Provided to: Members & Contractors

Catalyst pays its employees $36.75 / hour and it’s contractors $39.56 / hour to account for the payroll tax otherwise covered by the cooperative. After taxes, this equates to the same amount.

Catalyst employees are paid through a monthly payroll which is run monthly at the end of the first week of the month. Paychecks should be deposited electronically by the 15th of the month.

Expected Hours#

Weekly Hours#

In line with our goal of allowing members time to pursue activities outside of work, Catalyst has generally adopted a 30 hour work week, with the understanding that some weeks may have more or fewer hours worked.

Annual Hours#

Each member must work at least 1000 hours per calendar year in order to maintain their membership in the cooperative. This is equivalent to averaging 20 hours of work per week (or half of a normal 40 hr/week FTE). For new members who join the cooperative partway through the calendar year, this requirement will be prorated and applied only to the portion of the year during which they were working for the cooperative, including their 6 month candidacy period.

Member-track contractors must work 500 hours during a six month candidacy period in order to be eligible for co-op membership.

Time-Off & Reduced Hours#

Provided to: Members & Contractors

Notification Policy#

Notification of absence or reduced hours must be sent at least as far in advance from the date of absence as the absence is long. EX: eight days of vacation requires eight days of advance notice. For notifications requiring board permission: copy the contents of the Member Time Off Request into an email, fill it out, and send it to the board. Those utilizying this policy are not required to provide an explanation for why they are taking time off or reducing their hours. Approval shall not be contingent on providing a justification for the request.

  • For absence less than a week: send a slack message to the team channel explaining when you will be gone, and tag @channel so that everyone is notified.

  • For absence greater than a week: send an email to everyone explaining when you will be gone and to what extent you can be contacted.

  • Each person’s google calendar should show when they are “out of office”.

Time-Off: Working 0 hours per week#

Requires Notification:

  • Members may take up to two consecutive weeks (10 consecutive work days) of time off without seeking explicit permission from the Board. Those utilizing this policy for at least one full day are expected to notify their team (and encouraged to notify others) in accordance with the notification policy so their absence can be accomodated.

Requires Board Permission:

  • Members seeking more than two consecutive weeks of time off must submit a written request to the Board in accordance with the notification policy. Those utilizing this time off policy are expected to communicate with their teams regarding the viability of their absence beforehand. Approval of leave will be contingent on the ability of the cooperative to continue operating as a viable economic entity.

Reduced Hours: Working <20 hours per week for more than two weeks#

Requires Board Permission:

  • Members seeking to work at a reduced rate for more than two consecutive weeks must submit a written request to the Board in accordance with the notification policy. Those utilizing this reduced hours policy are expected to communicate with their teams regarding the viability of their schedule shift beforehand. Once the request has been submitted, members should work together with their team to create a viable work plan. This may include reducing overhead like check-in meetings. Approval of the work plan will be contingent on the ability of the cooperative to continue operating as a viable economic entity.

Missing Meetings#

Whether taking large chunks of time off or going to a doctor’s appointment for a few hours, members and contractors are expected to communicate when they are going to be absent from meetings. This is best accomplished by rejecting calendar invites and notifying relevant parties on slack.

A decision should be made regarding whether to reschedule or carry on with the meeting.

Maintaining Membership & Good Standing#

Members and contractors should consider the following rules when considering taking time off or reducing their hours:

  • Pursuant to the expected hours policy, members must work a total of 1000 hours in a calendar year in order to sustain their membership in the cooperative.

  • Regardless of hours worked, a member cannot take more than 6 months of consecutive leave without resigning their membership in the cooperative.

  • To be eligible for the monthly healthcare stipend, members must have worked a rolling 1000 hours over the past 12 months (pro-rated for those that have been with the co-op for less than a year).

  • Members and contractors are encouraged and expected to keep their team members informed and update their calendar regularly to reflect their availability.


Health Care#

Provided to: Members & Contractors

Catalyst provides a healthcare stipend $170 a month to members and contractors working at leaset 1000 hours per year on a rolling 12 month basis (or in the case of new contractors/employees, the prorated amount of hours since they began working). This stipend is paid as a taxable “bonus”. The amount of the monthly stipend is adjusted annually based on inflation as discussed below in the reimbursements section

Retirement Accounts#

Provided to: Employee-Members only

Catalyst employees can contribute to a Vangaurd Solo 401(k) (also known as an Individual 401k or i401(k)) and the co-op will match 10% of the employee’s wages. Catalyst members are eligible for this type of retirement account because all employees are also owners.

Employees can defer 100% of their compensation up to $22,500 for 2023 ($30,000 for employees age 50 or older). Employers can contribute up to 25% of compensation not to exceed $66,000 for the 2023 tax year. Employees can make pre-tax or Roth (after-tax) contributions to the 401(k). However, all employer contributions are made pre-tax. See the IRS rules for more details.

Employees can contribute to the Solo 401(k) and still contribute to a traditional individual IRA or Roth IRA.

The high employer contribution limit of 25% allows the cooperative to give tax efficient raises and cost of living adjustments to employees. For example, if inflation went up 5% on the year, the members can decide to increase the employer contribution to the Solo 401k accounts by 5% to adjust for the increased cost of living. This is more tax efficient than increasing wages because the cooperative does not need to pay payroll taxes on retirement contributions.


Catalyst has two reimbursement policies available to members:

These fixed dollar values are adjusted for inflation each year in December for inflation, by multiplying them by (1 + the year-on-year CPI-U for November). The changes take effect at the beginning of the following calendar year. Reimbursement requests for one-off purchases approved by the board are also acceptable in certain circumstances.

Reimbursement Process: Members will make their own purchases and submit receipts via the Expense Reimbursement Form . They should be reimbursed within the payroll period following submission of complete documentation of the purchase. Members should confirm that their planned purchase is eligible for reimbursement under IRS rules and that they have sufficient remaining reimbursement funds before making the purchase.

The co-op will maintain a record of reimbursements visible to all members including:

  • Date of purchase

  • Name of member reimbursed

  • Type of reimbursement (asset purchase or expense)

  • The amount reimbursed

  • A description of purchase including identifying information like laptop make, model, and serial number.

  • A digital copy of receipts, invoices, or other proofs of purchase.

  • Calculated values:

    • The remaining undepreciated value of all asset purchases associated with each member (this is the amount the member would owe the co-op if they left).

    • The remaining reimbursement budget available to each member.

Home Office Reimbursements#

Provided to: Members only

As an all-remote organization it’s important that we ensure our members have a comfortable and productive work environment. Due to favorable tax treatment, using co-op funds to this end is significantly more cost-effective than requiring members to cover these expenses out of pocket.

Each member will be reimbursed up to $3,300 in any rolling 3-year period to furnish and maintain their remote work environment, subject to the following conditions:

  • The expenditure must qualify as a business expense, which the co-op can deduct from its income for tax purposes.

  • The member must provide the co-op with receipts or other documentation of the business expense for our records, in the event that we are audited by the IRS and need to demonstrate the legitimacy of the tax deduction. The amount available to be reimbursed to a member at any given time will be $3,300 minus the sum of all reimbursements they’ve received in the preceding rolling 3 year period. Each expenditure will be categorized as either an asset purchase, or an expense.

Asset Purchases include tangible non-consumable items that you purchase once and use for a period of time. E.g. a laptop, monitor, office chair, external backup drive, ergonomic keyboard, headphones, hardware 2FA keys, reference books, etc.

Asset Depreciation: We will use straight-line depreciation to depreciate the value of the asset over 3 years. The remaining value of the asset before it is fully depreciated is known as the undepreciated value.

Reimbursement of Undepreciated Value: When a member leaves the co-op the remaining undepreciated value of the member’s reimbursed assets becomes a debt owed to the co-op. Like other debts owed to the co-op, it may be deducted from the departing member’s capital account / member share. The member will owe this debt to the co-op even if the asset has been damaged, stolen, or destroyed. We strongly encourage members to ensure expensive items like laptops are covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, and to maintain an appropriate renters or homeowners insurance policy so that these assets can be replaced if need be without additional cost to the member.

For example, an employee buys a $600 standing desk and is reimbursed by the cooperative. Since the standing desk depreciates (that is, loses value due to wear and tear) over 3 years, after one year the standing desk is valued at $400. So when the employee decides to leave the cooperative 2 years after the purchase of the standing desk, it is valued at $200. The departing employee would then need to pay the cooperative $200. Alternatively, the cooperative could deduct $200 from the departing employee’s internal member capital account. For a more comprehensive example: see this spreadsheet.

Expenses: will be reimbursed on a month to month basis as they are incurred. They do not result in a potential future liability for the member (unlike asset purchases) since they’re being consumed continuously. This is meant to cover things like membership at a co-working space, improved home internet service for work purposes, an off-site backup service for your computer, enrollment in online courses for continuing education, etc. Monthly expense reimbursements to a member shall be limited to the total per-member reimbursement budget divided by the number of months in the rolling reimbursement period. Given the current limits of $3,300 every 36 months this works out to 2*($3,300/36 mo) = $183.33/mo. If a member has an expense greater than this amount, they can get reimbursed for it in installments over multiple months, so long as they remain a member.

Catalyst IRL Reimbursement#

Provided to: Members only

As a remote organization, Catalysters rarely see one another in person. To encourage folks to bridge the virtual divide, each member may request reimbursement for up to $220 per year for travel and food expenses related to visiting another member of the coop. These expenses must be marginal and additional to existing plans where the primary purpose of the expenses is visiting another co-oper . Receipts must be submitted through the Expense Reimbursement Form for approval and reimbursement.

Example: A member seeks reimbursement for a flight to the other side of the country. They stay with their family friends for a week and then take a bus to a neighboring town to meet up with another co-oper and go out to lunch. Because the primary purpose of the flight is to see family and friends, the co-oper should foot the bill for the flight. The co-oper may request a reimbursement for travel to visit the other co-oper as well as the bill for their lunch together.

If you are uncertain about whether an expense may be reimbursable, use your best judgment, and reach out to the Internal Management team for clarification.