell the story of an infant/toddler reaching a developmental milestone as supported by high-quality child care, i.e. child now eats with a spoon thanks to the support of her teachers in HQ child care.
  4. Visit Libraries and bookstores to browse reading materials—then post a “CHILD’s NAME recommended reading list” with the books that catch your child’s attention/ get pulled off the shelves.
  5. Take pictures or record videos of staff and/or families engaging in literacy activities with infants and toddlers.

Infant toddler literacy includes activities such as:

  • Reading
  • Singing
  • Talking, particularly while looking at pictures, out the window, etc.
  • Using chalk, paint, or stickers to create pre-writing designs (share finished masterpieces on Instagram!)

If your United Way or any of your community partners plan to participate in any of these activities, please inform Maggie.

2019 Legislative Schedule

2019 Senate Session Schedule

September 23, 24, 25
October21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30
November18, 19, 20
December16, 17, 18

2019 – 2020 House Session Schedule

September 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25
October21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30
November12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20
December9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18
January7 (non-voting), 13, 14, 15, 21, 22
February3, 4, 5
March16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25
April6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16
May4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20
June1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30