Employment & Benefits

About

Collectives fiscally hosted by OCF can have employees, with access to benefits like health insurance. Costs related to employment are paid from the Collective's budget, with OCF as the employer.

How it works

The Collective admins define who to hire (themselves or others), how much to pay in salaries, and the job descriptions. Collectives decide their own internal management structure, work practices, hours, and other day to day aspects of the job.
OCF ensures legal compliance with employment regulations, and takes care of payroll, liability, taxes, workers comp, and all the paperwork.

Using Justworks

OCF uses a PEO, or Professional Employer Organization, called Justworks to manage its employees and HR operations.
Employees will be able to manage many aspects of their employment from within the Justworks platform, or through apps for iOS and Android (note: the app cannot do everything that is available on the website, such as choosing a health insurance plan). This includes setting pronouns and choosing whether or not to display their birthday to other employees (the default for this feature is "on").
Employee onboarding is simple and straightforward using the Justworks web app. Employees can also contact Justworks' 24/7 support (they tend to be particularly helpful via live chat on their website - click the bubble in the lower right corner) if they have issues with their account.

Timecards

Depending on an employee's number of hours, compensation, and state of residence, they may be required by law to submit a timecard. Thankfully, the Justworks app makes it easy for employees to submit hours for approval.
Timecards are biweekly, from Sunday the beginning of the first week through Saturday at the end of the second week. Payment for that pay period is the following Friday. Timecards are generally approved by our team, but we can also provide a manager on the Collective team with timecard approval privileges within Justworks when requested.
We know that tracking every hour can bring up a lot of feelings about work, value, and time, and are happy to be in conversation with OCF employees about how to navigate this requirement, should it apply to their situation. Reach out and we'll find a time to chat.

Health insurance benefits

Benefits are available to full time employees (30+ hours per week), including coverage for spouses, kids, or family.
Because many Collectives operate under the OCF umbrella, we can access large group health insurance plans only available to employers. This lowers costs an increases available options.
Employees can decide whether or not to sign up for healthcare or other benefits, and the Collective's budget is only charged for benefits if they opt-in.

Plan options

Some examples of the health plans employees will be able to choose from include:
  • POS plans with deductibles between $3,000-$4,000; out-of-pocket maxes between $5,500-$6,850; co-insurance between 10%-20%; and out-of-network deductibles between $6,000-$8,000
  • EPO plans with deductibles between $0-$4,000; out-of-pocket maxes between $4,500-$6,850; and co-insurance between 0%-20% (EPO plans have no out-of-network deductible)
For more detailed information on the coverage, please see this overview (this overview shows 100% employer contributions; to see how costs to employees can vary, see our discussion of health insurance costs below).
Some plans have access to HSAs and/or FSAs. Read more about those here.
We also have additional medical plans for employees in some specific states, where required. The costs for each plan vary - see a breakdown below. Plans change year-to-year, so please feel free to reach out for information on the current offerings.
Some employees will have limited options depending on their state or zip code. We recommend that employees living in rural areas reach out to us in advance so that we can determine their eligibility.
Dental and vision insurances are available for all employees selecting benefits, with 2-3 different options for each.

Timing

Existing employees enroll (or end their enrollment) in health insurances each year during Open Enrollment, which takes place in September or early October, selecting plans for themselves and their dependents that will take effect November 1. (New employees that join In August or September may find it confusing that they are asked to sign up for healthcare twice in quick succession - once for the current plan year, and once for the upcoming one.)
Employees can also make new selections or end their enrollment when a Qualifying Life Event occurs (if this is you, contact Justworks directly).
Not sure about what to choose during Open Enrollment? Read this guide from Justworks.
New employees' health insurance will take effect beginning the first day of the month following their first day. They will make their selections during something called "New Hire Open Enrollment," a 30 day window from their original start date. (Even if they make their selections after the 1st of the month, the "effective date" - after which they can make claims - will still be the 1st of the month following following their first day.) There is no "'waiting period" for access to health insurance.
We recommend that employees planning to start on the 1st of a month and needing health insurance set a start date that is the last day of the previous month so that their health insurance is effective on the 1st, rather than a month later.

Other benefits

OCF employees have unlimited paid time off for vacation or sick time, and floating holidays. As such, employees do not accrue time off, so OCF will not compensate unused vacation leave at any time, including at termination.
Unlimited vacation is not as good for employees as it sounds, and OCF has employed it solely for accounting reasons. It is more likely that an employee will take less vacation as a result, rather than more, because employees often do not feel like they have vacation days to use. For this reason, depending on your team culture, it can be useful to set an informal minimum number of vacation days that employees are encouraged to take.
Employees, for their part are obligated to:
  1. 1.
    Avoid abusing this policy by taking time off that negatively impacts the job or the Collective
  2. 2.
    Communicate and collaborate with their team to ensure everyone takes leave without disrupting operations
  3. 3.
    Plan to delegate, postpone or otherwise manage projects that will be affected by their time off
  4. 4.
    Notify a Collective Admin at least two weeks in advance for vacations
  5. 5.
    Notify a Collective Admin as soon as it is reasonable to do so if taking leave for illness or caring responsibilities
Retirement Savings Accounts
As of April 2022, 401(k) retirement savings accounts are available to all employees (both full- and part-time) of OCF at no cost to the Collective. The process of signing up with Slavic401k and setting up Traditional or Roth contributions is simple and straightforward within the Justworks platform. Enrolled employees will receive regular email updates about their balance, along with a quarterly account snapshot by mail.
New employees can access this benefit after 90 days of employment.

Wellness perks and ancillary benefits

Depending on an individual's location and number of work hours per week, they may have access to additional benefits through the Justworks platform. Examples include:
  • One free video therapy session per month and unlimited messaging on Talkspace
  • Free membership in One Medical primary care (note: One Medical was recently purchased by Amazon and is still expanding from its initial roster of large US cities)
  • Free membership in HealthAdvocate, which helps people navigate the US healthcare system
  • Free membership in Teladoc (although there are still costs for appointments)
  • Pre-tax commuter benefits
  • The option to sign up and pay for employee-paid short term disability, long term disability, or supplemental life and AD&D insurances

Costs

The following costs are charged to the Collective budget for employment:
  • Wages - salary amounts are set by the Collective
  • Payroll taxes, levies, and fees as required by law - see below
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance benefits - if the employee chooses to opt in
  • PEO fees - payroll provider costs ($49 or $99 per month per employee depending on benefits status)
  • Administrative fee - $50 per employee per month
Costs are automatically deducted monthly from the Collective's budget. Once employment is set up, employees will be paid by direct debit and Collectives do not have to take any action to manage ongoing expenses.
If a potential employee engages in work where there is a risk of injury, such as a performing artist or other physical laborer, we will need to review whether they can be covered under our workers' compensation insurance. If this describes your situation, please reach out to discuss it with us.

Medical, dental, and vision insurance costs

OCF and its Collectives cover 100% of employees' medical, dental, and vision insurance. When bringing on a new employee, health insurance is one of the most difficult expenses to plan for, since there is a significant range between the cheapest and most expensive options.
To help alleviate this tension, OCF allows Collectives to choose how much they would like to cover of employees' spouse/family/kids health insurance (medical, dental, and vision). The current options for spouse/family/kids are:
There is also one additional option: 90% across the board, including employee costs, for all insurances. This is what we offer to the OCF core team.
Collectives must offer the same health insurance contribution level for all Collective employees. This is to ensure that there is no discrimination.
The per-employee monthly health insurance general cost ranges are estimated as follows (as of 2022 - these tend to increase 5-10% year-to-year, unfortunately - yes, this system is messed up):
Type of coverage
Medical
Dental
Vision
Employee only
$400-$600
$16-$53
$7
Employee + spouse
$800-$1,250
$32-$112
$14
Employee + kids
$725-$1,200
$36-$125
$12-$15
Family
$1,100-$1,750
$52-$186
$20-$22
Ensure that you are able to bring on employees no matter their family situation. It is not legal to take applicants' family situation into account when making hiring decisions.

Payroll taxes

Associated taxes, levies, and fees include but are not limited to the below (as of 2022):
Type of tax
Cost
Social security
6.2% (on up to $147k in a calendar year)
Medicare
1.45%
Federal unemployment tax (FUTA)
0.6% (on up to $7,000 earned)
State unemployment insurance (SUI)
varies
Other misc. charges (e.g., MCTMT)
variable

Billing cycle

OCF bills Collectives for employment costs on a monthly basis, at the end of the month. Payroll, however, is every two weeks, on Fridays. The way these two timelines interact can be confusing. Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Timecards for hourly employees are entered biweekly, covering the two full weeks (Sunday to Saturday) preceding the Friday payday. Sometimes this means that payment for work occurring entirely in one month with not be billed until the following one.
  • Some months will have three paydays, rather than two.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and we will sort it out.

Budgeting for employment

Give the above costs (excluding insurance below) and the intricacies of the billing cycle, you may be wondering how to budget for employees by month. Here's a calculation that can give you a rough idea of the costs:
  1. 1.
    Find the total annual pay for any part-time employees by multiplying their hourly rate by hours per week by 52 weeks. Add those totals together.
  2. 2.
    Add that total to the annual salaries of any full-time employees.
  3. 3.
    Multiply that by 1.08, to try (it is not perfect) to account for taxes and fees
  4. 4.
    Divide by 12 to get a monthly cost
  5. 5.
    Add on expected monthly health insurance contributions for each full-time employee (this may be a wide range if you have not hired yet)
This will get you a rough estimate! Don't hold us to it.
Additionally, any Collective that employs people will be required to sign up for insurance under OCF. There does tend to be an additional yearly cost, per employee, but the exact cost varies. For more information on costs and processes, see the costs section of the insurance page of our documentation.

Requirements & Policies

  • Employees must be located in the US and be allowed to legally work in the US.
  • Employees must be 18 years of age or older. We are not able to employ minors at this time.
  • OCF can currently only support salaried, exempt, part-time or full-time employees, not hourly or manual workers. For other types of work, you may pay people as independent contractors instead (employment laws allowing - see below).
  • All employees have unlimited PTO and we do not track or pay out PTO.
  • Collectives must maintain a budget of at least 3x monthly employment costs, to ensure funds are available to pay employees. (For fixed-term employment situations, it may be possible to drop below this threshold toward the end of the contract.)
  • Employees and Collective admins have to agree to the terms of the standard OCF employment agreement (template).
  • Employees must agree to follow the policies in the OCF Employee Handbook, which covers things like non-harassment, various kind of statutory leave, health and safety, etc. Each state has slightly different required policies so the handbook varies by state (here is the New York handbook as an example).

Discrimination

What not to ask or bring up in an interview

Here are a few things which you must not bring up in your hiring process:
  • Racial or ethnic identity
  • Religion or creed
  • Political party identification
  • Sex, orientation, or gender identity
  • Ability/disability, height, weight, etc: you may only accurately describe the job and ask whether they can perform all its functions
  • Age (or ways of attaining this info, such as asking for their graduation year, when they started working, when they plan to retire)
  • Financial health, credit score, current salary/pay
  • Societal status or club membership (e.g., sorority/fraternity, country club, local society membership); you may only ask about professional organization membership
  • Whether or not they own their home or own a car
  • Who they live with, marriage or relationship status, whether they have changed their name, their maiden name, whether or not they have children, whether they are pregnant or trying, whether they want children, what their relationship is with the people they live with, the names of any relatives, or who their emergency contact will be (only ask for the contact after they are hired)
  • Arrest record, as arrests do not equate to convictions; you may only ask about convictions in areas that are specifically relevant to the position, but tread very carefully, as this can easily slip into discrimination based on race or socio-economic status (we are all better than the worst thing we have ever done)
  • Anything regarding military discharge or non-US military service; you may only ask about how any experience may be relevant to the job
  • Citizenship or national origin; you may only ask if they are legally eligible to work in the US
  • Whether they speak languages other than English, unless it is relevant to the position
  • Individual or family health history or other genetic information, or whether they have any recent health issues
If the interviewee brings these items up of their own accord, it may be best to steer the conversation away from it at your earliest convenience.

Equal Opportunity statement

Open Collective Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age, sex or gender (including pregnancy, childbirth and pregnancy- related conditions), gender identity or expression (including transgender status), sexual orientation, marital status, military service and veteran status, physical or mental disability, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws and ordinances. We are dedicated to this policy with respect to recruitment, hiring, placement, promotion, transfer, training, compensation, benefits, employee activities, access to facilities and programs, and general treatment during employment.
The Foundation will endeavor to make a reasonable accommodation of an otherwise qualified applicant or employee related to an individual’s: physical or mental disability; sincerely held religious beliefs and practices; and/or any other reason required by applicable law, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship upon the Foundation's operations.
Any applicant or employee who needs an accommodation in order to perform the essential functions of the job should contact Executive Director to request such an accommodation. The individual should specify what accommodation is needed to perform the job and submit supporting documentation explaining the basis for the requested accommodation, to the extent permitted and in accordance with applicable law. The Foundation then will review and analyze the request, including engaging in an interactive process with the employee or applicant, to identify if such an accommodation can be made. The Foundation will evaluate requested accommodations, and as appropriate, identify other possible accommodations, if any. The individual will be notified of The Foundation's decision regarding the request within a reasonable period. The Foundation treats all medical information submitted as part of the accommodation process in a confidential manner.
Any employees with questions or concerns about equal employment opportunities in the workplace are encouraged to bring these issues to the attention of Executive Director. The Foundation will not allow any form of retaliation against individuals who raise issues of equal employment opportunity. If employees feel they have been subjected to any such retaliation, they should contact Executive Director. To ensure our workplace is free of artificial barriers, violation of this policy including any improper retaliatory conduct will lead to discipline, up to and including discharge. All employees must cooperate with 5 all investigations conducted pursuant to this policy.
Further anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies are outlined in the Community Guidelines for the Open Collective platform which are prescribed for all members of the Open Collective ecosystem including fiscal hosts such as OCF.

Worker Classification

Anyone who wishes to be employed and meets the above requirements is welcome to be employed by OCF. Conversely, there are situations where the law says we must make someone an employee instead of a contractor. Defining whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor is called worker classification.
There are laws designed to prevent worker exploitation and ensure workers are afforded the protections and benefits of employment where appropriate. Regulations vary by state—someone in California may need to be employed while someone in Texas doing the same work might be allowed to be a contractor.
If you'd like to learn more about classification, read the guide below. It's a complex topic and we regularly run scenarios past our lawyer to be sure. If you have any questions about classification, please contact us.
Independent_Contractor_Classification_Guide.pdf
146KB
PDF

Setting up Employment

Here are the steps to employ someone.
  1. 1.
    If they have not already done so previously, Collective admin follows the process to set up liability insurance (it can take some time for the insurer to process, so please do this first).
  2. 2.
    Collective admin fills out the Employment Setup Form (fill it out once per employee if multiple).
  3. 3.
    OCF sets up the employment contract (example) and requests signatures from the Collective admin and the employee.
  4. 4.
    OCF invites the employee to Justworks, our PEO/payroll system. They must complete the signup process.
  5. 5.
    OCF staff will request I-9 documentation from the employee to prove US work eligibility, as required by law, and confirm it in Justworks.
  6. 6.
    The employee starts getting paid by direct deposit every two weeks.
  7. 7.
    OCF will debit employment-related costs from the Collective's budget on a monthly basis.

Terminating Employment

OCF is an at-will employer, and either OCF or the employee may end the employment relationship at any time. In most circumstances, OCF will terminate employment at the instruction of the Collective admin named as the employee's supervisor in the employment contract.
Fixed term employment contracts will expire upon the end date specified, unless they are extended. If the Collective or employee no longer meets the basic requirements for employment, such as lacking budget to cover costs, the employment relationship will end.
Where possible, we ask Collectives to give OCF as much advance notice as possible, so we can take care of the termination process in a timely manner.
Please be aware that benefits such as FSAs, among others, may not be transferable to a new employer. Reach out to us with questions about this, as every situation is different.