Tips and Resources on Compensation and Personnel Matters

Compensation and Staffing News
August 2017
New Staff: Free, Online, Self-Guided Professional Development

You've recruited and hired a new professional staff member. The onboarding is done, with first-day paperwork complete and benefits enrollment in progress. (Perhaps you made use of our Onboarding Checklist and Benefits Summary Chart?) Your new employee is starting to dig into their job responsibilities. Now is the time for them to begin their professional development!

The world of religious leadership is complex and ever-changing. It's critical for staff to approach their work with a learning mindset, right from the start. Professional development is also a form of self-care, as evolving understandings and good collegial connections keep staff fresh and protect against burnout.

The PLUS Program (Professional Learning Units for Staff) is designed to nurture new staff into well-equipped, spirit-filled professionals who serve and lead in right relationship with their colleagues and congregation.  PLUS Program  units are a simple and effective way for staff to get in the habit of regular learning. Each unit can be completed in an hour or less. Most units include some reading (generally online), a connection with a person (within or beyond the congregation), and some questions to answer. There are currently 8 units, including Unitarian Universalism Differentiated Leadership , and Self-Care .
1 Employee Serving 2 Congregations: How Do Benefits Work?

It is increasingly common to find one individual employed part-time by two different UU congregations. Such arrangements can be wonderfully advantageous for both the staff member and the congregations. Benefits eligibility and administration get a little tricky, though. Here are the basics:

UU Organizations Retirement Plan
Linda Rose, UUA Retirement Plan Director, says, "When both employers ha ve an Employer Participation Agreement on file with my office, then the Hours of Service (d efined  in the Plan) worked concurrently OR consecutively at those Employers are to be aggregated when initially satisfying the Plan's Year of Eligibility Service provision (which makes an employee eligible for the Employers' contributions)." Once the employee becomes eligible for employer contributions, each congregation remits to TIAA the appropriate amount, based on the wages they pay and the terms of their own Employer Participation Agreement, just as they would for any employee.

UUA Insurance Plans (Health, Dental, Life, Long-Term Disability)
As with the Retirement Plan, both congregations must participate in the insurance plans in order for hours to be combined for eligibility purposes. But the administration works differently. UUA Insurance Plans Manager Patti Angelina explains that our billing service  can only bill one congregation for each participant. This means that the two employer-congregations must work together: one congregation receives and pays the invoice for the benefits based on the combined salaries from both, and the other congregation reimburses them for the appropriate portion of the charges.

Please contact the Office of Church Staff Finances with any questions. We're here to help!
Staffing for Diversity
Part I: Vision and Values

Interim Hiring Procedures have been put in place for the UUA, as an employer, in order to move us toward greater racial and cultural diversity in our staffing. The recently-appointed Commission on Institutional Change will be examining these procedures and evaluating our experience with them.

As we become more deliberate about making room for people of color in our own place of employment, some of you have asked for guidance about how you might similarly work on increasing the diversity of your staff. This is a multi-faceted topic, and we'll address various pieces of it in this publication over the next few months.

While you may be tempted to jump right into the nuts and bolts of job postings, personnel policies, and the like, we suggest starting on a more philosophical level. To begin your exploration, UUA Director of Multicultural Growth and Witness Taquiena Boston recommends the book, Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry, edited by Mitra Rahnema (Skinner House 2017). This book, one of two UUA 2017-2018 Common Reads, features the stories and perspectives of Unitarian Universalist religious professionals of color. Learning about and honoring their experiences may give you new insights into supporting staff and congregants of color. 

Additionally, Taquiena offers these reflection questions, which have been partially adapted from Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre's keynote at the 2013 Mosaic Makers Conference: Leading Vital Multicultural Congregations*:

1. What are the vision and values that motivate our congregation to hire a diverse staff?
2. What kind of diversity is already present in our staffing? (Examples: sex, gender expression/gender identity, ability, age, sexual identity, race, ethnicity, education)
3. How might our congregational/community culture support attracting and retaining diversity in our staff leadership? How might our congregation/community need to change? What are we willing to sacrifice to achieve this goal?

* Registration will be open very soon for the 2017 Mosaic Makers National Conference, taking place October 27 to 29 in San Diego.
Jan Gartner | Compensation and Staffing Practices Manager |
 UUA Office of Church Staff Finances
Subscribe to Compensation and Staffing News