Friday, February 10, 2012

Nonprofits Face Licensed Worker Problem

There are thousands of nonprofits in New York that employ licensed social workers.  But now, thanks to a recently passed law, all of these groups are committing a crime.

NY1 reported yesterday on a law passed by the state last week that makes it illegal for nonprofits to hire licensed professionals, from social workers to acupuncture specialists.  The state decided to make this move because it believed that these workers should not be supervised by unlicensed professionals.  As a result, they will not be unable to work for corporations or nonprofits.  Hospitals, as well as specialty stores like Lens Crafters, will be exempt from this rule.  Social services groups had until last week to apply for a waiver.

While this is now the law of the land, it's unclear how it will be enforced.  It seems unlikely that organizations, such as Coalition for the Homeless, which employs a half-dozen licensed social workers and a nurse, will be prosecuted for violating this new rule.  Even so, it will create problems for nonprofits wishing to apply for city funding.  This is because a group is required to be complying with all local and state laws. 

There have been some calls from legislators to change the law.  State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, for instance, told NY1 that it makes more sense to adjust the law than to sit through countless waiver claims.  But as of this writing, no legislation is being considered to adjust the current law.  You can read the full story in NY1.

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