The question of adequate compensation comes up often for our Churches and members. Forma believes that ministers in the Church should be paid a living wage and receive benefits for the work they do. One of Forma's achievements was advocating for and helping shape Resolution A138, adopted at General Convention 2009 requiring churches to provide pension benefits for any lay employee of the Episcopal Church working 1,000 hours or more per year (20 hours per week) and to utilize the Church Pension Group standards as a baseline. GC 2012 allowed an extension for schools until January 1, 2018, using a phase-in model.
Unfortunately, there is no simple way to recommend a salary or hourly wage broadly for all churches and dioceses. There are some helpful tools below to help you discern what others are doing around the Church.
Forma encourages its members to negotiate for salary and benefits. Church budgets are often strained in order to meet the demands of their mission, however, the work our ministers engage in are vital to accomplishing that mission. Your gifts, talents, and time should be adequately compensated. Engaging in negotiations helps insure this will be the case. The Association of Presbyterian Church Educators published a very helpful article on this topic in June of 2018: Click here to read the ADVOCATE article on interviewing and negotiating
Questions to Consider When Setting a Salary Range
- Is the position full-time or part-time?
- If full-time exempt, are additional hours above 40 per week expected regularly?
- If part-time, how many hours per week on average?
- What is the size of the congregation?
- How many people are regularly involved in the activities that will be overseen?
- Are there curriculum writing responsibilities?
- What is the required/preferred level of education (high school, undergraduate college, etc.)?
- How many age groups is the position overseeing?
- How much travel is involved? If a substantial amount of travel, how many nights will be spent away from home in a typical year?
- Is there an expense account?
- Is there reimbursement for mileage or fuel?
- How many days are available for continuing education and is there a continuing education budget?
- What is the sabbatical policy and when is the position eligible for sabbatical?
- What is unique about the position that would demand a higher quality and higher paid candidate?
- Are there other positions/salaries with which to compare the responsibilities of this position, in the same congregation or others in your community?
By resolution, TEC requires pension and health benefits for lay employees. This should be taken into consideration during the budgeting process.
Episcopal employers subject to the authority of the Church are required to provide a pension to all lay employees scheduled to work a minimum of 1,000 hours annually. Visit the Lay Employee Pension System web page.
Employers are required to provide all eligible clergy and lay employees with equal access to and parity of funding for healthcare benefits, to be provided through the Episcopal Church Medical Trust. Under the terms of this resolution, an eligible employee is someone who is scheduled for at least 1,500 hours of compensated work annually for any domestic diocese, parish, mission, or other ecclesiastical organization or body subject to the authority of the Church. Visit the Denominational Health Plan web page.
Cost of Living Index by Metro Area
These are helpful resources for determining the difference in cost of living between United States metropolitan areas. Since the above salary surveys are averages, the below tools would help a supervisor contextualize the salary range for real housing, food, transportation, etc., costs in a given city or town. Especially helpful is the “728 – Cost of Living Index—Selected Urban Areas” document on the www.census.gov website.
CNN Cost of Living Calculator
Numbeo Cost of Living Rankings
Diocese of Virginia Compensation guidelines for lay employees by region (2014 data)
General Convention Resolutions Affecting the Employment of Laity in the Church
- Establishment of a Church-wide Lay Employee Pension System
- Establishment of a Church-wide Denominational Health Plan
- Urge Church Bodies to Discontinue Unjust Employment Practices
- Recommend Parity Between Clergy and Lay Employees
- Request Dioceses to Establish Minimum Continuing Education Standards
- Urge Church-wide Promotion of the Living Wage
- Urge Dioceses to Adopt Principles and Guidelines on Employment Practices in the Church Workplace
Archdeacon Michael S. Kendall of the Episcopal Diocese of New York speaks about economic justice and the Episcopal Church support for a Living Wage