Employment Agreements and Letters of Hire

two people signing documents on a table

Congregational traditions, governance structures, needs, and resources vary greatly among the approximately 1,100 UUA congregations. The templates published here are intended to assist leaders in drafting employment agreements and letters of hire that meet the needs of congregations and their employees. These documents are not intended to be legal advice. Congregational leaders and potential employees are advised to consult their own legal counsel to tailor the agreement to both to each congregation’s specific needs and to the employment laws of their state and locality.

UUA Congregational Life, Church Staff Finances, and Transitions staff are available to provide additional resources and answer questions. The UUA Office of Church Staff Finances continues to welcome suggestions for improving these documents. Please direct specific comments/recommendations to the Compensation Team by emailing comp@uua.org.

Model Ministerial Agreements

  • Settled Solo or Lead Ministers (PDF ) or Word document): This agreement is for congregations calling a full-time solo or lead minister. It has been drafted in consultation with UUA legal counsel, UUA staff including Congregational Life, Transitions, Human Resources, and Church Staff Finances, and UUMA leaders. All UUA congregations and UUMA members were invited to comment on the 2018 published version of this agreement. This summer 2021 version has been edited and reformatted primarily for clarity and ease of use.
  • Interim Ministers (PDF) or Word document): This agreement is for congregations hiring an interim minister. This agreement is derived from the settled minister agreement and was updated with formatting changes and other clarifications in March 2022.
  • Development Ministers (PDF)  or Word document): This agreement was first published in April 2022, with appropriate variations from the interim agreement.
  • Half-Time Ministers (Google Doc) : This draft agreement for half-time hired ministers was adapted by regional and Church Staff Finances staff from the 2018 version of the full-time settled agreement. It is intended as a starting point and has not been thoroughly vetted.

Additional Model Agreements

Additional agreements are under development and will be published here when they are complete. If you would like assistance with a particular employment question please reach out to the Compensation Team by emailing comp@uua.org.

Negotiated Resignations

If your congregation needs to negotiate your minister's resignation, contact your regional staff for an agreement template and other guidance.

Letters of Hire

In many situations, including for most non-clergy staff, a letter of hire is more appropriate than an employment agreement. While we do not provide a template for a letter of hire, we are working on a resource for hiring non-clergy. Contact us at comp@uua.org for a work-in-progress version.

Letters of Employment (Job Verification)

The purpose of a letter of employment is to confirm an employee's current job and salary for a prospective lender or landlord. The letter may be written by the employee, by their manager, or by an HR representative.

How to Write a Letter of Employment (Career Cloud)

Archived Ministerial Agreements

About the Authors

Sean Griffin

Sean is thrilled to be part of the Compensation Team after serving as Executive Director for a UU congregation in Maryland. Prior to that, he pursued a career in the performing arts working onstage, behind the scenes, and in multiple administrative roles....

Jan Gartner

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

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