Salary Recommendations for Congregational Staff

By Jan Gartner

Six UU ministers stand together.

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.

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 2021-2022

We will not be posting updated salary tables for 2021-2022. Given the stresses and uncertainties of this moment and the challenges of using wage survey data in this moment, we're holding salary recommendations at 2020-2021 levels for another year. Make no mistake– we aren't suggesting that salaries be held steady. To help you make good decisions about staff salaries in the coming year, we are providing:

  • A recommended cost of living adjustment factor of 1.2%: Preservation of purchasing power is a fundamental compensation principle. The third-quarter Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) increase from 2019 to 2020 was 1.2%. This is the roughly the wage increase needed to maintain the typical employee's purchasing power over the next year. As you budget for staff salaries in the year ahead, keep in mind that the first 1.2% of an employee's raise will go toward increased expenses.
  • Process guidance:Compensation is about more than numbers. Your compensation policies and practices are a way of living your values. This new Compensation Process Guidance page includes checklists, with links to relevant resources, to help you ground your compensation decisions in equity and transparency.
  • An updated Geo Index Listingwill be posted in November. Although salary charts are remaining unchanged, some congregations may see a change in their Geo Index.
  • A reminder about local wages: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.
Recent Year Information

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 2020-2021 and 2021-2022

Although the PDFs say 2020-2021, they are now valid through June 2022.

Salary Tables for 2019-2020

Ministerial Interns

For guidance on salaries for ministerial interns, see Salary Recommendations for Interns in the Internship Clearinghouse.

About the Author

Jan Gartner

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

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