LeaderLab

Salary Recommendations for Congregational Staff

By Jan Gartner

Six UU ministers stand together.

Compensation and Staffing Survey Happening Now!

Collecting information about actual staff compensation from congregations has been a longtime desire of our team. As we revise our approach to the UUA Salary Recommendations, learning more about current staffing and compensation in our congregations will help ensure that our recommendations are useful and realistic. It is critical for us to collect information from as many congregations as possible. Has your congregation completed our Compensation and Staffing Survey yet? Please respond by May 31, if possible, and no later than June 10.

Why We Offer Salary Recommendations

The UUA provides Salary Recommendations to assist you in offering appropriate pay to your employees. They should guide, but not limit, congregational compensation decisions. Our intent is to help you attract and retain excellent staff, as well to urge you to be a faithful employer—one whose compensation and other staffing practices align with your mission and values as a Unitarian Universalist congregation.

We are in the process of rethinking the UUA Salary Recommendations methodology and plan to introduce changes in the Fall of 2022 for the '23-'24 year. Follow along by signing up for Compensation and Staffing News.

Need Help?

We are here to help, as are your regional Compensation Consultants.

Salary Recommendations and Related Resources

Guide to Salary Recommendations

Our Guide to Salary Recommendations (PDF) will assist you in understanding and using the Salary Recommendations (see Salary Tables, below) in your specific context.

Capsule Job Descriptions

Capsule Job Descriptions (PDF) are brief job summaries for common staff positions in UU congregations, for use with UUA Salary Recommendations. Use the best-fit capsule description for each position, regardless of the job title in your congregation. (In some cases, it's appropriate to use a blend of two positions.)

​Geo Index Listing

 The Geo Index is based on cost of wages,not cost of living. However, we are now listing a congregation's cost of living, relative to the national average, alongside their Geo Index. More information about the Geo Index can be found in the Guide to Salary Recommendations (PDF).

UUA Salary Recommendations

New! Information for 2022-2023

  • Updated Salary Tables for 2022-2023 are posted below. A reminder that we did not revise our tables last year, so these are two-year adjustments. Salaries for most positions increased 3% from the '20-'21 tables. Salaries for positions on the Administration and Operations page were adjusted 4%, reflecting slightly more upward wage movement in these types of positions over the past two years than in wages as a whole.
  • Cost of living adjustment: Preservation of purchasing power is fundamental compensation principle. The third-quarter Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) increase from 2020 to 2021 was 5.3%. As you budget for staff salaries in the year ahead, consider that a 5.3% wage increase is needed to roughly maintain a typical employee's purchasing power.
  • A reminder about local wages: For many positions, understanding local wage norms is important. Additionally, although all UUA salary guidelines are consistent with the federal minimum wage, it is possible that some recommended salaries do not comply with all state and local wage laws. Please be aware of minimum or living wage laws in your area.
  • Process guidance: Compensation is about more than numbers. Your compensation policies and practices are a way of living your values. This Compensation Process Guidance page includes checklists, with links to relevant resources, to help you ground your compensation decisions in equity and transparency.

Recent Year Information

For 2021-2022, we did not post updated salary tables. Given the stresses and uncertainties of the pandemic and the challenges of using wage survey data in that moment, we kept salary recommendations at 2020-2021 levels, making clear that staff should still get raises. The cost of living adjustment factor was 1.2%, based on the third quarter CPI-U change from 2019 to 2020.

For 2020-2021, the recommended cost of living adjustment was 1.8%. Range midpoints and maximums on our salary tables increased between 2% and 6%, depending on position and congregational size. Minimum salaries for all positions and sizes were adjusted so that every minimum is at least 85% of its corresponding midpoint. This caused some range minimums to rise substantially. It also means that some "midpoints" are no longer the mathematical midpoint between the minimum and maximum. See Guide to Salary Recommendations (PDF) for explanation.

For 2019-2020 salary tables, we made a uniform adjustment of 1.8% to all positions at all sizes. In 2018-2019, a 4% adjustment was made across the board. 2017-2018 was a "catch-up year," in which we made no changes.

Salary Tables for 2022-2023

Salary Tables for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022

Although the PDFs say 2020-2021, these are valid through June 2022. Please see "Recent Year Information" above for more details. 

Ministerial Interns

For salary guidance on ministerial interns, see Guidelines for Ministerial Student Internships in the Internship Clearinghouse.

About the Author

Jan Gartner

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

For more information contact .