Tips and Resources on Compensation and Personnel Matters

Compensation and Staffing News
July 2018
Moving Expenses Reimbursed/Paid by Employer Now Taxable

In our March issue, we explained that moving expenses paid for or reimbursed by the employer are now treated as taxable income for the employee. Most job-related moves for congregational staff take place over the summer, so we wanted to remind you of the change (part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) and offer an additional resource: check out this short piece from Christianity Today.

Just to be clear, where the article says that pastors may ask their congregations to withhold funds and remit them to the government, they are talking about withholding income taxes, not FICA. The minister is able to shift withheld funds to SECA when they file their taxes. As stated in the article, congregations cannot remit Social Security/Medicare (FICA) taxes on behalf of ministers as they do for other employees. (See our Ministerial Compensation 101 and Ministerial Tax Status FAQ sheets.)
On Hiatus in August; Seeking Feedback in September
We won't be publishing an issue in August. Interested leaders can continue to subscribe, as well as access past issues, on the Office of Church Staff Finances Publications page.

Have some of your congregational leaders recently moved into staff support roles - e.g., board, personnel, or finance team members? Please recommend that they sign up for Compensation and Staffing News, along with your administrator, minister, and any staff member who supervises other employees.

When we return in September, we'll conduct a survey to see how well we are meeting your needs. We strive to reach the right people with the best information in the clearest fashion!
OCSF Briefs
There's a lot happening in the Office of Church Staff Finances! A few things to watch for in the months ahead:
  • We've been working on sample personnel policies that we hope to have ready to publish on our website in the fall.
  • We're accepting comments on a new draft of our Model Ministerial Agreement until September 21. You will find the draft and a cover letter (that highlights significant changes) on our Ministerial Transitions page. Send feedback to, with "Ministerial Agreement" in the subject line.
  • We're taking a fresh look at the methodology behind our salary recommendations and benefit guidelines. We'll be seeking input this fall. Stay tuned.
  • Being a great employer is about more than compensation! Thus we want to nest our Compensation Program within a larger "Excellent Employer" (working title) framework to help congregations in other key areas, such as onboarding new staff, supervision and feedback, team ministry, diversity and inclusion, and work-life balance. We're excited about this approach. More to follow!
  • Get ready for Benefits Tune-up Month 2.0, coming in October. Did you complete our Benefits Tune-up Workbook last fall? We got lots of great feedback on last year's Workbook. Look for the new and improved 2018 edition in late September.
  • Jan Gartner, Compensation and Staffing Practices Manager, is on sabbatical from July 7 through September 3. Other members of the Office of Church Staff Finances team can support you during this time. In addition, regionally-based Compensation Consultants are available to assist congregations with questions related to salaries and benefits. Compensation Consultants are trained and supported by our Office, and their services are always free of charge.
Jan Gartner | Compensation and Staffing Practices Manager |
 UUA Office of Church Staff Finances
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