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Contributions to the Retirement Plan
Contributions to the Retirement Plan
Benefits & Compensation for Congregations

Effective January 1, 2018, the Elective Deferral limit will increase to $18,500.00 The age fifty Catch-Up contributions limit for 2018 has not changed from 2017: it remains $6,000.00. Elective Deferrals must not exceed 100% of your taxable income. Clergy Housing Allowance is used for qualifying clergy housing expenses and is not able to be deferred as an Elective contribution.

For tax year 2018, the 415 (c) annual contribution limit for defined contribution plans is $55,000.

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.

Low and moderate income earners may qualify for the Saver's Tax Credit, garnering a credit of up to one thousand dollars.

Read also: Eligibility and Participation.

Employer Contributions

  • The employer congregation must contribute the same percentage of compensation for each employee owed Retirement Contributions. 
  • Each Employer's Participation Agreement with the Plan Sponsor (UUA) documents key commitments the Employer has made. These include the percentage of Compensation the Employer has committed to contribute for each employee owed Retirement Contributions, whether the Employer provides Employer's Matching contributions, and other important details. Both the Employer and Employees should have a copy of the Agreement and have an annual conversation about this employee benefit plan.

Benefit Recommendation

The UUA Compensation and Benefits Recommendations call congregations to:

This recommendation for an employer contribution of a minimum of 10 percent may be met by a combination of offered employer contributions (base employer contribution and matching contribution) totaling at least 10 percent; the base employer contribution must be at least 5%.

Eligible employees are those who: have met the Plan's year of eligibility service requirement.

Understanding 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 Contributions to the Plan, and will be in addition to any other employer contributions (such as Matching) that the Employer makes to the plan.
  • Each Employer's Participation Agreement documents and governs the Employer's Contribution commitments of that employer.
  • Employees: refer to the current Participation Agreement completed by your Employer; more than 84% of participating employers in our plan provide an Employer's contribution of at least 10% (some through a combination of retirement and matching employer contributions).

Understanding Employer's Matching Contributions, if any

  • In addition to any Retirement Contribution made to each employee who is owed them, the Employer may also commit 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.

Understanding Auto-Enrollment, if offered

  • 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 Elective contribution.
  • Employers must inform their employees about how "Auto-Enrollment" works and obtain a signed Employee Contributions Agreement before implementing, since this feature involves reducing the amount of the employee's paycheck.

Employee Contributions

Employees must complete the Elective Contributions Agreement in order to authorize their employer to direct a portion of their earnings to the Plan, see Forms below.

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. See Elective Contribution form.


A Contribution Remittance Form must accompany all contributions sent to TIAA. 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 their location.

  • Employees complete an Elective Contributions Agreement, in order to authorize their Employer to withhold, pre-income-tax voluntary contributions from their wages and forwarded to TIAA.
  • Employer/Congregations keep a copy of the signed, dated Elective Contributions Agreement in their files and provide a copy to the employee.
  • Neither the UUA nor TIAA are to receive the Elective Contributions Agreement; the local employer administers the benefit, and does so for the sole benefit of their employees.

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