Fall 2017

House Corporation Bulletin - Fall 2017

Collegiate Housing & Infrastructure Act

Fraternities and sororities are the nation’s second largest provider of college student housing. We provide housing – and a one-of-a-kind experience – for more than 370,000 of the most active students on campuses. Yet, donations toward building and maintaining our houses are restricted from receiving full tax deductions.

The Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (CHIA) would provide our houses with equal access to facility upgrades under the law. By simplifying the tax code, all non-for-profit housing (including fraternities and sororities) will be able to gain incentives to increase funding for life-safety and capacity upgrades like fire sprinklers and alarm systems. If integrated into tax reform, CHIA – which has always enjoyed bipartisan support – will also make a meaningful difference in the student debt crisis, by expanding the offering of affordable collegiate housing options.

Now, we need your help. The more voices Congress hears, the more likely students across the country will gain the benefits of safe and affordable student housing. Thank you for your support.

Contact Congress now!

Tax Filing Deadline - November 15

All nonprofit entities in the U.S., including house corporations, are required to file an annual tax return with the IRS. The return is some version of the Form 990 and is due by the 15th day of the 5fth month following the close of the fiscal year. For those house corporations that have adopted a fiscal year end consistent with the Fraternity's on June 30, this is due by November 15, 2017

Nonprofit entities that fail to file the annual return for three consecutive years will have their tax-exempt status revoked. The loss of tax exempt status means that the entity must operate as a for-profit entity, with its revenue, such as dues and rent, subject to income tax. Unfortunately, a number of chapters and house corporations have lost their exempt status and are working through an onerous process to regain it. To check if your chapter / house corporation is on the revocation list, go to this page on the IRS website. 

If your chapter/house corporation is not on the list, but you know that the tax return has not been filed for one or more years, you should give this your immediate attention. And, we suggest you engage a local tax professional to assist you. The Fraternity may also be able to direct you to assistance if your tax-exempt status has been revoked by contacting Will Shier

Reminder on Insurance Coverages

The International Fraternity purchases general liability coverage, as well as directors and officers (D&O) insurance, that includes house corporations, their officers and directors as insureds. (Purple Legionnaires and other chapter advisors also are insureds.) The coverage limit on the primary general liability is $1 million, and the limit on the excess coverage is $5 million. The D&O limit is $5 million.

Exclusions
The Fraternity’s general liability coverage excludes coverage from anyone directly involved in a violation of the Risk Management Policy that results in a claim. This includes the construction and/or use of water features, towers, platforms and other similar. Our claims experience shows that these structures pose a significant risk of injury. The prohibition applies not just to and during Fiji Island parties, but to all chapter events.

We suggest that you reinforce with your chapter that the Fraternity’s Risk Management Policy, including the provision regarding pools and construction, is to be followed at all times on chapter property. The policy and provisions are also to be followed at all other locations, but we emphasize chapter property here because of your house corporation’s role and interest in the property. This exclusion does not apply to a brother, advisor or house corporation that is not directly involved in a violation.

Commercial Crime Coverage
The insurance program of the Fraternity also provides coverage for theft, forgery and alteration of checks by house horporation or chapter officers or by employees. The coverage limit per claim is $50,000. To maintain coverage and to avoid the opportunity for claims, all chapters and house corporations should be certain that (1) all checks require the signatures of two people and (2) the bank statements are balanced by someone other than the individual who has check writing authority. It is also highly recommended that house corporations annually have an independent third party conduct an audit of the corporation’s financials.

Property Coverage
House corporations must maintain their own property coverage. If you would like information on agencies that specialize in property coverage for fraternities, please contact Advisor Resource page to find these resources – including the House Corporation Manual, which includes sample contracts and other documents, checklists and instructions.

Our insurance broker, Holmes Murphy, also provides a number of additional resources, including a webinar series with pertinent information for both advisors and house corporation members.

In addition to the Ron Sages (Ohio University 1973) is also available as a resource to our house corporations as the Fraternity’s Director of Housing. Ron served as Archon Treasurer from 2006 to 2010 and as chairman of our Financial Advisory Board from 2004 to 2006. He also has many years of experience as a House Corporation President and Treasurer. 

House Corporation Rosters

House corporation officers are encouraged to regularly update their member rosters with the Fraternity. Contact Rob Caudill, Senior Director of Graduate Development & Operations, to determine who is currently listed in the Fraternity's records and/or to update these records.

 

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 Spring 2017

House Corporation Bulletin - Spring 2017

2017 Greek Housing Conference in Atlanta, GA

The Greek Housing Conference (GHC) is designed with fraternity and sorority volunteers in mind, highlighting key aspects of fraternity and sorority house management and alumni involvement. It provides a broad range of speakers who have hands-on relevant experience in their respective fields, giving you the opportunity to ask questions from industry experts and gather useful and practical information.

This conference is geared towards local house corporation board members, board of advisors, alumni association officers, chapter advisors, other local or regional volunteers, as well as staff whose primary function is working with house corporations and dealing with housing issues. 

The 2017 Greek Housing Conference will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2017 on the Georgia Tech campus. This interfraternal conference is available at no cost to attendees. Additional details and registration are available at https://www.mygreekgift.org/GHC.

Leases for the Next Academic Year

If you have not already, we encourage all House Corporations to get signed leases now for the 2017-2018 academic year. Please note that many student housing leases (including those through colleges and universities) are signed 6-12 months in advance. 

The Fraternity suggests that the House Corporation have a lease with the chapter, and see that the chapter has a lease with each brother living in the chapter house. At a minimum, the House Corporation should have a lease for each brother living in the chapter house.

Sample documents are available for both the House Corporation – Chapter lease and Chapter – individual lease. 

College / University Agreements

We continue to see an increasing number of host institutions requiring fraternity chapters, and in some cases house corporations, to execute relationship or housing agreements with the institution.

Many of these agreements require that the institution be named as an insured on the chapter/house corporation’s liability insurance and that the chapter or house corporation indemnify the institution. Some of these requirements are not feasible or are inequitable.

Any such document should not be executed until it has been reviewed by the Fraternity’s insurance agency. It can be sent to Bill Martin at bmartin@phigam.org.

Recognizing Graduate Brothers

We often get requests or questions related to how Phi Gamma Delta recognizes its graduate brothers for their contributions and/or accomplishments. Generally, on the International Fraternity level, these fall into two categories:

Individual Awards for Volunteers: The Fraternity's awards competition also provides a number of individual awards to recognize deserving brothers for their contributions as graduate volunteers. You may work with your chapter to nominate deserving brothers, or make nominations directly by submitting an application no later than March 31. These awards include:

  • Coulter Cup: Graduate brother who has contributed the most to an undergraduate chapter through service in a capacity other than as a Purple Legionnaire or General Officer.
  • Crowder Cup: Outstanding Faculty Advisor.
  • Durrance Award: Outstanding Purple Legionnaire
  • Haynes Award: Most Effective Section Chief.

The Distinguished Fiji Award: Each year the Archons select up to six accomplished graduate brothers for their faithful and unselfish service to Phi Gamma Delta or their special contribution to mankind and society at-large.

We encourage you to nominate deserving brothers no later than May 19 for consideration this year. Additional information and past Distinguished Fiji Award recipients are listed at www.phigam.org/distinguishedfijiaward.

House Corporation Resources

Are you aware that the Fraternity’s website offers a wealth of detailed information pertaining to the operation and management of house corporations? Visit our Advisor Resource Page to find these resources – including the House Corporation Manual, which includes sample contracts and other documents, checklists, and instructions.

Our insurance broker, Holmes Murphy, also provides a number of additional resources, including a new webinar series for advisors and House Corporation members. 

Ron Sages (Ohio University 1973) is also available as a resource to our House Corporations as the Fraternity’s Director of Housing. Ron served as Archon Treasurer from 2006 to 2010 and as chairman of our Financial Advisory Board from 2004 to 2006. He also has many years of experience as a House Corporation President and Treasurer. We are very fortunate to have a brother with Ron’s broad experience and knowledge now working to enhance our support of house corporations. He can be reached at rsages@chapinasset.com.

Insurance Coverages

The International Fraternity purchases general liability coverage, as well as directors and officers (D&O) insurance, that includes house corporations, their officers and directors as insureds. (Purple Legionnaires and other chapter advisors also are insureds.) The coverage limit on the primary general liability is $1 million, and the limit on the excess coverage is $5 million. The D&O limit is $5 million. 

Exclusions
The Fraternity’s general liability coverage excludes from coverage anyone directly involved in a violation of the Risk Management Policy that results in a claim. This includes the construction and/or use of water features, towers, platforms and other similar. Our claims experience shows that these structures pose a significant risk of injury. The prohibition applies not just to and during Fiji Island parties but to all chapter events. 

We suggest that you reinforce with your chapter that the Fraternity’s Risk Management Policy, including the provision regarding pools and construction, is to be followed at all times on chapter property. The policy and provisions are also to be followed at all other locations, but we emphasize chapter property here because of your house corporation’s role and interest in the property. 

This exclusion does not apply to a brother, advisor or House Corporation that is not directly involved in a violation.

Commercial Crime Coverage 
The insurance program of the Fraternity also provides coverage for theft, forgery and alteration of checks by house corporation or chapter officers or by employees. The coverage limit per claim is $50,000. To maintain coverage and to avoid the opportunity for claims, all chapters and house corporations should be certain (1) that all checks require the signatures of two people and (2) that the bank statements are balanced by someone other than the individual who has check writing authority. It is also highly recommended that house corporations annually have an independent third party conduct an audit of the corporation’s financials. 

Property Coverage
House Corporations should obtain property coverage on their own. If you would like information on agencies that specialize in property coverage for fraternities, please contact Bill Martin.

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 Special Bulletin - Overtime Regulations

New Overtime Regulations Effective December 1

October 18, 2016

Any chapter or house corporation with employees (house directors, housemothers, cooks, custodians, etc.) may be impacted by new overtime regulations which go into effective December 1, 2016. This special bulletin is intended for these groups. 

Disclaimer: The Fraternity’s headquarters staff does not claim to be experts on this topic. We are passing along what we have read or heard and believe to be reliable. 

Effective December 1, 2016, the overtime regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will change significantly, with the effect that many employees who were not previously eligible for overtime pay will be. Although we do not track the amounts that chapters or house corporations are paying their employees, we assume that most, if not all, such employees will be eligible for overtime under the revised regulations. The threshold pay for an employee to be exempt from overtime pay provisions will increase from $23,660 annually ($455 per week) to $47,476 annually ($913 per week). Note that room and board provided to an employee, such as a house director, cannot be included when calculating the amount paid to the employee.

If your chapter/house corporation has an employee who is or will be eligible for overtime, here are some things for you to consider:  

Tracking time

  • The employee must record their time worked each day, but the employer is expected to implement and enforce the timekeeping process. This does not necessarily mean the employee is expected to punch a time clock, but the employer is responsible to ensure accurate records are kept.
  • FLSA rules require that time records should be retained for 3 years. You should also check to see what your state requirement is. 

Work hours

  • Clarify the hours that the employee is expected to work -- with the employee, chapter members and graduate volunteers.
  • Clarify the days or times that the employee is not expected to work. If you do not already do so, you may want to designate particular days each week as days off, similar to the weekend for a more conventional job.
  • If there is a special event that will require the employee to work other than usual hours (parents day, homecoming, etc.), designate an equal amount of time off during usual work hours.
  • An employee's workweek is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours -- seven consecutive 24-hour periods. You may want to set a workweek that allows some flexibility, ex: Wednesday to Tuesday, so that if an employee works extra weekend hours, you can offset those extra hours with time off on Monday or Tuesday. 

What is “time worked?"

  • Review the job description for the employee to prioritize responsibilities and you may want to remove any that may be nice to have but are not important or essential.
  • The new regulations could have a significant impact on the role of the traditional housemother, who has often been thought to be on call 24/7. If a brother stops into the housemother’s apartment to visit at a time that the housemother is not expected to be working, that could be counted as time worked.

We recommend you reference the Department of Labor Factsheet and accompanying resources for additional information and details on these new regulations. 

 

 

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