Overtime Pay and Your Church

Questions have been coming to the National Office about overtime pay for church employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), though designed for businesses, also applies to churches and other ministries.

The Fall 2016 edition of The Deacon’s Bench, a newsletter from Brotherhood Mutual, does a thorough job of explaining how the FLSA applies to churches, especially regarding overtime pay. You can download that issue here.

The newsletter covers these areas:

  • Criteria for determining if the FLSA applies to your ministry.
  • Clergy members are not specifically exempted from the FLSA.
  • The three tests which determine whether or not an employee is exempt from the FLSA.
  • What the FLSA requires regarding overtime pay.
  • Penalties for violating the FLSA.
  • How to reduce your liability.

The newsletter explains a “ministerial exception” which “is intended to apply to pastors, ministers, or other employees who are ordained or who function in a similar religious capacity.” Five criteria are given for classifying someone as a minister.

  • Hired largely on the basis of religious criteria.
  • Authorized to perform church ceremonies.
  • Recognized by your ministry as a clergy member.
  • Engages in religious activities as part of the job.
  • Is required to follow a process such as licensing, ordination, etc.

The newsletter also discusses church record-keeping, and how the FLSA applies to educators.

We encourage you to download the newsletter

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