Tips and Resources on Compensation and Personnel Matters

Compensation and Staffing News
April 2018
Position Description Template

Are you envisioning a new staff position? Modifying an existing staff role? Reviewing position descriptions for all employees? Check out our new Position Description Template. It outlines the elements of a good position description, provides guidance for each section, offers examples from a variety of congregational positions, and includes links to further information. Stay tuned for sample position descriptions for particular roles.
Recordkeeping for Nonexempt Staff
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that protects workers by setting standards for minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth workers. (Some states/localities have stricter standards.) Each of your employees is classified as either exempt or nonexempt under this law, based on their wages and responsibilities. Nonexempt staff require more robust recordkeeping, and they receive overtime pay when they work over 40 hours in a week.

For every nonexempt employee, you must keep records of total hours worked each workday and each workweek. This requirement holds no matter if the staff member is full-time or part-time, and whether they have fixed hours or a variable schedule. Even if they are a salaried employee, rather than paid hourly (which is legal but often considered ill-advised for nonexempt staff), you have to maintain records of their actual daily and weekly hours. More than one UU congregation has found themselves on the losing side of a back pay lawsuit when they didn't have these records.

Start with the assumption that all of your employees are nonexempt (in other words, covered by FLSA provisions), and then determine who meets the criteria for an exemption. Are you aware of the requirements for the white-collar (executive, administrative, and professional) exemptions? Do you know about the "ministerial exception," which may apply to staff other than just ministers and does not have a salary threshold? Our Fair Labor Standards Act resources can help you understand exemptions and recordkeeping requirements, including an FLSA Compliance Guide that walks you through an assessment process. Please ignore references to the 2016 salary level threshold change.* Contact Jan Gartner,, with your questions.

*You may recall that a planned increase in the salary threshold for white-collar exemptions was halted by a court injunction in late 2016. The salary level remains $455/week. We are following this issue and will keep you posted.
Budgeting for Benefits

In many of our congregations, budgets are finalized in the spring for a fiscal year that starts in July. Summer is often the time for staff transitions, as well.

As you prepare for the coming year, have you taken into consideration potential changes to budget lines for staff benefits? A few questions to ask yourselves:
  • Are staff receiving raises? Be sure to budget for appropriate adjustments to their Life and Long-Term Disability premiums, as well as to their Retirement Plan contributions.
  • Are any staff going to have increased or decreased hours? This may change their eligibility for our insurance plans; employees who work at least 750 hours per year (about 15 hours/week) are eligible to participate. Regarding the Employer's Contributions to the Retirement Plan, remember, "Once eligible, always eligible." (So if an employee has begun receiving contributions, those will continue, even if their hours drop below the initial 1,000-hour Year of Eligibility Service threshold.)
  • Are any staff members coming up on the one-year anniversary of their date of hire? If they have worked 1,000 hours as of the one-year mark, they will at that point begin receiving Employer's Contributions to their Retirement Plan account, in keeping with the terms of your Employer Participation Agreement.
  • Do you anticipate any staff turnover? An incoming employee may choose to participate in the Health Plan, when their predecessor did not, or the new staff member will have a different premium because of their age or family configuration. With respect to the Retirement Plan, keep in mind that a new hire might have already satisfied the Year of Eligibility Service provision through a previous UU employer, in which case you'll begin remitting Employer's Contributions immediately.

As always, remember that benefits are only available to true employees - those who receive a W-2 form. Independent contractors (who get a 1099) cannot receive employee benefits.


Thank you for making our high-quality, values-based benefits available to your employees. In doing so, you have made a commitment to honoring the terms of our Plans. Having trouble keeping it all straight? Check out our Benefits Summary Chart for basic information about eligibility, enrollment, and requirements for each Plan. Then turn to our Benefits Tune-up Workbook to ensure that you have sound protocol in place for benefits administration. 


Jan Gartner | Compensation and Staffing Practices Manager |
 UUA Office of Church Staff Finances
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