Compensation and Staffing News
May 2019

In some email readers, you may need to click on continuation dots to read the entirety of each article.
Please Notify Us of Employee Changes
Changes in employee status and circumstances can affect insurance coverage. In the past, we asked you to email employee changes to us. We now have an Employee/Benefits Changes Form for reporting the following types of changes:

  • Employee termination/retirement
  • Transition to new congregation (Benefits Transition Form also required by employee.)
  • Employee income/salary updates (affects Life/Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurances and Long-Term Disability Insurance coverage)
  • Employee address changes (Can affect Health premiums. Will also update in Dental system.)
  • Employee Elective Drop of Coverage for self or dependents
  • Employee death

Have you gotten to know Tamika Mayes, our Insurance Plans Coordinator? Tamika handles billing and enrollment for all UUA insurance plans. (Fun facts about Tamika: she's a Game of Thrones fan and her favorite comic book is Spawn.) Tamika can be reached at for any billing or enrollment questions.
Moving Expense Payments are Taxable
As some professionals prepare for summer relocations, it bears repeating that moving expenses covered by the employer are now taxable income for the employee. (This is a change introduced through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.)

In other words, as far the IRS is concerned, moving expense payments look just like salary. The employee whose moving expenses have been covered by the congregation (either through direct payment or reimbursement) will owe income taxes on the amount. And, as with salary, Social Security/Medicare taxes also must be paid: ministers pay the full 15.3% (SECA), while for non-ministerial staff, the cost is split between employer and employee (FICA). Congregations are encouraged to gross up their reimbursement to include the amount of estimated taxes.
Staffing Levels and Congregational Size
We're interested in learning more about how membership numbers and budget relate to staffing levels.

Do you know the total staffing picture of your congregation? If so, please take a couple of minutes to fill in the shaded columns on this Congregational Staffing Info spreadsheet. Congregations are listed alphabetically by state and then by city. We're asking:
  • How many of your staff (ministerial and other) work full-time (35+ hours), year-round?
  • Adding up all of your staff (ministerial and other), how many FTEs (full-time equivalent staff) do you have? For positions of less than 35 hours, use 40 = 1 FTE. (Example: 2 full-time staff + 2 twenty-hour staff = 3 FTE.) Adjust for part-year staff as sensible, and do the best you can with staff members whose hours vary. If there is a business providing regular services as an independent contractor that could just as easily be a staff position (e.g., a custodial services business), include an estimate of those hours.
  • How many ministerial FTEs only? (Example: 1 full-time minister + 1 half-time minister = 1.5)

There is also a column for notes.

If someone else in your congregation is better equipped to respond, we hope you'll pass this along to them. (First check the spreadsheet – your congregation may have already provided information.) We are not looking for "perfection." Do your best. Questions? Contact Jan Gartner, Compensation and Staffing Practices Manager,
Alert from UUA IT Dept: Scammers Posing as Congregational Leaders
Several congregations have reported that their members or staff are receiving scam emails requesting gift card donations for a charitable cause. These emails may appear to come from your minister or other congregational leaders. We advise you to inform your members and staff about this scam and educate them on the official channels your congregation uses to accept donations.
The UUA has seen an increase in “phishing” attempts of all kinds. Phishing is a form of “social engineering” whereby a hacker with bad intentions sends an email (or text or phone call), pretending to be someone the recipient trusts, and asks the recipient to take an action which can have adverse effects. Sometimes, they request money. Other times, they invite the recipient to click a link or open an attachment that can trigger malicious code.
A good rule of thumb with emails you’re not expecting is to: (1) reach out to the sender through another channel (call, text, visit website) and (2) not click on a link (or send money, gift cards, etc.) or without clarifying from the trusted source.
For more on the gift card scam, see this Christian Post article.
UUA Office of Church Staff Finances
24 Farnsworth Street | Boston, MA 02210