We do our best to provide congregational leaders with information on federal labor laws, particularly those with payroll and/or tax implications. In order to confidently offer general information on personnel-related laws, we check in with our legal counsel as appropriate.
As time goes on, more states and localities are enacting workplace-related laws that go beyond federal requirements. According to the Summer 2019 issue of HR Magazine (from SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management):
- 29 states, Washington, D.C., and at least 40 local jurisdictions have established a minimum wage that's higher than the federal minimum.
- 11 states and over 20 municipalities require paid sick leave, with varying rules about accrual, carryover, and more.
- Seven states have passed pay equity legislation that transcends federal equal pay mandates.
And the list goes on.
It is beyond the scope of the Office of Church Staff Finances or Congregational Life (regional) staff to research –
and educate congregations about –
state and local laws. Not only are there simply too many to track, but some of them include exceptions for religious organizations and/or different rules for small employers. We have neither the person-power nor the expertise to provide solid guidance.
We strongly recommend that every congregation develop a relationship with an employment lawyer who can keep you abreast of laws in your area and help you interpret and apply them. Perhaps this can be arranged as a partnership with area congregations – UU or other?
When you ask us about legal and tax matters relating to personnel, we'll continue to give you (or point you toward) the best information we have. In responding to inquiries, we consistently remind leaders that we are not certified tax or legal professionals. More and more often, we're also advising people to find out whether state law comes into play. Thank you for understanding!