If your church does not have unemployment insurance for employees, a redundancy package may be the right thing to do. Most people are surprised to learn that church employees are not entitled to unemployment benefits if they involuntarily lose their jobs. Anyone who has ever had to dismiss a Church employee understands the challenge of having a very difficult conversation. However, you can reduce the blow by creating a severance package that shows the love of Christ and helps close the job gap. For most churches, the need for such an advantage will be rare, but taking the time to at least consider will help you to be ready, if the need to use a compensation package ever. Identify your intentions. You want to determine the purpose of your ecclesiastical severance policy and when it should be used. You can decide, for example.B. that the dismissal should only be made after x number of documented attempts to resolve disputes with the employee concerned and that the dismissed employee will receive each year, served in the church, a severance pay paid x days/weeks. At Simms Showers, we have managed hundreds of such pastoral separations and have extensive experience in conducting churches through the legal and emotional implications of pastoral separation. Do not give up an experienced lawyer or try to use a pro bono or well-meaning lawyer who does not have much experience in ecclesiastical and religious employment cases.
Many churches and the Church leadership regretted such a decision. If we can help you in any way, let us know. While this is not a necessary benefit, it is sometimes the right thing to do, regardless of why a worker leaves his or her job. In any situation of pastoral separation, regardless of the cause or circumstances, the Church should consult an ecclesiastical and labour lawyer to design and execute a separation agreement between the outgoing priest and the Church. Since there are no two pastors or two equal churches, there are no two equal pastoral divisions. Simply put, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each situation will be unique. Determine what should be included in the package by setting your budget and checking the paid benefits the employee receives.
Often, the package includes full compensation, insurance premiums paid, the continuation of the contribution to the old-age pension and outsourcing benefits for the duration of the compensation contract. Determine the parameters of the employee`s severance pay. Is there a maximum amount of money that the Church will pay? Are they paid in lump sums or are the payments distributed? Will the Church stop paying if the employee finds a similar job elsewhere? Even with low unemployment, it takes time to find a job. Bridging this lack of compensation can be the difference between a struggling family or a smooth transition mandate. In the event of a consensual separation, the Church may have weeks or months to repair a well-developed agreement, a communication plan and an approach to the current supervision of the outgoing pastor. In other less friendly situations, the Church may not have that luxury. That is why we advise us to prepare ahead for the possibility of a pastoral separation. Spend a few weeks discussing some of these issues and where your leadership is in general. Talk to an experienced lawyer to develop a draft standard separation agreement that generally corresponds to their ecclesiastical culture, so that, in the worst case, you are ready to go faster.
A well-designed severance policy for your Church can make the difference between polite dismissal of pastoral staff and a bitter struggle that frustrates all parties. In the absence of an appropriate severance policy, you may even be exposed to legal action by angry employees. You want to be sure that your severance policy must protect the Church from as many legal issues as possible and take into account the needs not only of the Church, but also of collaborators.