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Action on Compensation Committee Report

The following Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Board recommendations are based on information contained in "To Sustain The Living Tradition," the final report of the UUA Committee on Ministerial and Church Staff Compensation which was mailed to all UU congregations in the U.S. at the end of March 1995. The report was adopted by the General Assembly (1995).

As a matter of usage, references in these recommendations to "The Guidelines" or "The Guidelines Program" refer to the full set of recommended compensation and benefit standards proposed by the recommendations; "Basic Compensation Ranges" refer only to the standards for compensation which appear in the chart on page 23 of "To Sustain The Living Tradition."

Board Recommendations for the Compensation Report

The Basic Measure of Service

Recommendation 1

We recommend adoption of the Basic Compensation Ranges set forth in the table on page 23 of "To Sustain the Living Tradition," effective immediately, subject to adjustment as set forth in Recommendation 5 and as the Board of Trustees may, from time to time, determine.

The Guidelines are intended to be used in conjunction with a unit-based system for measuring service rendered and determining compensation levels. A unit is defined as a morning, afternoon or evening devoted to a congregation's work. In the unit system, adopted as part of the compensation Guidelines, 12 units per week constitute full-time service.

Recommendation 2

We urge congregations to employ flexibility of the ranges to reflect a number of factors in setting and adjusting the compensation for each professional.

Implementation of Guidelines

Recommendation 3

We urge congregations to begin to implement the Guidelines as soon as practical.

Recommendation 4

Each congregation adopting the Guidelines Program and qualifying as meeting the Guidelines shall be designated a "Fair Compensation Congregation (Practicing)"; congregations adopting the Guidelines as a goal and establishing a specific plan for reaching the goal within a five-year period shall be designated a "Fair

Compensation Congregation (Committed)" and shall retain such designation until achieving the goal or failing to make annual progress toward it.

Adjustment for Cost of Living Differences

Recommendation 5

We urge congregations when setting and applying the Basic Compensation Ranges to consider cost-of-living differences from the base amounts.

Benefits Guidelines

Recommendation 6

We urge all congregations to provide a basic benefits package (including health, life and disability insurance, a retirement plan, and partial payment of social security taxes) for all full-time staff members: ministers, religious educators, administrators, and musicians; likewise we urge providing to part-time staff members a similar benefits package prorated proportionally as their service compares to full-time service.

Recommendation 7

We urge congregations to determine benefits coverage prior to the establishment of a salary and housing (or compensation) figure; benefits should not be the subject of bartering about compensation.

Health Insurance

Recommendation 8

We urge congregations to make a health insurance program available to each religious professional. Ideally such coverage would be on a fully paid basis for such religious professionals.

Provision for Retirement

Recommendation 9

We urge congregations to make payment to a retirement plan in an amount equal to 14% of compensation (including housing) for all religious professionals.

Disability Insurance

Recommendation 10

We urge congregations to provide long term disability insurance with benefits, following 90 days' disability, payable to age 65.

Group Insurance

Recommendation 11

We urge congregations to cover a group life insurance policy to protect dependent survivors in an amount equal to two years' compensation (including housing).

Employer's Share of Social Security Tax

Recommendation 12

We urge congregations to provide at least one half of the self-employed social security tax (FICA) which is a percentage of salary and housing for ministers.


Recommendation 13

We urge congregations to provide one month of vacation time as a minimum for each religious professional.

Professional Expenses Guidelines

Recommendation 14

We urge congregations to determine professional expenses prior to the establishment of a salary and housing (or compensation) figure, and we urge an annual update.

Recommendation 15

We urge congregations to provide professional expenses and include automobile and travel allowance, conference and professional association expenses, attendance at professional association meetings, district events, General Assembly, continuing education, and other necessary related obligations.

Recommendation 16

We believe continuing professional education is an essential for each religious professional in order to maintain and advance professional skills and knowledge. We urge congregations to provide adequate time for professional personnel's continuing education including sabbatical leave, not to be considered as part of vacation.

Recommendation 17

We urge congregations to assign to a newly created compensation and benefits committee, or to an existing committee, the responsibility for administration of the Guidelines.

Recommendation 18

District compensation advocates should be designated by each district board to serve as a resource to congregations. These advocates shall form district compensation committees composed of committed UUs familiar with matters related to compensation and benefits for ministers and church staff. The district compensation advocate will receive initial training at UUA expense.

Recommendation 19

The UUA Board will establish a standing committee on compensation, benefits, and pension to be comprised of five members appointed by the Board; three ex officio members who shall be the UUA Treasurer, the Chair of UU Council on Church Staff Finances, the UUA Financial Advisor; and one member appointed by the UUMA Executive Committee. This committee will provide direction and support in implementing and administering the UUA's Guidelines Program and will oversee the UU Organizations Pension Plan (this committee will replace the present Pension Committee).

Recommendation 20

The UUA Office of Church Staff Finances will be responsible for gathering and distributing current information about compensation and benefits, cost of living and other related data to all US based ministers, MREs, DREs, Music Directors and Business Administrators; to the Executive Committees/Boards of concerned professional organizations; US member congregations; District Presidents; District Field Service Staff; Settlement Representatives; Good Offices Consultants; and other relevant persons.

Submitted by the Board of Trustees
Board Vote: 24-0-0
April 1995

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Last updated on Tuesday, April 16, 2013.

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