CalNonprofits Insurance Services
Cyber security for nonprofits

Why do nonprofits need to pay close attention to cyber risk now? New changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been a catalyst for newly emerging cyber risks. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an alert on April 8 regarding the growing use of COVID-19 targeted cyber attacks. In addition, the World Economic Forum has identified cyber risks and data fraud as being the third top concern for organizations worldwide. Lastly, nonprofit organizations are a traditionally vulnerable sector for cybercrime. Over 80% of nonprofits do not have a cybersecurity policy in place (NTEN). It is vitally important to begin making cybersecurity a priority. Nonprofits can do this now! Implement a written cybersecurity plan and ensure you are adequately covered in your cyber insurance policies.

Cyber Risks

The three main risks of a cyberattack for nonprofits are:

  • Data breach
  • Downtime of systems
  • Ransom demand

Unfortunately, nonprofits generally do not operate at the scale of large companies that make headlines, but the effects can be even more devastating when an attack occurs. Reputational damage, regulatory fees, and delayed business operations are examples of the types of high-cost losses that can occur. A phishing attack, for instance, costs nonprofits $1.6 million on average. Hosting your data in the cloud alone does not protect your organization from loss.

Remote Work Arrangements Are a Key Factor of Increased Cyber Risk

Temporary remote work arrangements for employees are a key factor in exponentially increasing cyber risk for nonprofits. Phishing, spoofing of apps, use of personal devices and residential networks while working from home, and lack of training on cybersecurity best practices are factors for this increased cyber risk. Nonprofits need to inform themselves of how to reduce these risk factors and educate their employees on best practices now, as well as when employees return to work. See our Work From Home Toolkit resource for helpful tips and guidance.

Written Cyber Security Plan

If your nonprofit does not have a written Cyber Security Plan, then make this a priority! Be ready to change your existing pans to account for changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A written Cyber Security Policy provides the measures you have in place to protect your organization from cyberattacks as well as your contingency plan should an attack occur. In developing your policy consider all business relationships such as employees, clients, business associates, partners, and third-party vendors. It should identify management’s roles and responsibilities and the organizational cybersecurity protocols. There should also be a protocol for how to report cybersecurity incidents. Be prepared with a robust cybersecurity policy.

Are You Covered For Remote Cyber Risks?

Nonprofits are well-advised to conduct a risk assessment to identify new cyber risks that have emerged from changes due to COVID-19. As such, you should review your organization’s cyber insurance policy to determine whether work-from-home arrangements and personal computing are included in the coverage. The definitions of “computing system” and “security event” in your policy will determine whether your organization is covered for losses that occur from a remote cyberattack. Your dedicated Sales or Service Team contact can help you with a risk assessment and policy review.

Resources

COVID-19: Does Your Cyber Policy Cover Remote Working Cyber Risks?

Cybersecurity: Threats, Consequences, and the Regulatory Framework

The Impact of COVID-19 on Cybersecurity

Five Things to Consider with Out-of-State Employees, published May 20, 2021 by CalNonprofits Insurance Services – Our work lives have changed forever; many employees wish to remain working remotely, some have taken the opportunity to relocate, and the ability to hire remote workers opens up new talent pools. If you are considering hiring remote workers or allowing permanent remote work arrangements, make sure you are aware of the implications for out-of-state employees as it adds a level of complexity to your human resource management. 

Photo by Joey Csunyo on Unsplash

It is critical that you understand that every state has different requirements, so you should investigate and consult with labor and/or tax attorneys. If you have employees working on a temporary basis in other states, you will want to be sure you have met the legal and compliance requirements as some states have very short time requirements for charging/paying income taxes in their state.

It is important to ask the right questions when investigating requirements for out-of-state employees. Some questions to consider:   Do you know the minimum wage for that area?  What/when will payroll and income taxes for that state be triggered/due? How is the out-of-state employee covered under your workers’ compensation policy? Asking appropriate questions will help when developing your remote work policy or evaluating out-of-state employee arrangements put into place on a temporary basis as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

This article covers five things you should consider if you have or might have out-of-state employees:

1.    Document work arrangements

As with most things, it’s always best to have remote work arrangements in writing.  It’s important that all parties understand expectations.

  • Determine normal duties & responsibilities
  • Detail working hours/schedule
  • Designate hours of availability for office contact, and response time window
  • Discuss use of company equipment & materials
  • Modify your employee handbook, or create other state addendums that include state-specific rules

2.    Check for State/County/City requirements

It’s not just the state rules you need to know, many cities and counties have their own regulations!  It is also important to follow the law regarding how to count employees for specific regulations.  For example, FMLA (Family Leave Medical Act), has you count the number of employees within a 75-mile radius of the main worksite.  Employees working from home are not exempt – their worksite is NOT their home, but rather the office to which they report and receive their work assignments. Some questions to ask:

  • Does tax nexus exist for the state where remote work occurs? (Nonprofits may need to pay sales or business income taxes for certain noncharitable business activities. Some states have waived tax nexus if an employee is temporarily working remotely due to COVID-19).
  • Posting/notice requirements
  • Wages (specific cities or counties may have minimum wages different than at the state level).
  • Leave laws (Paid Sick Leave, Family/Medical Leave, Pregnancy Leave)
  • Timekeeping/overtime/meal periods
  • Reimbursement for telework expenses (required in some states)
  • Benefits
  • Protected groups of employees (are there additional protections for certain groups of employees at the city, state, or county level of the remote location?)

3.    Investigate tax and payroll requirements (including unemployment)

Each state handles payroll and income taxes differently.  Some states even have mutual agreements with each other. An employer with multiple states involved pays taxes to a specified state under these mutual agreements. It is important to check for the following to determine state requirements for income and & payroll withholding taxes:

  • Have you applied the 4 tests to determine which state to withhold and report taxes for SDI, UI, and ETT? (See Multistate Employment Fact Sheet)
  • What are the “length of stay” qualifications for determining state residency for PIT withholding and reporting? (Some states require income tax withholding even if an employee resides for just one day in that state while others have a minimum number of days for “length of stay” qualification).
  • Is the employer eligible to request tax reciprocity or an off-setting tax credit for the out of state employee? This allows for the employer to include the employee on the employer’s resident state income tax reporting. Employers must request this arrangement writing.
  • Will you need to register as a foreign corporation (e.g. other state employer)?

4.    Determine workers’ compensation requirements

If you have employees (no matter where they are working from), they must be covered under workers’ compensation. An employer typically establishes coverage in the state in which the employee is working.  Some states, called monopolistic states, require that you purchase coverage through a state-run insurance fund vs. private insurance. Also, these states do not include employer liability coverage (typically included in private insurance policies).  This will leave you exposed to work-related injury lawsuits. We strongly recommend additional stop-gap coverage.

  • Investigate how to obtain workers’ compensation insurance for other states
  • Check sections 3A and 3C on your current policy to see which states are covered/excluded
  • Add additional states to an existing policy (if allowed)
  • Purchase a separate policy (if required)
  • Consider stop-gap coverage if covering North Dakota, Ohio, Washington and/or Wyoming

5.    Work/Business License/Permits

Certain operations require a permit in the location where work is performed. You should check with local and state agencies for business permit requirements to stay in compliance with each city/state where employees are working.

Hiring employees in other states will always have pros and cons – just do your due diligence before making a commitment! To request a consultation click below.


Resources:

Implications of Having Employees Work Out-of-State

EDD Information Sheet – Multistate Employment

Out-of-State Remote Work Creates Tax Headaches for Employers (shrm.org)

State Labor Offices Directory

State Tax Agencies

ThinkHR State Law Overviews/  (Must be logged in – choose Comply > State Laws)


 

Are you looking for ways to save money that can also provide financial stability for your organization?

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If your organization’s payroll exceeds $1,000,000 – we can likely save you money that you can use to further your mission. You can opt out of the California State Unemployment Insurance program and only pay for those claims that you incur. There are two ways to do this – self-insurance or an admitted insurance program. The admitted insurance program protects your organization from the financial risk of being a reimburser. It works like any other insurance product – you exchange premium dollars for protection and services.

California’s unemployment trust fund has a deficit close to $22 Billion dollars and continues to grow due to high unemployment rates. The fund will need to be replenished likely resulting in higher taxes or increased taxable wage base in the coming years. Now is a good time to consider making a change.

Unemployment Contractual Liability Program (UCL)

Great American Insurance Company offers a unique insurance product for Unemployment Insurance for those employers that opt of out paying into the state unemployment tax system. Known as ‘reimbursing’ employers, these entities reimburse the state dollar for dollar for benefits paid by the state to separated employees in lieu of paying tax that subsidizes other employers within the state’s trust fund.  If you are a 501(c)(3), then you are eligible to become a reimbursing employer and if you have payrolls above $1 Million, then you are eligible for the Unemployment Contractual Liability (UCL) Insurance program!

Through a first-of-its-kind admitted insurance program, 501(c)(3) nonprofits can transfer their unemployment risk and save an average of 30% or more each year versus paying into the state’s tax program.  Great American’s UCL insurance program offers financial stability and protection against the volatility of unemployment costs due to unforeseen changes that may affect staffing levels.  

Benefits of the UCL Program

Benefits of the UCL program include:

  • Admitted insurance product underwritten by Great American Insurance Company, rated “A+” (Superior) XV by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc.
  • Customizable insurance coverage options to meet your unique needs and risk tolerance.
  • Fixed cost insurance premium that is non-auditable.
  • Claims administration costs are fixed and we work with many claims administrators that help our clients save time and resources in administering unemployment benefits.
  • Reemployment Services for former employees.
  • SIR Reserve Account Administration available and earn interest on invested funds.
  • State Unemployment Bonds are included when collateral is required by state law.
Noteworthy California Information:
  • If you are a current taxpayer in the state of California, now is a good time to consider opting out of paying state tax for unemployment. California’s unemployment rate through February 2021 is 8.5%, one of the highest in the country and above the U.S. average of 6%.  California’s unemployment trust fund has a deficit close to $22 Billion dollars and continues to grow due to high unemployment rates.  The fund will need to be replenished likely resulting in higher taxes or increased taxable wage base in the coming years.    
  • Fraudulent unemployment claims are estimated between $13-16 Billion in California and over $65 Billion countrywide due to the pandemic. Our program includes Administrative services for professional claims handling that can help you manage the claims process with the state, help identify fraudulent claims and also assist with protesting claims that can help lower the amount of benefits paid from your state account.

Now is a perfect time to take advantage of Great American’s Unemployment Contractual Liability insurance program.  Please reach out to your CalNonprofit Insurance Service’s agent to learn more!  



Meditation Can Help Reduce Anxiety and Stress by Applied Systems – Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. It can be a natural part of life. But sometimes anxiety and fear can interfere with the ability to focus, complete tasks, engage with others and enjoy life. When this happens, it can leave a person feeling like their brain is running on a hamster wheel of worry. It can even bring symptoms of agitation, lack of sleep and tension.

There is good news. Under the supervision of a physician, diagnosed anxiety can be managed without medication. After analyzing nearly 50 studies, the Journal of the American Medical Association found that meditation helps people manage feelings of anxiety and stress. Through regular meditation practice, individuals become better equipped to recognize negative feelings, regulate emotions, slow anxious thoughts and relax the body.

What is meditation?

By now, most people have heard of meditation and understand what’s involved in the practice. Quieting the mind is one of the key elements to meditation. During meditation practice, you detach from anxious or stressful thoughts by first acknowledging negative thoughts and then setting them aside. For some, that’s easier said than done. But with a little practice – and patience with yourself – mediation can offer many health benefits.

No equipment necessary: the basics of calming the mind

Meditation doesn’t take a lot of time out of your already busy day – that would just create more stress. Committing to a meditation practice for a few minutes every day can help ease stress, help put things into perspective and nurture personal growth. Even as you begin meditation for the first, second or third time, your mind might tell you to quit, get up and do your work, clean the house – quit wasting your time. Don’t listen to those negative thoughts; stick with it and you’ll begin to understand its value.

Are you ready to start? Relax and get comfortable.

There is no single way to mediate and no right or wrong way. Follow some of the basic steps below to help you get started.

  1. Eliminate any distractions. Turn off the TV and your phone, and move away from your computer to avoid being interrupted. Consider mediating while you are lying in bed at night.
  2. Choose your position. Whether lying down or sitting upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting in your lap, chose a position that is comfortable for you. Do your best to remain still and close your eyes.
  3. Breathe slowly and deeply. Think to yourself, “breathe in, breathe out.”
  4. Focus your mind by counting your breaths. Be prepared for your mind to wander. Bring it back to the present moment and your breathing.
  5. Anxious thoughts may pass through your mind. Acknowledge them, but then bring your thoughts back to the awareness of your breathing.
  6. Continue for five to ten minutes, even up to 20 minutes. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Meditation isn’t always easy, but it will get easier and you will feel more peaceful. Practice is key.
  7. When you’re finished, open your eyes and smile.

When you first start meditating, it may feel a little awkward. You may find it hard to do nothing. But keep at it. The benefits of a calm mind will come when you stick with it every day.

When you’d like a little free guidance

Meditation has been called “simple but not easy.” If you’re ready to give up because you can’t quiet your thoughts or aren’t sure you’re doing it right, try a guided meditation. Music or voice recordings by experienced meditation teachers can guide you into a relaxed, meditative state. Find them online, through schools, hospitals or at your public library.

Meditation is not a quick fix

If you’ve been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), or you feel your anxiety is severe, be sure to talk with your doctor about your treatment options.

Meditation is a discipline that needs ongoing daily time and attention. It’s a long-term approach to fighting anxiety and helping cope with stress. When stress and anxiety triggers your body’s fight-or-flight response, take a few moments to recognize the cause of these feelings and then begin your journey to a state of restful meditation. Research shows it’s effective in reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure and achieving restful sleep. Best of all, it costs nothing to try.

This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing professional, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your licensed professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

Copyright © 2020 Applied Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Meditation Can Help Reduce and Manage Anxiety and Stress
Meditation Can Help Reduce and Manage Anxiety and Stress

Studies show daily meditation can help reduce and manage anxiety and stress. Learn several easy steps to help with your meditation practice.

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The unprecedented shift to a remote workforce due to COVID-19 is a good reason for updating your Harassment Prevention Policy to address the virtual workplace

Harassment Prevention Overview

The State of California requires employers with five or more employees, including temporary, independent contractors, volunteers, and unpaid interns, to ensure their employees completed harassment prevention training by January 1, 2021, and every two years thereafter, as well as have a written Harassment Prevention Policy in place.

  • Supervisor training is for two-hours and must be provided within 6 months of hire or promotion.
  • Non-supervisory training is for one-hour and must be provided within 6 months of hire.
  • As of 1/1/20, migrant and seasonal workers must receive the same training as non-supervisory employees.
  • As of 1/1/21, seasonal, temporary, or other employees that are hired to work for less than six months, must be trained within 30 calendar days after the hire date OR within 100 hours worked (whichever occurs first). Training must be provided by the temporary services employer, not the employer’s client, for the temporary employees it employs.

Harassment Prevention and Remote Employees

Harassment prevention training must include examples of conduct that violate sexual harassment laws and regulations and techniques to correct harassing or discriminatory behavior. Remote work arrangements have opened a new set of potential types of harassment scenarios that should be considered and added to the written policy and training. Employees should be educated about potential types of harassment that may occur in a virtual environment and how to prevent them. Incidents that could occur during video conferencing and chat sessions are particularly important to consider. Review whether you are including training to recognize these types of harassment and the techniques to correct any inappropriate behaviors, which also may be different with remote employees.

In the virtual workplace sexual harassment may include:

  • Media such as videos, images, or GIFs sent to a co-worker, client, vendor, or associate via email, chat messages, or text that are inappropriate.
  • Sexual innuendos or discriminatory statements made during videoconference meetings.
  • Making remarks about someone’s appearance when in a videoconference meeting.
  • Social media stalking of a co-worker.
  • Unsolicited communications through company email or messaging apps that are of a sexual or inappropriate nature.

Some considerations to include in your policy and training are:

  • Attire – employee attire when meeting virtually should align with your organization’s workplace attire policy.
  • Backdrop – the backdrop should not include any offensive or religious home decorations and should not allow for the viewing of family members in the background
  • Videoconference meeting format – expectations for the meeting format should be consistent and provided by the employer for all staff with guidelines for appropriate comments and media shared during the meeting.
  • Chat, email and text – document expectations and educate employees on what can and cannot be communicated in chat, email and text.  Chat should be a focus as it is typically less formal than email, which may open the door for inappropriate communications.

Review your harassment prevention policies and make sure that they are updated for the virtual workplace. This reduces the possibility of harassment claims.

Returning to Work Considerations for Harassment Prevention

If your organization has returned employees to work or is planning for this, sexual harassment prevention training should be incorporated into these plans. The workplace and culture will undoubtedly be changed, and there may be new issues to consider. For instance, employees will need to be aware of images on their facemasks that could be potentially offensive. They may also be sensitive to certain words and references that were not considered before COVID-19. Returning employees should receive a refresher training on sexual harassment prevention or include this training in a return-to-work orientation. Your complimentary ThinkHR subscription is a great resource for developing a return-to-work plan and includes:

  • New poster requirements
  • Return to work checklist
  • Sample policies
  • Guidance on employer requirements for new laws passed because of COVID-19
  • 2-hour Sexual Harassment Training for supervisors

Free California Harassment Prevention Training Resources

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) offers a free online training resource for harassment prevention. The training for employees is a one-hour online course that can be completed over one or more sessions and will ensure you are meeting the educational objectives and requirements for the State of California. Though not required, we also suggest you incorporate supplemental training on sexual harassment in the virtual workplace. The supervisory two-hour training requirement for supervisors is already available for our clients through their complimentary ThinkHR subscription. Our nonprofit clients can meet all harassment training requirements for California at no cost! The required poster and fact sheet are below. For more information or these documents in alternate languages visit DFEH Required Posters.

Sexual Harassment Training Fact Sheet (English)

CA Sexual Harassment Required Poster (English)

Employer FAQ

References

ThinkHR (Log-In Required): 2-minute HR: COVID-19: Harassment Prevention Considerations with a Remote Workforce

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Sexual Harassment Training

Sexual Harassment in the Remote Workplace: How Training Can Respond

The quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now” suggests the potential we have in this country to understand and celebrate our differences while working together. Our strength is in our diversity, and it is when we work together that we create resilience and progress. We honor the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We recognize Monday, January 18th 2021 as a National Holiday for our staff, and we will be closed on Monday, reopening on Tuesday, January 19th at 9:00 a.m.

Our Progress

In June 2020, we published an article on our blog, We Are Not Silent or Neutral, as a statement and model for change. Since the article was published, we have worked toward a better understanding of racism and anti-racist practices through ongoing conversations, trainings, and webinars. In addition, our employees have been actively volunteering and donating to organizations whose missions seek to end racial injustice.  

We, at CalNonprofits Insurance Services, have more work to do. 

At the same time, we are proud of our progress as we listen and learn from each other. In doing so, we find strength in our diversity and unity in knowing we are all in the same boat. Lastly, we are thankful to all nonprofit organizations who work to create a more just and unified world. 

Attract and retain the best employees for your organization in 2021 and beyond. As a sponsor, we are excited to announce a that a new survey through Nonprofit Compensation Associates is open for participation to help Southern California Nonprofits.

Participate in Fair Pay for Southern California Nonprofits: The 2021 Compensation & Benefits Survey

With an eleven-year track record in Northern California, Nonprofit Compensation Associates announces our first survey for Southern California nonprofit organizations.

2021 promises to be a year unlike any other as nonprofit managers continue to navigate the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey provides a wealth of information to help nonprofits manage through these uncertain times, including base pay, bonus/incentive pay, employee benefits, salary increases and a wide variety of personnel policies.

The survey covers these ten Southern California counties:

Imperial                      San Bernardino

Kern                            San Diego

Los Angeles                San Luis Obispo

Orange                        Santa Barbara

Riverside                     Ventura

How to Participate

To participate in the 2021 survey, visit socal.nonprofitcomp.com, or email us at survey@nonprofitcomp.com.

Participation deadline:            March 12, 2021

Report publication date:         May 2021

The deadline to submit photos has been extended from January 22, 2021 to January 31, 2021 and has been updated in this announcement.

The Nonprofit Insurance Alliance 2021 Annual Photo Contest for Nonprofits is here! If you are insured by Nonprofit Insurance Alliance (NIA) or you subscribe to Blue Avocado you can enter this popular annual photo contest and win cash for your nonprofit. See the NIA announcement below and photo contest page for more details. Upload your photo today, and good luck!

NIA Announcement

2021 Annual Photo Contest for Nonprofits

NIA_Email_Section_Image_540_x_200-2

First Prize: $1,000  Every year, NIA hosts the most popular photo contest of the nonprofit sector. This year’s theme: NONPROFIT STRONG To enter, your nonprofit clients must upload a photo showing how they supported their communities this past year. Winners are determined by votes and NIA contest judges. The 2021 prizes:

• Best of Show: $1000 first place
• Standing Ovation: $500 second place
• Spotlight: $100 each for 10 more nonprofits

Any NIA member or Blue Avocado subscriber may submit a photo through January 31, 2021 to enter.

Attract and Retain the Best Employees for your Organization in 2021 and Beyond. Participate in Fair Pay for Northern California Nonprofits: The 2021 Compensation & Benefits Survey. Now open for participation, with an updated Economic Environment section to capture the nonprofit sector’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, your participation helps Northern California nonprofits. 2021 promises to be a year unlike any other as nonprofit managers continue to navigate the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The more nonprofits that participate in the survey, the more useful the data!

Here’s how your organization will benefit from the “the best survey of its kind:”

  • Current, local compensation data on more than 200 jobs found in nonprofit organizations throughout Northern California
  • Base pay levels and bonus/incentive pay for each job with details by annual operating budget, location within Northern California, number of employees and primary field of service
  • Employee benefits in detail: paid time off, insurance, retirement
  • Salary increases over the past year and expected during the next year
  • Policies with respect to on-call work, overtime, shift differentials, pay for bilingual skills, introductory periods, performance reviews and more

The survey will also help your organization find out how the local nonprofit community is coping with current economic conditions.

Here are some questions the survey can help nonprofit managers answer:

  • Are nonprofits foregoing planned salary adjustments or reducing employee pay levels?
  • Are nonprofits furloughing or laying off employees?
  • How have specific types of revenue been impacted by the pandemic?
  • Are organizations reducing their costs of employee benefits?

Published by Oakland-based Nonprofit Compensation Associates, the survey covers a vast geographic area, 48 Northern California counties, from Del Norte County in the far northwest to Inyo County in the far southeast. More than six hundred nonprofit organizations, reporting on over 33,000 jobs, participated in the 2020 survey, making it among the largest and most robust in the survey’s 42-year history.

Participate in the 2021 Survey

To participate in the 2021 survey (and acquire the 2020 survey report, if you don’t already have it), visit www.nonprofitcomp.com, or email NCA at survey@nonprofitcomp.com.

Participation deadline:            February 12, 2021

Report publication date:         April 16, 2021