About This Resource
As a church committed to justice and equity out of our Christian understanding, compensation for all employees of Local Churches in the Northern California Nevada Conference is a matter of spiritual significance. Our budgets and stewardship of financial resources, as well as our care for our employees, is a tangible expression of our faith in action.
Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. -Romans 4:4
The laborer deserves their wages. –1 Timothy 5:18
Generally speaking, employment in Local Churches can be categorized in four broad ways:
Authorized Ministers (those serving under 3- or 4-Way Covenant and Call Agreement)
Program Staff (educators, youth workers, mission staff, musicians, etc)
Support Staff (office administrators, financial clerks, etc)
Contracted Support (pulpit supply, consultants, short-term employment)
Fair & Just Compensation for Church Workers is established to provide guidance to Local Churches in considering the critically important, and yet sometimes awkward and uncomfortable, process of compensating their church staff. This workbook supports Personnel Committees, Boards of Trustees, Ministerial Search Committees, Pastoral Relations Committees, Authorized Ministers, Local Church staff members, and others in navigating the waters of fair, equitable compensation.
What’s Included Here?
The document Fair & Just Compensation for Church Workers: A Resource for Local Churches, Authorized Ministers, and Professional Church Staff outlines the rationale for compensation in each area. It is extensive and a critical resource for individuals engaging in questions of compensation for church employees.
A Guidelines Reference Grid is available to summarize each Guideline based on the present amount. The first effective year is 2018, giving Local Churches time to transition to this new resource. A good plan for Local Churches who are substantially below Fair & Just Compensation standards in 2017 is to have serious conversation about the ministry they are called to in their community and explore the best structure to accomplish that ministry.
Worksheets A, C, and D are available both to be printed and completed by hand, as well as in Excel format for automatic calculation of certain parts of the Fair & Just Compensation formula.
- 2019-Fair-Just-Compensation.pdf (April 2018-2019)
- Guidelines Reference Grid.pdf (April 2018-2019)
- Worksheet A: Compensation for Authorized Minister in 3-Way Covenant – PDF
- Worksheet C: Compensation for Program Staff – PDF
- Worksheet D: Compensation for Support Staff – PDF
An Important Note for Church Leaders
There is a misconception among many people that churches are exempt from federal and state labor laws. This is not the case. While ordained clergy have certain considerations that affect their compensation and labor protections, churches have the same obligations as other employers to their employees, as well as the same legal responsibilities as an employer. In the State of California, exempt employees must earn a wage at least equal to two times that of the state minimum wage. This means that any exempt employee, including clergy, must earn equal to or more than $21 per hour (annualized to $43,680 for 1.0 FTE). If an employee is considered full-time exempt and their salary is less than the annualized amount, such classification of the position as exempt is illegal and the church is not in compliance with state law. Likewise, if an employee is considered part-time exempt but their salary does not equal the pro rata amount.
Conference staff is happy to assist you in exploring questions and opportunities to ensure compliance with state compensation law.