Benefits for Non-Profit Employees

We all know that (unfortunately) non-profit organizations usually pay their employees a lower wage than the for-profit sector. For better or for worse, this is something that we know and accept when deciding to enter the wonderful and crazy world of non-profit. However, because of this, I think that non-profits should really do their best to give any sort of “extra” they can to their employees.

 One example of this is vacation days. This year the organization I work for “surprised” us with three vacation days for Chanukah. I thought that this was a very nice, generous way to reward all of us for our hard work.

 I don’t want to take away from this very generous gesture that I truly appreciated, but I will say that I think in general more things like this should be done for non-profit workers. For example, in my company our vacation days are structured based on how long you have worked for the organization (I’m sure this is very normal). So until you’ve worked for the organization for 5 years, you get 14 vacation days per year. However, about 7 of these days are “forced” vacation days- during the chol hamoed Pesach and Sukkot (the intermediate days of the holidays of Passover and Sukkot) the office is closed, but these are not vacation days from the company, rather they are taken from employees’ vacation days. This leaves an employee with about 7 vacation days per year to use at his/her discretion. If you are someone like me, who between my husband and me have family in four countries outside of Israel (where we live) that makes things very hard. I happen to work for a religious non-profit organization. I know that there are many religious NFPs that do give their employees the entire holidays off at the “expense” of the company (i.e. not from the employees’ vacation days).

This is an area where I think non-profits can improve. You can’t give a higher salary? OK, so give more vacation time. Vacation is so important – it helps people to recharge and come back to work with renewed energy (and will help to avoid “burn out”, which I plan to write about soon!).

What does everyone out there think? What are your experiences in terms of benefits at non-profits? What are the pros and cons?

Chava Ashkenazi

Jerusalem, Israel   

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