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Providing generous benefits for church employees is part of a strategy that is used to attract and retain key employees.
Benefits vary greatly by the organization and can be as simple as health insurance for church employees to as complex as flexible work schedules or on-campus daycare.
Benefit packages come in many shapes and sizes, depending on the industry and the organization’s size.
The larger the organization, the more expanded and diverse the benefits become. In contrast, smaller organizations often lack the resources to offer expanded benefits packages – not to mention the manpower to administer them.
Employee benefits packages require a designated person to administer them and maintain employee file records.
Employees frequently participate in funding a percentage of insurance premiums, while the percentage of cost participation varies by organization.
Following are some examples of benefits that are used in other industries. Many come with a cost, but some simply help provide a great work environment.
Example Church Employee Benefits
1. Paid Time Off
Most organizations offer some paid time off benefits. It may be vacation hours, sick hours, holiday hours, or PTO – which is a combination of all three.
The advantage of a PTO-specific benefit is its flexibility.
2. Birthday Holiday
Some organizations offer employees a day off with pay to celebrate their birthdays. This allows employees to enjoy their special day away from work.
3. Personal Day
A personal day is a benefit that allows employees to take a day off for no reason at all. Employees may use this as a mental health day, a day at the spa, or for no reason.
4. Jury Duty Pay
Jury duty is a civic obligation – most adults will get called to serve.
Every jurisdiction is different, but most only pay a nominal fee that does not come close to a day’s wage. A benefit that some organizations offer is a day (or days) with pay when serving on a jury.
5. Clergy Sabbatical
A Clergy Sabbatical is a great way for ministers to recharge and refocus on the call. Some churches offer a paid Sabbatical for their clergy.
This paid time away from the church can benefit the employee and the church they serve.
Insurance is a standard benefit that most organizations provide for employees. Here are typical insurance benefits.
Insurance benefits are typically cost-shared with employees. For instance, it is common for the employer to pay 75% and employees pay 25% of the benefit-cost.
7. Tuition Reimbursement
Professional development is an essential aspect of preparing for the next leadership level.
Tuition reimbursement is a benefit employees can use further to develop their education, skills, and knowledge.
This continuing education of employees helps the organization because students return to the work environment and immediately use those newly acquired skills.
8. Matching Retirement Contributions
Employers want to help employees prepare for retirement by offering retirement benefits.
To encourage employees to participate, many organizations will match (up to a certain percentage) an employee’s contribution to their retirement account.
9. Discounts on Area Attractions
Many public attractions offer employer discounts. Seek out those venues that cater to family events and learn about group discounts.
10. Employee Assistance Programs
Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) help employees through challenging times.
Whether the challenge is financial, marital, or merely coping with life, these benefits can provide employees with resources to help them through these difficult seasons in life.
11. Health and Wellness Programs
Employee wellness programs encourage employees to focus on health.
These programs can teach employees the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and provide tools to help them achieve their health goals.
12. Discounts to Workout Facilities
Many of the popular gyms will offer employer discounts. This incentivizes employees to grab tennis shoes and invest in their physical health.
13. Cell Phone Discount
Most cell phone providers now offer employee discounts on cell phone and data plans. This allows employees to receive a discounted rate on smartphones and data.
14. Flexible Work Schedules
The covid pandemic changed how we all work and accelerated the use of remote work. This option can allow employees to work a percentage of their time away from the office.
15. On-site Daycare
On-site daycare is typically seen in larger organizations. However, if your church has a preschool or daycare, it could benefit employees.
16. Bring Your Pet to Work
Many employees have pets. Some organizations host a bring your pet to work day, while others allow employees to bring their pets daily.
There are pros and cons to this, but it can be a popular benefit if many employees have a beloved, well-behaved pet.
However, before you launch a pet program, create and communicate the policies for bringing animals on campus.
17. Housing Allowance
Staff who qualify for this benefit may be eligible for a housing allowance that can provide some tax benefits and help cover housing expenses.
Things to remember when creating a benefits package:
The cost of benefits is a significant portion of a church’s budget. A comprehensive compensation package and the total value of the package should be presented to a job candidate at the time of the job offer.
For instance, share those costs when hiring new employees.
Higher-level employees often receive increased benefits that coincide with the employee’s level of responsibility. For example, the Executive Pastor may be entitled to more vacation days because of his job responsibilities.
Great Benefits Can Be a Double-Edged Sword
A generous benefits package will help to attract and retain great employees. However, if benefits are too rich, they can retain employees for the wrong reason. Employees who may have the desire to move on to another job may stay merely for the benefits.
This scenario can result in an undercurrent of disgruntled employees who are frustrated that they want to leave but can’t because of their dependence on the rich benefits package.
So how do you balance the two?
Benchmark Other Churches
Most organizations will share benefits information. Take the time to benchmark other churches or like organizations.
For example, you may want to contact neighboring churches or your denomination for benefit comparisons.
This step will help you find out what others offer their employees.
A good rule of thumb is to have good benefits but maybe not the best among your peers – while maintaining the ability to flex the benefits to attract desired employee candidates.
Use Structure to Manage Employees
Use a structured process to manage performance appraisals to maintain top employee performance.
- Use professional development programs to prepare employees for higher levels of responsibility.
- Rewarding employees for their contributions is what a benefits package is all about.
A generous benefits package can help recruit great employees to help churches achieve ministry objectives and their mission!
What kinds of benefits do you offer your employees?
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