Legal Compliance As An Employer

As an employer, the congregation is subject to federal, state, and local employment laws. Following the law is foundational to being in right relationship with your staff and, of course, ensures that you avoid fines and other penalties.

Employee or Independent Contractor

Each individual you compensate is either an employee or an independent contractor. This is a critical legal distinction, with implications for benefits, taxes, and more. Nearly all workers in our congregations are employees. The congregation, as employer, is responsible for appropriate payroll tax withholding and remittance.

Learn more about Employee vs. Contractor Status

Exempt or Non-Exempt

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that protects employees by establishing standards for a minimum wage, overtime, recordkeeping, and youth employment. Every employee needs to be classified as “exempt” or “nonexempt.” Make sure you are in compliance!

More on the Fair Labor Standards Act

Legal Requirements for Pay and Benefits Administration

There are several must-do's related to pay and benefits administration for which congregations are held legally responsible as employers.

Learn More About Legal Requirements for Pay & Benefits Administration

State-Specific Information

The Office of Church Staff Finances focuses on nationally consistent information. We advise congregations to establish a relationship with an area employment lawyer to provide counsel on state and local laws and regulations. We provide the resources below as a starting point for common personnel-related laws that differ by state. It is best to verify information through resources published by your state.

About the Author

Richard Nugent

Richard A. Nugent has directed the UUA Office of Church Staff Finances (OCSF) since August 2008. In that capacity, he leads a team managing the UUA’s retirement plan, national health plan, and other employee benefit plans. In addition, the OCSF serves as a HR resource to UUA member congregations...

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