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BIG mess/not for profit /NY - HELP - exempt v non New York

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  • BIG mess/not for profit /NY - HELP - exempt v non New York

    Ok, I know ..another exempt v non quesiotn/salaried v hourly, ...but here goes..the facts:

    1). Not for profit, therapeutic riding center, open all year, program runs 1/2 year..
    2) 3 ft staff there all year.
    3) 3 staff are all working as a "team" with no one leader
    4) 1 is the Executive Director - supervises the volunteers, writes grants, determines programing, supervises paid instructors during the season, makes over $ 536/week
    5) 1 is the barn manager- supervises the 2 part time barn workers, and some volunteers, makes decisions about horses for program, recommends vet care, has some specialized equestrian knowledge,organizes some events, makes some programming decisions
    6) 1 is the office manager - clerical work, payroll, can't hire or fire, writes grants, does PR
    7) all the above are salaried, exempt
    8) I have no problem with the salary part, as is it just a means to pay, except in the case of the barn manager, who'se "salary" equals about $ 5.64 per hour...
    9) Barn manager receives a house on property, including utilities, plus the boarding and vet care, and feeding of her horse.

    At first I was pretty sure the ED and the office mgr were non-exempt, now I am not so sure...maybe the office manager can get an admin exemption, but not sure about ed.

    barn manager...problem right off the bat, is that her salary rate is not even equal to minimum wage, which I assume it has to be, regardless of the classiciation.

    What about adding in the value of the housign she receives..I have heard there is a "primary benefits test"....meaning, if she WANTS to live there, and it is not required, and she has been offered cash value but takes housing instead, we CAN count it towards the value of minimum wage and use that to increas her "salary"..in other words, if the value of house, heat, etc is $ 1,000 per month, that would count as salary?

    SO, I am recommendign to the board (I am chairing the HR committee) that we change barn manager to salaried, non-exempt, and bring up her "salary " up to at least the equlvalant of minimum wage..

    QUESTION:

    1) can we count in any way her housing towards minium wage, and?
    2)Am I on the right track in assuming the other 2 are exempt? and that barn manager should be non-exempt
    3) what is the best way to "change" her classification without risking a possible suit for backpay of OT wages?
    4) just by chance, since the program itself runs March - November and even though they are employed all year long, the "off" season is very slow,,,,,am I not seeing something there, in terms of the classifications? I mean, if "in seasi=on" you can work a 55 hour week, but off season, you could get away with a 25 hour week, is there a way to work that out with hours for the barn manager?

    By teh way, they ahve never kept time records, so the burden of proof wouldbe on us to prove her hours, not her...

    Oh. these are the reasons I left HR, only to be dragged back in as a volunteer!

    Please help. THanks
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