Contributions to the Retirement Plan

Effective January 1, 2015, the maximum total annual contribution limit is $53,000.

The Elective Deferral limit and Catch-Up contributions limits for 2015 are: $18,000.00 and $6,000.00, respectively.

Because ordained ministers may receive part of their distributions after retirement as a tax-exempt clergy housing allowance, it is generally very advantageous for clergy of all denominations to maximize their retirement savings through their denominationally-sponsored plan.

Read also: Eligibility and Participation.

Employer Contributions


  • Employers must remit Retirement Contributions for all employees who have met the initial year of eligibility service requirement: one year of service during which they completed 1,000 hours of service, OR who have otherwise met Plan criteria to receive Employer contributions.
  • If a new employee fails to complete a year of eligibility service during their initial twelve months (e.g. date of hire to their first anniversary date), then the 1,000 hour requirement may be initially met in any calendar year.
  • New employees who previously worked for another participation employer in the Plan and met the eligibility criteria for employer contributions will receive employer contributions from day of hire at their new participating employer.
  • Once a participant in the Plan fulfills the year of eligibility service requirement, they remain eligible for employer contributions even if they work fewer than 1,000 hours in subsequent years or go to work for another participating employer.
  • And, an Employee who has successfully completed a ministerial internship as determined by the Committee shall be deemed to have completed a Year of Eligibility Service.

Level Playing Field

  • The employer congregation must contribute the same percentage of compensation for each employee owed retirement contributions.

Fair Compensation

  • 2014 Fair Compensation Guidelines (PDF) call for Employers to offer a ten percent (10%) Employer contribution to all eligible employees.
  • Each Employer has documented their Employer Contribution percentage on their Employer Participation Agreement.
  • The Fair Compensation guideline can be met with any combination of Employer contributions (Retirement and Matching) totaling an offer of at least 10%.
  • For instance, if the Employer offers a Retirement contribution of 7% and also offers an Employer Match of 3%, then the participating Employer would meet the Fair Compensation guideline for Employer retirement plan contributions.

Employer Retirement Contributions

  • The base Employer contribution is known as the "Retirement Contribution."
  • These Retirement Contributions will be made to eligible employees regardless of whether the employees elect to make their own Elective Deferrals to the Plan, and will be in addition to any other employer contributions (such as Matching) that the Employer makes to the plan.
  • The Restated Plan requires a minimum employer contribution of five percent (5%) of Compensation for those employee who meet the Plan's criteria for same.
  • Employees: refer to the current Participation Agreement completed by your Employer.

Matching Contributions

  • In addition to any Retirement Contribution made to each eligible employee, the Employer may also choose to make a matching contribution on behalf of each eligible employee, equal to a specified percentage of pay that the employee defers as Elective Deferrals during a payroll period.
  • The amount of Matching Contributions, if any, will be made at a rate selected in advance by the Participating Employer and documented on their Participation Agreement.
  • The maximum match allowed is six percent (6%).
  • Employees: refer to the current Participation Agreement completed by your Employer.


  • Participating congregations/employers may, but are not required to, elect to “auto-enroll” employees, and withhold a specified percentage (ranging from 1-6 percent) of compensation as a pre-tax employee contribution.
  • Employees: refer to the current Participation Agreement completed by your Employer.

Employee Contributions

Employees must complete the Salary Reduction Agreement, see Forms below.

For calendar year 2015, employees may contribute up to $18,000 (plus $6,000 if they are eligible to make Catch-Up Contributions).

Catch-Up Contributions

  • If you are age 50, or will attain age 50 before the end of the calendar year, then you may elect to defer additional amounts to the Plan, called Catch-Up Contributions. These are additional amounts that you may defer regardless of any other limits imposed by the Plan. The limit for Catch-Up Contributions for 2015 is $6,000; therefore an employee contributing $18,000 in elective deferrals plus $6,000 in Catch-Up contributions may contribute a maximum of $24,000 in 2015.

If your Employer committed to Auto-Enrollment, ask them any questions you may have and review Auto-Enrollment and the Retirement Plan.


A Contribution Remittance Form must accompany all contributions sent to TIAA-CREF. Local Plan administrators/Treasurers/leaders may contact retirementplan [at] uua [dot] org to acquire the appropriate form and become established as the authorized remitter for your location.

  • Employees complete a Salary Reduction Agreement (PDF), in order to authorize that voluntary contributions be withheld from their wages and forwarded to TIAA-CREF.
  • Employer/Congregations keep a copy of the signed, dated Salary Reduction Agreement in the employee’s permanent personnel file.
  • Neither the UUA nor TIAA-CREF are to receive the Salary Reduction Agreement; the local employer administers the benefit.

For more information contact