I was recently asked “are church employees eligible for unemployment benefits?”
It is an interesting question because a lot of people don’t realize that “ Churches and religious organizations are not liable for FUTA
Let’s start by explaining what unemployment benefits are and who is eligible for them.
Unemployment benefits are available to workers who lose their job involuntarily because of reasons out of their control and meet basic state law eligibility requirements.
Unemployment benefits are administered at the state level and offer temporary financial help to workers who have lost their job and meet state law requirements.
Eligibility, unemployment benefit amounts as well as the length of time the benefits are available is determined on a state-by-state basis.
Most states fund the benefit by imposing an unemployment tax on employers – this is the tax that churches are exempt from.
States are not required to cover ministers or employees of churches or organizations operated and controlled by a church or religious organization such as church-run schools, conventions or association of churches that are operated for religious purposes.
Because these exempt organizations do not pay into the state for unemployment benefits, many states require a written notice be made to employees upon employment notifying them that wages earned will not be used to determine unemployment benefits.
Most employees who come to work for a church from a secular job may not be aware of these differences in church and religious organizations so ensuring they have this understanding at the beginning of their employment eliminates awkward conversations in the event of the occasional and inevitable firing of church staff.
You can get more information at the department of labor website.
Does your church have a process to provide the Employee Notice to employees when they are hired?
photo by: Heidi