Fair Employment

Fair Employment

Does your church practice fair employment?

This seems like a strange question but have you ever thought about how your lay employees are treated? Does your church comply with state and federal labor law and Diocesan policy? Are there written employment policies? Are employees evaluated at least annually based on a written job description? Do they receive fair wages and benefits? Are they paid for all the hours they work and do they get the appropriate rest breaks and a lunch period?

Most of us who work for the church are passionate about our jobs. Lay employees are often Episcopalian and we think of our jobs as ministry whether we work with youth or in an administrative capacity. We love the church, we care about doing a good job, and we will work tirelessly for the good of the order.

What I’ve heard is that we don’t have the funding necessary to pay fair wages and benefits and that we are too busy to practice fair employment. It is absolutely true that we have finite financial resources and everyone is busy; but I have to ask, “what is it that takes precedence over how we treat our employees?”

As Episcopalians we have a responsibility, which we accept by virtue of our baptismal vows, to behave morally and ethically in all of our affairs. Governmental laws and Diocesan policies provide substance and form to guide us in carrying out this responsibility but we all know what is right and what is wrong. It shouldn’t require pages of regulations and policies to inform right relationship with our employees.

The Employment Practices and Benefits Committee will take form early in 2011. With the Denominational Health Plan and the Lay Pension Plan Canons passed by General Convention in 2009 they will have a large agenda. I look forward to participating in the work of this committee and would love to carry your thoughts and ideas into these meetings. Please feel free to contact me at 916-442-6918 or bobbi@norcalepiscopal.org.

“Workplace Values in the Episcopal Church”

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