Employee Handbook Policies


It's important for your church to clearly communicate expectations and guidelines. That's why I strongly recommend that you create written policies for the things that matter most. And, these policies should be included in an up-to-date Employee Handbook that is available to everyone on staff.


At a minimum, I recommend that your church consider having policies for the things listed below. Included in each section is the policy that I have implemented at my church. Feel free to use and/or modify these policies for your own church.

  • General Policies


    Attire

    Our church staff should dress in such a way that their appearance in the office and when we gather for worship on Sundays is neat, clean, professional, modest, and in congruence with our style. When deciding what to wear throughout the week, please be mindful of your day. For example, if you have important meetings one day, dress appropriately for those meetings. 


    Please remember that ministry can be unpredictable. So, it is important to dress in a way that would be acceptable for any circumstance (unscheduled meeting with a church member, unexpected hospital visit, etc.). 


    Childcare 

    (YOUR CHURCH NAME) does not offer childcare for any of our employees. To avoid unnecessary distractions in the office, we ask that you please refrain from bringing your child(ren) to work unless: 

    1. It is a national Bring Your Child To Work Day. 
    2. The person who normally watches your child(ren) is sick and you were unable to find a replacement with such short notice. 


    Please note, if your child is sick, this is not an approved reason to bring them to work with you. If your child is too sick to be in childcare/daycare/school, then they are too sick to be in our office as well. In this situation, please use sick time to focus on your child’s health, or work from home if absolutely necessary. 


    Weather Closings 

    In the event of severe or inclement weather, the Lead Pastor will decide whether or not to close the office. If the decision is made to close, every employee will be immediately notified. If you have not heard anything regarding our office being closed, you should assume that the office is open.


    Church Credit Cards 

    (YOUR CHURCH NAME) provides church credit cards to staff members only. Volunteers who manage a church budget and need to spend church money must use their own personal accounts for these expenses and request reimbursement with a check request form (these forms are located in the church office). Please note, in order to receive reimbursement, necessary receipts must be attached. 


    If a staff member chooses to let someone else use their church credit card, they do so at their own risk. The staff member is ultimately responsible for making sure that the expenses meet the guidelines laid out in our spending policy and that all receipts are turned in promptly. 


    Church Email 

    Church email accounts that include a person’s name (for example, yourname@yourchurchdomain.com) are only given to staff members, elders, deacons, and our CFO. If a volunteer is leading a specific ministry and needs an email address on our domain, we will consider giving them a ministry specific email address and have it forward to their personal email account. 


    Social Media 

    All staff members are expected to use their personal social media accounts wisely. Please keep in mind that everything you say, share, and like on social media can be seen by others. To ensure that our social media accounts do not cause harm to our church, we hold ourselves to a higher standard and ask that all employees use their social media accounts for good, putting forth every effort to unify, uplift, and encourage. 


    Conduct 

    We desire to have a work environment that promotes teamwork and unity. Please do not do anything that compromises this (such as insubordination, having a poor work ethic, doing anything unethical, immoral, or illegal, etc.). 


    Lead By Example 

    As a staff member of (YOUR CHURCH NAME), we ask that you help us lead by example in all ways. For example, if we ask our people to attend a church-wide event, we want you to attend that event as well. If we ask our people to join a Missional Community, we want you to join a Missional Community as well. If we ask our people to give, we want you to give as well. Simply put, we should never ask our people to do something that we are not willing to do. As leaders of our church, please help us lead by example. 

  • Work Schedules & Attendance Policy


    In an effort to protect staff unity and create an atmosphere of clarity, we are providing the following guidelines about work schedules and attendance. 


    Full-Time Work Schedule

    Under normal circumstances, our full-time employees are expected to work at least 40 hours per week (assuming no PTO is being used). It is the employee’s responsibility to manage their time properly and honestly. Below are the minimum expectations for the different days of the week. 


    Sundays: Sundays are a workday. However, our employees are not expected to be in the office on Sundays. Rather, this is a day that we spend with our church family in worship and in our Missional Communities. All full-time employees are expected to be on the church campus from 8:15 AM – 12:15 PM on Sunday mornings, and they are expected to be in a Missional Community at some point throughout the week (most groups meet on Sunday evenings). 


    Mondays – Thursdays: Every week, our church office is open Monday – Thursday from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM. As a result, all full-time employees are expected to be working during this time. You can start your day as early as you want, as long as you begin working by 9:00 AM. And, you can end your day as late as you want, as long as you work until at least 3:00 PM. Simply put, we should be working when our office is open. If you are away from the office for any reason (such as a ministry meeting, shopping for ministry supplies, etc.), please be sure to update your calendar so that everyone on our staff is aware. 


    Fridays – Saturdays: Since our regular workweek is Sunday – Thursday, our weekends are Friday – Saturday. We encourage you to intentionally rest during this time, enjoying time with your family and friends.


    Example Workweek

    To help you think through your hours, here is a hypothetical 40-hour workweek: 

    • Sunday: 6 hours (8:15 AM – 12:15 PM, and 2 hours for Missional Community) 
    • Monday: 8.5 hours (8:30 AM – 5:00 PM) 
    • Tuesday: 8.5 hours (7:00 AM – 3:30 PM) 
    • Wednesday: 8.5 hours (9:00 AM – 5:30 PM) 
    • Thursday: 8.5 hours (7:30 AM – 4:00 PM) 
    • TOTAL: 40 hours


    We realize some weeks you will work more hours and/or different hours than this. 


    Part-Time Work Schedule

    Part-time employees are expected to work their agreed-upon schedule. Each week, they must submit a timesheet through our HR system to verify hours. Unless they are on an approved trip, they should never exceed 40 hours in a week. 


    Attendance Policies

    Flex Time

    Flex Time allows our employees to alter their normal arrival and departure time. If you know that you have an evening meeting on a particular day, you are welcome to flex your time. For example, if you normally work from 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM, but have an upcoming meeting that will last until 7:00 PM, you can flex your start time to account for the late meeting. So, on this particular day, you could work from 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM and still work the same number of hours. Please note, our desire is that Flex Time will be proactive, not reactive. 


    Recovery Days

    If an employee leads a trip that takes them away from home, they are automatically approved for 1 recovery day for every 5 days/4 nights they are away. Recovery days must be used within a week, and they cannot be banked for future use. For good communication, please put recovery days on your calendar so that everyone is aware of your schedule. 


    Work From Home

    Working from home is a privilege that we extend in certain circumstances. In order to work from home, it must be for one of the reasons listed below: 

    • Sermon Prep: Our pastors are allowed to work from home if they need distraction-free time for sermon prep. 
    • Sickness: If you or one of your kids isn’t feeling well, it is best to use sick time to focus on your health or your kid’s health. However, if you have time-sensitive work to complete, you can work from home if necessary. 
    • Geographical: If you have a ministry meeting close to home on a particular day, it might be a better use of your time to start or end your day at home so that you don’t waste time driving between locations. 
  • Paid Time Off Policy


    We offer PTO in two different ways: Personal Time and Sick Time. We keep these two categories separate so that you can properly take care of your health without it affecting your personal time away from the office. 


    Personal Time

    Personal Time can be used for any reason. Whether you are planning a family vacation, or you just want to sit at home and watch movies all day, these days are yours to use however you want. And since our PTO does not roll over, we encourage you to use all of your available Personal Time each year. Any unused time will be lost when the new year begins and our PTO balances reset. 


    Personal Time Balance

    • YearsFull-time / Part-time 
    • 0-4 years / 2 weeks / 2 weeks
    • 5-9 years / 3 weeks / 3 weeks
    • 10-14 years / 4 weeks / 3 weeks
    • 15+ years / 5 weeks / 3 weeks


    For our full-time employees, one week equals 40 hours. For our part-time employees, one week equals the number of hours you are scheduled to work each week. When requesting Personal Time, you can make your requests in half-day or full-day increments. 


    If an employee is scheduled to work on Sundays, they can only request off one Sunday per week of approved time off. For example, if you currently get 3 weeks of Personal Time each year, you can only miss 3 Sundays each year. 


    Personal Time may be negotiated at the time of hiring. If a different balance was approved for you, our HR system will show the agreed upon balance in your profile.


    Sick Time

    Sick Time can only be used to take care of your health or the health of an immediate family member. Whether you are sick at home with a stomach virus, or you need to take your child to the doctor for a well-child visit, these days are available for your health-related needs. 


    Sick Time Balance

    To properly take care of our team, we currently give each employee 2 weeks of Sick Time each year. For our full-time employees, one week equals 40 hours. For our part-time employees, one week equals the number of hours you are scheduled to work each week. When requesting Sick Time, you can make your requests in half-day or full-day increments, depending on the need. 


    Workweek & Weekends

    For our full-time employees, the workweek is Sunday-Thursday, and the weekends are Friday-Saturday. If your PTO request causes you to miss a workday, your PTO balances will be charged. However, Fridays and Saturdays will not count against you, nor will holidays. 


    For our part-time employees, the workweek is specific and unique to your position. If your PTO request causes you to miss a day that you are normally scheduled to work, your PTO balances will be charged. However, the days that you are not scheduled to work will not count against you, nor will holidays. 


    Holidays

    • Birthday / Birthday Month / 1 day
    • New Year’s Day / January / 1 day
    • Easter / March or April / 1 day
    • Memorial Day / May / 1 day
    • Independence Day / July / 1 day
    • Labor Day / September / 1 day
    • Thanksgiving / November / 2 days
    • Christmas / December / 2 days


    The holidays listed above may or may not be given on the day of the holiday. 


    Requesting Time Off

    To request time off, please submit a request through our HR system at least two weeks in advance. A request could be denied if: 

    • It conflicts with strategic events at the church or interferes with your job. 
    • It is your turn to serve during a holiday. 
    • It causes you to exceed your PTO balances. 
  • Bereavement Policy


    In the event of a death of an employee’s family member or a close friend, the employee will be allowed paid time off in order to assist with arrangements and/or attend the funeral. To provide clarity in a difficult time, this policy is being provided to explain how much time is available for bereavement: 


    Relationship & Time Off

    • Spouse: 3 weeks
    • Child: 3 weeks
    • Parent: 2 weeks
    • Brother/Sister: 2 weeks
    • Grandparent: 1 week
    • Grandchild: 1 week
    • Uncle/Aunt: 1 week
    • First cousin: 1 week
    • Father/Mother-in-law: 1 week
    • Son/Daughter-in-law: 1 week
    • Brother/Sister-in-law: 1 week
    • Close friend and unlisted in-law (out of town): 3 consecutive days
    • Close friend and unlisted in-law (local): 1 day


    If additional time is needed/desired, personal time can be requested through our HR system. 


    When a death occurs, please be sure to communicate this information to our Executive Pastor and anyone else who might be affected by your absence. Also, please be sure to update your calendar so that everyone is aware of which days you will be away from the office. If you are scheduled to lead something during the time you will be away (such as a Bible study, a Missional Community, or a ministry meeting), please be sure to find a replacement or reschedule the meeting. 

  • Mileage Reimbursement Policy


    At (YOUR CHURCH NAME), we are pleased to offer mileage reimbursement to all of our employees at the standard rate determined by the IRS for business miles. 


    In order to receive reimbursement, the following criteria must be met: 

    • The employee must properly plan for mileage reimbursement in their ministry budget every year. 
    • The miles must have a business purpose for the church. 
    • The employee must submit a monthly report of the miles to our Financial Secretary. This report must show the date of the trip, the destination(s), the purpose of the trip, and the total miles driven. 
    • The employee cannot include their daily commute. However, if the employee attempts to save the church money by starting their day at home and then driving business miles for the church (for example, to an offsite meeting that is close to home or to do ministry shopping), those miles can be included on this report. 
    • If an employee needs to drive outside of the (YOUR CITY) area, this trip must be approved at least two weeks in advance by the Executive Pastor. A cost analysis will be completed to determine if it is better stewardship to drive a personal vehicle or to rent a vehicle. 
    • Since our church offers mileage reimbursement, employees should never use their church credit card to gas up their personal vehicle. Doing so would be double-dipping. The only time that a church credit card should be used to purchase gas is when a vehicle has been rented.
  • Spending Policy


    At (YOUR CHURCH NAME), our desire is to operate with responsible budgets, faithful stewardship, ethical business practices, and full accountability so that the financial integrity of our church remains above reproach. As a result, every employee should follow the guidelines below when spending church money. 


    Questions to ask yourself

    When spending church money, please ask yourself the following questions: 

    1. Is this a ministry expense for our church? 
    2. Is this a budgeted expense? 
    3. Are there still funds available for spending in this budget category? 


    If you answered “yes” to the questions above, then under normal circumstances and assuming we are on track to meet budget, you are good to proceed with that expense. However, if you answered “no” to any of the questions above, this might not be an approved expense. Before proceeding, please discuss this expense with the Executive Pastor. 


    Also, if this expense is coming from someone else’s budget, the same three questions apply, but you also need to discuss this expense with that person in advance to ensure that they can afford it and that they approve the expense. 


    Methods of payment

    When spending church money, please only use the following forms of payment: 

    • Church credit card
    • Check request


    For your protection and the protection of our church, please avoid using cash unless it is absolutely necessary (for example, if you are on a global mission trip and it is your only option for payment).


    Money-transfer apps (such as Venmo, Zelle, Cash App, etc.) are not approved for ministry expenses. These services do not currently provide adequate transaction details for our record keeping. If, in a rare circumstance, a money-transfer app is necessary, it must be approved in advance by the Executive Pastor. 


    Receipts

    Every expense for the church must have a receipt (whether on paper or digital). To help our Financial Secretary keep our records up-to-date, please turn in your receipts at least once per week. You can submit your receipts through Expensify, or by emailing your receipts directly to our Financial Secretary. If you lose a receipt, please complete a “Lost Receipt” form, which can be found in our church office. 


    Rewards

    With our church credit cards, we have the potential to earn cash back rewards with every purchase. If you have earned rewards on your card, please know that those rewards are not personal rewards, but rather church rewards that should be used for ministry purposes at (YOUR CHURCH NAME). 


    Mistakes

    If you accidentally use your church credit card for a personal expense, please let our Financial Secretary know as soon as possible so that our records can be corrected. You will also be asked to reimburse the church for this expense. To have a proper paper trail, please write a personal check made payable to (YOUR CHURCH NAME). If you don’t have personal checks, please use your bank’s online bill pay to mail a check to the church. 

  • Family Leave Policy


    At (YOUR CHURCH NAME), we are pleased to offer a Family Leave Policy for all of our employees. Even though FMLA does not apply to our church since we have less than 50 employees, our desire is to voluntarily take care of our team and provide clarity in a stressful, yet joy-filled time. 


    Maternity Leave

    (YOUR CHURCH NAME) is pleased to offer paid maternity leave to all of our female employees when they are adding to their family through birth or adoption. 

    • Regular birth: 6 weeks of paid maternity leave, followed by 6 weeks of the ability to work from home if desired/needed, for a total of 12 weeks. 
    • Cesarean birth: 8 weeks of paid maternity leave, followed by 4 weeks of the ability to work from home if desired/needed, for a total of 12 weeks. 
    • Adoption (if the child is under 5 years old): 6 weeks of paid maternity leave, followed by 6 weeks of the ability to work from home if desired/needed, for a total of 12 weeks. 
    • Adoption (if the child is 5 years old and older): 2 weeks of paid maternity leave, followed by 1 week of the ability to work from home if desired/needed, for a total of 3 weeks. 


    Paternity Leave

    (YOUR CHURCH NAME) is pleased to offer paid paternity leave to all of our male employees when they are adding to their family through birth or adoption. 

    • All circumstances: 2 weeks of paid paternity leave, followed by 1 week of the ability to work from home if desired/needed, for a total of 3 weeks. 


    Foster Care

    (YOUR CHURCH NAME) will offer paid leave for foster care needs. However, every situation is unique and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to properly understand the details and meet the needs of the family.


    Additional Time

    If additional time is desired/needed beyond what is provided above, the employee is able to request PTO. If the employee does not have any available PTO, they can discuss the option of unpaid leave with the Executive Pastor. 


    Special Circumstances

    In the event of special circumstances (such as a premature delivery, a special needs child, a complex international adoption, etc.), additional steps may be taken to help your family. If this happens, please discuss your circumstances with the Executive Pastor. 

  • Grievances Policy


    At (YOUR CHURCH NAME), we value unity. Our desire is to see our employees handle staff conflict (both personal and professional) in a biblical way. As a result, we ask that all staff members please follow the steps given to us in Matthew 18: 


    [15] "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. [16] But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. [17] If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17 ESV) 


    To summarize, here are the steps you should follow to resolve conflict: 

    1. Consistent with Matthew 18:15, the first step in addressing any issue is to go directly to the other person and discuss it privately. In many cases, this is the only step that will be necessary to fully resolve an issue. 
    2. If going to the other person privately is not successful, Matthew 18:16 instructs you to bring someone else with you. For the sake of professionalism, please ask the Executive Pastor to join you in this meeting. If that is not possible, please ask the Lead Pastor or an Elder. 
    3. If the first two steps do not resolve the issue, Matthew 18:17 explains that the issue should be brought before the church. At (YOUR CHURCH NAME), that means that the issue would be brought before the Elders for further discussion and prayer. 


    Please note, under no circumstance is it acceptable to ever discuss staff conflict with other staff members who are not involved, or with people who attend our church. This compromises unity and will be addressed immediately. 

  • Remote Work Policy


    In 2020, our nation experienced a unique challenge when the government-mandated lockdowns began due to COVID-19. Since that time, every business and organization, including churches, have had to create plans for how to continue operating properly when we are unable to safely gather together in-person. In the event of another government-mandated lockdown, here is our plan for working remotely: 


    Work Schedules

    Our desire is to keep everyone’s work schedules the same. Even though we won’t be in the office, please do your best to still honor our Work Schedules & Attendance Policy. 


    Staff Meetings

    While working remotely, our staff meetings will go from monthly to weekly. Everyone will connect together virtually on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 AM. The Executive Pastor will set up the meeting and send out the meeting invitations. 


    Phones

    Since we won’t be in the office while we are working remotely, please be sure to set your office phone to “Available: Home Office” so that your calls will ring on your mobile phone. Also, please check your office voicemail daily. 


    Mail

    Our Office Manager will stop by the church daily to check the mail and look for packages that have been delivered. If you receive something, you will be notified. 

  • Trip Policy


    Here at (YOUR CHURCH NAME), our desire is to have a culture that encourages our team to serve others. As a result, we have created a simple Trip Policy to provide clarity when trips are being organized and you have the opportunity to serve. 


    Our Trip Policy

    As a simple way to bless our team, each staff member can serve on one church trip (mission trip, family ministry trip, etc.) every year without using any PTO. 


    If you would like to serve on more than one trip in a calendar year, please make sure you have the time available in your PTO Personal Time balance and submit a request through our HR system. 


    Part-Time Employees

    Our trip policy is available for all employees, including those who are part-time. However, depending on the work they are doing, it might or might not affect their payroll. 


    If a part-time employee is going on a church trip and serving in a way that is not tied to their regular work responsibilities, then they are going in a volunteer capacity and their payroll is unaffected. 


    However, if a part-time employee is going on a church trip and serving in a way that is tied to their regular work responsibilities, then our Work Schedules & Attendance Policy is still in effect, and they are expected to stay at 40 hours or below for the week to avoid overtime. If the part-time employee anticipates that they will exceed 40 hours on the trip, it must receive prior approval from the Executive Pastor before the trip begins and an overtime maximum will be determined. 

  • Sabbatical Policy


    We are pleased to offer the following policy to help our pastors receive the spiritual refreshment that is necessary for a long-term and effective ministry. 


    Lead Pastor

    We recognize that our Lead Pastor carries a unique burden as the leader of our church. As a result, his sabbatical policy is designed to specifically address the added weight that he carries on a regular basis. The Lead Pastor has the following sabbatical policy: 

    • Every year: 1-week ministry sabbatical and 1-month preaching sabbatical. 
    • Every 5 years: 1-month ministry sabbatical. 


    All Other Pastors

    All other pastors who serve on our team have the following sabbatical policy: 

    • Every 5 years: 2-week ministry sabbatical. 


    Sabbatical Rest Suggestions

    Each pastor is responsible for planning and executing their own sabbatical. However, here are some suggestions to help the pastor experience a successful sabbatical rest: 

    • Location: Avoid coming to our office during your sabbatical. Instead, get away from life’s normal distractions so that you can focus on the Lord. 
    • Spiritual Disciplines: During your sabbatical, schedule time each day to practice the spiritual disciplines (Scripture reading, prayer, worship, Scripture meditation, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, etc.). 
    • Books: Before your sabbatical begins, find a book or two that will challenge you and help you grow in your specific area of ministry. 
    • Family: Be intentional about spending quality time with your family.