Updated church staff salary recommendations and Geo Indices are now available on the UUA Office of Church Staff Finances website.

The UUA Salary Recommendations, effective for congregational years beginning July 1, 2012, received the approval of the UUA Compensation, Benefits, and Pension Committee earlier this month. They were developed through a process that included a comparable wage analysis using wage data obtained from three national sources – the most prominent of which is the Economic Research Institute (ERI). ERI uses census, federal wage surveys, and other wage data for their database. The UUA Salary Recommendations are heavily influenced by wages paid in the general economy – wages restrained by the ongoing recession.

At its recent meeting, the UUA Compensation, Benefits, and Pension Committee (CBPC) determined:

  1. Not to make any adjustments to the recommended pay levels for ministerial, religious educator, or musician positions except as noted below.  This should not be interpreted that salaries should be frozen.  The Office of Church Staff Finances urges congregational employers to review salaries annually and adjust for merit/performance and/or inflation.  In the period between adoption of the 2009 Salary Recommendations and the 2012 Recommendations, the national consumer price index increased 7.8 percent – the actual increased cost-of-living between December 2008 and January 2012. During calendar year 2009, the national Consumer Price Index increased 2.7 percent; during calendar year 2010, it increased 1.5 percent; and during 2011 it increased 3.0 percent.  This means that a congregational employee employed since 2009 who has received no salary increase has experienced a reduction in his/her buying power of almost 8 percent.
  2. A new position, Religious Education Coordinator, has been included in our recommendations. This position is comparable to the existing Volunteer/Membership Coordinator positions. We understand that the Religious Educator Coordinator position provides administrative rather than curriculum support to religious education programs.
  3. The Committee has also included recommendations for a Credentialed Music Director and Credentialed Choir Director. These recommendations are 5 percent above the recommended salary for a non-credentialed Music or Choir Director.
  4. The Committee considered adding a position of Executive Director, but decided that additional information was needed before doing so. The Office of Church Staff Finances will work with the Association of Unitarian Universalist Administrators to gather the additional information requested by the CBPC.
  5. The Committee did increase compensation for several administrative positions including Business Administrator, Congregational Administrator, Office Administrator, and Office Assistant. An increase was also adopted for the Membership/Volunteer Coordinator position and for Custodians.

Fair Compensation

The UUA Fair Compensation Principles encourages congregations to compensate all staff within the salary ranges developed by the Office of Church Staff Finances and approved by the UUA Compensation, Benefits, and Pension Committee. For ordained clergy, the salary is comprised of salary and housing. In addition, all staff should also have access to a full array of employee insurance plans and retirement benefits subject to eligibility based on hours worked.

Information about the UUA Fair Compensation Standards, salary recommendations, and geo index information can be found at:  http://www.uua.org/careers/compensation/fair/index.shtml

Geo Indices

The UUA Salary Recommendations are adjusted for congregational size and geographical location. The Office of Church Staff Finances (OCSF) assigns one of five Geo Indices to each congregation using wage data compiled by the Economic Research Institute (ERI). Geo Index 3 represents wages near the national average. Geo Index 3 wages range from 97 to 102.9 percent of the national average. Because wages exceed 115 percent of the national average in some urban areas, the UUA Compensation, Benefits, and Pension Committee expanded the number of Geo Indices from five to seven levels. To enable congregations located in Geo Indices 6 or 7 to budget accordingly, the effective date for implementation of the Geo Index 6 and 7 recommendations is delayed until July 1, 2013.

District Compensation Consultants

To assist congregations, the UUA offers the services of District Compensation Consultants. These UUA volunteers are available to consult with congregational leaders to discuss compensation-related expectations and challenges. There is no cost to the congregation for this service. The list of District Compensation Consultants can be found at: (http://www.uua.org/documents/mpl/finances/comp_roster.pdf).

Future Initiatives

In the coming year, the Office of Church Staff Finances will request all congregations to submit an annual “Staffing and Compensation Report.” The information derived from this initiative will be shared with participating congregations. In addition, the OCSF, in consultation with an outside consultant, will review the underlying methodology used to derive our salary recommendations and geo indices. We welcome suggestions on how to improve the UUA Fair Compensation program. Address suggestions to Betsy Gabriel, the UUA Compensation Programs Coordinator, at BGabriel@uua.org or to Richard Nugent, the UUA Church Staff Finances Director, at: Rnugent@uua.org.



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