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.
  • Developmental 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. This document is provided in View Only mode. Please download to make edits.

For Non-Ministerial Hires

This Guide to Setting Terms of Employment is available to download from Google Docs as a beta version and is continuing to be fine-tuned. Please make use of it and send feedback to comp@uua.org. This is not a template for an employment agreement or a letter of hire, but it covers the important areas in which to establish shared understandings with new staff members.

A short letter of hire is often sufficient when bringing on a new employee. We have a section on Letters of Hire in our Guide to Setting Terms of Employment.

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 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 OCSF after serving as the Executive Director for a mid-sized UU congregation and, prior to that, pursuing a career in non-profit management focused on the performing arts....

Jan Gartner

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

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