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NEW YORK, NY (November 14, 2016)  The National Network of Business Law Pro Bono Providers (National Network) and the Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo), with support from Pro Bono Net, have collaborated for the first time to launch a nationwide resource hotline for nonprofits regarding upcoming changes in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a regulatory change that is expected to have major impact.  These rules raise the minimum salary threshold for employees who are entitled to overtime pay, significantly affecting the costs and obligations of all employers, including nonprofits, nationwide.  Beginning on December 1st, the salary threshold for exemption from the overtime regulations under the FLSA will be raised from the current $455/week ($23,600/year) to $913/week ($47,476/year).  Workers who are not exempt under the FLSA must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in any week.  After December 1st, employers who are out of compliance risk incurring retroactive overtime obligations and administrative penalties. DOL estimates that millions of workers, including those at nonprofits, will be newly eligible to receive overtime pay. 

Nonprofit organizations with questions about the new regulations and what effect they will have on their workforce can visit http://lawyersalliance.org/apb_intake_form.php to complete a simple intake form and sign up for a free one-hour legal consultation via telephone with an attorney.  Currently, 14 law firms across the country have signed up to provide attorneys for these consultations.  Lawyers Alliance for New York, a member of the National Network, will administer the program. If needed, nonprofits can request an additional one-hour follow-up call.  Nonprofits are also encouraged to consult with local counsel regarding state overtime rules, as these consultations will only cover federal rules.

Sean Delany, Executive Director of Lawyers Alliance for New York, says, "One of the main goals of the National Network is to harness the expertise of pro bono attorneys across the country for the benefit of nonprofit organizations and the communities they serve.  The legal assistance provided through the new Hotline will help nonprofit managers make sense of the new regulations. Nonprofit employers are encouraged to seek counsel on this important change prior to the effective date on December 1st."

Allegra Nethery, Pro Bono Partner at one of the participating firms, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, and Board Secretary of APBCo, states, "We are seeing a tremendous need for nonprofits to understand the impact of the new overtime rules on their operations. In partnership with the National Network and Pro Bono Net, APBCo is proud that our members' firms have stepped up to provide free legal advice to nonprofits in our communities on this complex issue."

The National Network of Business Law Pro Bono Providers is a membership organization of providers that offer pro bono business law services to nonprofit organizations and social enterprises in geographic regions across the United States.  The National Network relies on volunteer attorneys from law firms and corporations to provide that assistance, including those affiliated with the members of APBCo. The National Network shares best practices, collaborates on educational and legal projects, and promotes the delivery of high quality business and transactional legal services to organizations serving low-income and disadvantaged neighborhoods.

The Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo) was established in 2006 as a mission-driven membership organization for attorneys and practice group managers who run a law firm pro bono practice on a full-time basis.  Today, APBCo has over 180 members representing over 100 large law firms. APBCo's mission is to maximize access to justice through the delivery of pro bono legal services by advancing the model of the full-time law firm pro bono counsel, supporting and enhancing the professional development of pro bono counsel, and serving as the voice of the law firm pro bono community.

Pro Bono Net is a national nonprofit, founded in 1999, dedicated to increasing access to justice for the disadvantaged. Through innovative technology solutions and expertise in building and mobilizing justice networks, Pro Bono Net transforms the way legal help reaches those in need.  Pro Bono Net works with a broad network of access to justice partners to close the justice gap by empowering the public with information and self-help tools to improve their lives, equipping advocates with the resources to make a stronger impact, and mobilizing volunteers to expand help available.

Contact:  Emily Crossan, Lawyers Alliance for New York/National Network of Business Law Pro Bono Providers, (212) 219-1800 ext. 233, ecrossan@lawyersalliance.org and Allegra Nethery, Seyfarth Shaw/APBCo, (312) 460-5523, anethery@seyfarth.com.


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