Compensation Process Guidance

Compensation is about more than numbers. Your compensation policies and practices are a way of living your values. Use these checklists, with links to relevant resources, to help you ground your compensation decisions in equity and transparency.

For an excellent, concise read on organizational justice, including distributive and procedural justice within a place of employment, we recommend A Just Workplace is More Than Just a Workplace, by Maria Teresa Gastón, Faith & Leadership.

Process Guidance for Salaries

Equity spelled on Scrabble tiles


_____ We have completed the UUA's Payroll Administration Checklist (PDF) (or in Word) within the past year.

_____ We pay all staff at least the living wage for our locality. (See MIT Living Wage Calculator. Use 1 adult, 0 children.)

_____ We are aware of UUA Salary Recommendations and also keep abreast of local wage norms for positions typically hired locally.

_____If UUA salary charts are used, we do our best to make appropriate use of the ranges, moving well-performing staff to midpoint and beyond over time. (See Guide to Salary Recommendations (PDF).)

_____ We have a unified process for determining salary increases for all employees (i.e., not a separate process for the minister) and are clear and transparent with staff about that process.

_____ We strive to ensure that, at a minimum, across-the-board staff raises keep up with cost of living increases. (The UUA publicizes the year-over-year 3rd quarter CPI-U change in the late fall. From 2019 to 2020, the increase was 1.2%.)

_____ We are tracking the ratio of highest to the lowest wage paid to our employees on a per-hour basis. (Some organizations use the ratio of the highest to the median.) Monitoring this wage ratio over time helps ensure that lower-paid employees, who generally have less leverage, get appropriate pay increases.

_____ We have a process in place to check for salary alignment across the staff team. (This means comparing salaries with each other, taking into account relevant differences such as role and experience.)

_____ We have a process for reviewing salaries to avoid potential bias (e.g., gender, race) and are aware of state laws relating to pay equity. (See Wage Gaps are Real and They Cost Us All, from DiversityJobs, and our Staffing for Diversity page in LeaderLab.)

New Hires

_____ We post a salary minimum or a range in all position advertisements.

_____ We do not ask job candidates for salary history. (Doing so is illegal in some states.) See Stop Asking Job Candidates for Their Salary History.

_____ In discussing salary with applicants, we are transparent about how salaries are determined and how the salary for their position lines up with any used for reference (UUA Salary Recommendations or other).

_____ We are transparent with each new hire about our process for determining annual salary increases.

Process Guidance for Benefits

For All Congregations Providing Benefits

_____ We have reviewed UUA Benefit Recommendations for guidance about levels of benefits.

_____ We have developed consistent benefit policies that apply across the whole staff team (ministers and others).

_____ Our benefit policies are clear and transparent to all staff.

_____ We have strong administrative systems in place to ensure proper administration of benefits, including training and backups.

_____ In conversations with job applicants, we share what benefits we offer, including accurate information about the benefit level and the cost to the employee.

For Congregations in UUA Benefits

Reminder: Eligibility criteria for UUA benefit plans are set by plan rules, not by congregational policy.

_____ We have completed the Benefits Tune-up Workbook within the past year to ensure that we are providing UUA benefits in compliance with Plan rules (legal must-do's).

_____ We regularly remind all staff that they can make elective contributions to their UUA Retirement Plan account (regardless of hours or length of service).

_____ We remind eligible staff of Open Enrollment in November for UUA Health and Dental plans.

About the Author

Jan Gartner

Jan is passionate about helping congregations live out their values within their walls!...

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