XPastor tries to help churches out by providing some of the essentials for running a church—items like job descriptions, employment applications, employee manuals, review forms and policies. Below is the Personnel Manual of Village Bible Church.
Section 1: Welcome
Welcome to Village Bible Church! We consider you to be a gift from God and look forward to working with you as a member of our ministry team. We appreciate you and the gifts and talents you bring to our ministries, and desire that you achieve your highest level of service for the Lord here at Village Bible Church. You can only do that by maintaining a close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and we want to foster that relationship.
As an employee of the church, you represent our church and the Lord Jesus Christ in both your work life and private life. As a result, you are expected to always be sensitive to how others may see you, spiritually and morally. We encourage you to live a life that honors God, and makes your relationship with Jesus Christ evident to others. Church employees are expected to be in agreement with the Statement of Faith and to support the Mission and Purpose Statements of Village Bible Church.
1.2 Personnel Manual Information
The policies contained in this Personnel Manual apply to all employees. The Manual is intended to provide information about the church’s personnel policies, procedures, benefits, and rules of conduct. This Manual is not intended to be a contract, nor is it intended to otherwise create any legally enforceable obligations on the part of the church.
It is important that you read, understand, and become familiar with this Manual and comply with the standards that have been established. Please talk with your supervisor if you have any questions or need additional information.
It is not possible to anticipate every situation that may arise in the workplace or to provide information that answers every possible question. As a result, the Guiding Elder Team reserves the right to modify, supplement, rescind, or revise any policy, benefit, or provision of this Manual from time to time. Appropriate changes in this Manual will be made as needed. Each employee will be supplied with any changes and will be responsible for updating his Manual. The information in this employee manual supersedes and replaces all previous personnel policies, procedures, benefits, and rules of conduct.
If there is a conflict between this Manual and the provisions set forth in the terms of an ordained staff member’s call, the terms of the call shall prevail.
1.3 Our Vision
Village Bible Church desires to be a family of growing believers committed to glorifying God by reaching our world with the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.
1.4 Our Mission
- Loving Jesus to the point of transformation.
- Loving each other to the point of sacrifice.
- Loving our neighbors to the point of action.
1.5 Village Bible Church Employee Values
Lead a spiritually surrendered life: Bring the gift of a self that is fully yielded to the Holy Spirit. Approach your work and your life with Spirit-controlled hearts (1 Tim. 4:7).
Lead a life of prayer. Pray for God’s supernatural intervention in the life of this church, your family, your ministry and your personal walk with Jesus. Humble yourself before God and expect Him to do great things as you seek to serve Him with all your might (1 Thes. 5:17, 1 Pet. 5:6).
Maintain an infectious, optimistic and enthusiastic attitude: Ask people with whom you work, “What can I do to help you?” Expect to be a team player who has the best interests of the team at heart (Deut. 20:8, 1 Thes. 5:11).
Engage co-workers in honest communication: Let’s not allow things to go underground. Conflict resolution and meaningful communication must take place in an environment of openness, truth telling and sensitivity (Eph. 4:25).
Approach your work with intensity: Maintain a fervent and dedicated spirit that perseveres in the midst of difficulty. Put your hand to the plow and don’t look back! Do all you can heartily, and serve the Lord with fortitude (Col. 3:23-24).
Honor and value co-workers and volunteers: Motivate and encourage people around you by giving them words of encouragement and appreciation whenever you have the opportunity. Write a note, make the call. Give the gift that says, “You and your ministry matter to God” (1 Pet. 2:17).
Don’t lose the big picture and God’s ultimate desire and plan for your life and ministry. Remember why you’re in this (1 Cor. 15:58).
1.6 Statements of Faith
See our Constitution.
Section 2: Employment Introduction Information
As leadership in the congregation, the staff is to exercise caution when discussing any church business, with those outside the church staff as well as other staff members. Any information learned from correspondence, conversations, counseling sessions, or business transaction should not be discussed or made public in any way, except on the expressed instruction from the elder team. Breach of confidentiality shall be cause for disciplinary action. Confidentiality, in some cases, may be a matter of privacy laws. Any questions regarding confidentiality issues should be addressed to the Guiding Elder Team.
2.2 Introductory Period
The introductory period for all employees is meant to provide you and Village Bible Church with an opportunity to become acquainted with each other and to evaluate the working relationship. All employees will complete a minimum ninety (90) day introductory period and the church may extend this period beyond ninety (90) days upon review.
At any time during the introductory period, an employee may decide to resign without stating a reason, or may be released by the church on the same basis, without any negative effect on the individual’s employment record.
A performance evaluation may be given at the end of the introductory period at the discretion of the supervisor or executive pastor.
Completion of your introductory period is not a guarantee of continued employment. Your employment is a mutual relationship between you and VBC. Either party may end the employment relationship during or after your introductory period without cause or advance notice.
Illinois is an “at will” employment state. At Village Bible Church, we are committed to the philosophy that employment relationships are both personal and voluntary. By this we mean that although we hope for mutually beneficial working relationships with our employees, we recognize that changing circumstances make it impossible to guarantee employment. Your employment with VBC has no specific duration, and either you or the church may end the employment relationship whenever either of us believes it is best to do so, without consideration of cause or notice, except as otherwise agreed to. This employment-at-will agreement constitutes the entire agreement between employee and the church. (You may be required to give certain notice if you choose to terminate the employment relationship, in order to receive any accumulated pay or benefits.)
While we maintain and revise written and other personnel policies in order to adapt to changing organizational needs, any personnel policies or programs that may be in effect from time to time do not affect our policy of voluntary employment relationships. The voluntary nature of our employment relationship may not be changed except by a separate written agreement specifically entered into for such purpose and signed by the Guiding Elders.
The Employee Guidelines and Benefits Program Handbook is not intended to create nor should it be construed to constitute a contract.
2.4 Personnel Data Changes
It is the responsibility of each employee to promptly notify Village Bible Church of any changes in personnel data. Personal mailing addresses, telephone numbers, number and names of dependents, individuals to be contacted in the event of an emergency, and other status reports should be accurate at all times. If any personnel data has changed, notify the administrative team at the Sugar Grove campus.
2.5 Equal Employment Opportunity
The church is committed to full compliance with applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding equal employment opportunities for all qualified persons.
VBC is an equal opportunity employer. It is our strong belief that equal opportunity for all employees is central to the continuing success of our church. VBC will not discriminate against an employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, national origin, age, physical or mental disabilities, political affiliation, marital status, ancestry, pregnancy or childbirth or military service membership. VBC’s equal employment philosophy applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, screening, training, promotion, demotion, transfer, benefits, compensation and dismissal. Opportunity is provided to all employees on the basis of qualifications and job requirements.
It is the responsibility of supervisors and ministry directors at VBC to conduct their ministry in conformity with this policy. In addition, each employee is expected to support VBC in its efforts to provide a work environment free from bias, unfairness and harassment.
VBC does, however, reserve the right to employ persons who have made a life commitment to Jesus Christ and who have a work history and a lifestyle that is consistent with scriptural principles in the Bible and our doctrinal positions as a church.
All employment decisions will be made in compliance with applicable labor laws.
The elders are assigned overall responsibility for the effectuation of this policy.
My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. (James 2:1)
2.6 Immigration Reform and Control Act
VBC complies with the Immigration Reform and Control Act. As a condition of employment, each new employee must properly complete, sign and date the first section of the Immigration and Naturalization Service I-9 form. Before commencing work, newly rehired employees must also complete the I-9 form if they have not previously filed an I-9 form with VBC, if their previous I-9 form is more than three years old, or if their previous I-9 form is no longer valid.
2.7 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
VBC is committed to complying fully with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related federal and state laws and regulations as it applies to churches. We are committed to ensuring equal opportunity in employment for qualified persons with disabilities. All employment practices and activities are conducted on a non-discriminatory basis.
Post-offer medical examinations are required only for those positions in which there is a bona fide job-related physical requirement. They are given to all persons entering the position only after conditional job offers have been made. Medical records will be kept separate and confidential.
Reasonable accommodation is available to all disabled employees, where their disability affects the performance of job functions. All employment decisions are based on the merits of the situation in accordance with defined criteria, not the disability of the individual.
Qualified individuals with disabilities are entitled to equal pay and other forms of compensation (or changes in compensation) as well as in job assignments, classifications, organizational structures, position descriptions, lines of progression, and seniority lists. Leave of all types will be available to all employees on an equal basis.
This policy is neither exhaustive nor exclusive. VBC is committed to taking all other actions necessary to ensure equal employment opportunity for persons with disabilities in accordance with the ADA and all other applicable federal, state, and local laws.
2.8 Employment of Minors
The church complies with all provisions of federal and state employment laws regarding the employment of minors, i.e. “Illinois Child Labor Law” (RSMo 294). Defined by law, a “child” is a youth under 16 years of age.
Any prospective employee younger than age eighteen is required to provide a valid work permit and parental consent (unless emancipated) prior to commencement of employment. State and federal regulations restrict the types of jobs that may be performed and the number of hours per day or week a minor is allowed to work while school is in or out of session.
2.9 Workplace Diversity
We cultivate a work environment that encourages fairness, teamwork, and respect among all employees. We are firmly committed to maintaining a work atmosphere in which people of diverse backgrounds may grow personally and professionally.
2.10 Employment of Relatives
Relatives of employees will receive the same consideration as any other applicant and will not be accorded preferential treatment in employment matters. Related employees may not be permitted to work in the same department or under the direct supervision of each other. The church may require a related employee to transfer or resign if there is a conflict of interest or management problem that cannot be resolved. Exceptions could be made with the consent of the executive pastor for temporary employees.
2.11 Employee Classifications
The church classifies employees as follows:
Full-Time Employee—Any employee who works an average of more than 30 hours each work week will be deemed to be a full-time employee.
Regular Part-Time Employee—Any employee who works an average of 30 hours or less each work week is a regular part-time employee.
Temporary Employee—An employee who is hired on a temporary basis to fill a temporary need in staffing will be deemed a temporary employee. The temporary status of employment will be clearly communicated to the person at time of interview and in writing at time of hiring.
Full-time employees and part-time employees may be paid a fixed salary or an hourly wage. The compensation arrangement will be clearly communicated in writing to each employee when hired and on yearly intervals.
2.12 Position Classifications
Any of the following position classifications may include either full-time or part-time employees.
Pastors—Licensed or ordained pastors employed/called by a church vote; required to meet the demands of the job description assigned to the position; receives benefits as outlined by their Letter of Call.
Ministry Directors—Employed by the local elder team or the executive pastor in conjunction with Guiding Elder Team; required to meet the demands of the job description assigned to the position; receives benefits as outlined by the terms of their employment. Examples include Director of Children’s Ministry and Director of Communications.
Support Staff—Employed by the local elder team or the executive pastor; required to meet the duties of the job description assigned to the position; benefits as outlined by the terms of their employment. Examples include ministry assistants and custodians.
Staff—When used alone, the word “staff” in this manual shall refer to full-time pastors, ministry leaders, and support staff. It does not refer to part-time employees, unless otherwise stated.
2.14 Criminal Background Checks
VBC conducts criminal background checks of all new employees to determine suitability of employment. VBC also reserves the right to conduct criminal background checks of existing employees. In the event a criminal record exists, consideration will be given to the relationship between the conviction and the responsibilities of the position that is or will be held. A relevant job-related conviction is grounds for termination of employment or non-selection of an applicant.
Section 3: Benefits
VBC is committed to providing its employees with excellent benefits that are equitable and cost effective. The cost to provide these benefits is a substantial addition to an employee’s compensation package. Eligible employees at VBC are provided a wide range of benefits. A number of the benefit programs (such as Workers’ Compensation) cover all employees in the manner prescribed by law. Benefits eligibility is dependent upon a variety of factors, including employee classification. If there is a change in family status or a spouse has had a significant change in their employment status, please notify the executive pastor immediately. Some common examples of family or spousal status changes include:
- Marriage or death.
- Birth, adoption or legal guardianship.
- Loss of outside coverage because spouse’s employment ends,
- A change from full-time to part-time employment (or vice versa) by the employee.
- A significant change in medical coverage because of a change in spouse’s employment.
- Benefits cease upon termination of employment or retirement.
After 30 days of continuous employment, full-time staff will be eligible to receive holiday pay, in addition to hours worked, on the following holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- Good Friday
- Easter (Monday after Easter)
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Friday after Thanksgiving
- Christmas Eve Day
- Christmas Day
- Your Birthday
If the holiday falls on a Saturday, it will be observed on a Friday. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, it will be observed on a Monday. Exceptions to this policy may be made at the discretion of the elder team or the executive pastor when necessary.
For full-time Pastoral and ministry leadership staff, if holiday falls on a week-day that they are normally off work, either the following work day will be taken, or on another day that week that is mutually agreed upon between the staff member and their supervisor.
If a holiday falls during approved vacation leave, staff will receive holiday pay and will not be charged for a vacation day.
Regular part-time employees who work a minimum of 20 hours a week are entitled to holiday pay based on their part-time to full-time ratio.
Temporary employees are not entitled to holiday pay.
It has been the informal policy of the church to work “half-days” during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. If employee chooses to take a vacation day during this period, it will be counted as entire vacation day. The “half-days” during this week are “days of grace” and staff may be required to work full days if workload demands. The “half-day” policy during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is informal and has been practiced in order to give everyone extra family time over Christmastime. However, it may be rescinded at any time.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28)
3.2 Vacation Leave
Vacation leave is something that we grant to all employees and desire for them to utilize. Ministry roles are very demanding of our employees time, energy and emotions. Vacation leave provides an important time of refreshment and recharging for our employees and their families. Accordingly, we strongly encourage our staff to fully utilize their vacation time. (Vacation leave cannot be carried over from year to year and must be taken in units of no less than one-half day. We do not allow employees to take pay in lieu of vacation time.)
Requests for vacation time should be submitted on a Time Away Request Form and submitted to the immediate supervisor at least 10 working days in advance of requested date. Vacation requests not submitted on a timely basis are subject to rejection. Approval of vacation requests will be based, not only on the date the request is received, but also with consideration of other staff being given equal opportunities for choice vacation dates. Consideration for approval of request will also be given as to whether the time off will interfere with normal operations of the church.
A. Full-time employees will earn paid vacation as follows:
- Full Time Support Staff and Ministry Directors
- Introductory Period: From date of employment through end of introductory period, no paid vacation time is granted.
- Years 1-5: After the introductory period is complete and through the first five calendar years of full-time employment, employee will be given 10 days of vacation to use for the calendar year (pro-rated for the first year based on time remaining in the year).
- Years 6+: Starting in the sixth calendar years of full-time employment, employee will be given 15 days of vacation to use for the calendar year.
- Pastoral Staff Paid vacation leave for Pastoral staff shall be determined by the executive pastor and Guiding Elder Team at the time of their call to serve on staff at Village Bible Church and shall be documented in writing in Letter of Call. Original Letter of Call is to be filed in personnel file of pastor and a copy of Letter of Call given to the pastor.
B. Regular Part-time Employees
- Regular part-time employees, who work a minimum of 20 hours each work week will earn vacation time on the following basis:
- Introductory Period: From date of employment through end of introductory period, no paid vacation time is granted.
- Years 1-5: After the introductory period is complete and through the first five calendar years of part-time employment, employee will be given 5 days of vacation to use for the calendar year (pro-rated for the first year based on time remaining in the year).
- Years 6+: Starting in the sixth calendar years of part-time employment, employee will be given 8 days of vacation to use for the calendar year.
C. Employees will receive prorated earned vacation pay upon voluntary termination of employment based on fairness and at discretion of supervisor and/or Guiding Elder Team and subject to conditions of voluntary termination
3.3 Sick Leave
We provide sick leave to full-time and part-time employees to recover from illness and injury. Sick leave may also be used to care for an immediate family member. Employees are eligible for sick leave upon satisfactory completion of their introductory period.
For the purposes of the sick leave policy, “immediate family” is defined as a spouse, child or parent of an employee.
A. Sick Leave Usage
Regular full-time employees receive seven (7) days of paid sick leave per calendar year. Regular part-time employees receive four (4) days of sick leave per calendar year. Sick leave cannot be rolled over into the next year. Any additional sick days beyond the allowed amount in a calendar year, may be taken as paid vacation days or as non-paid days. Employees are expected to gain approval when taking more than the allotted days.
Employees are responsible for directly notifying the church office before the scheduled start of their workday if possible when they’re unable to report to work due to illness or injury. If an employee must leave during the workday due to illness or injury, he/she should tell the church office before leaving. Employees must keep the church office informed about the expected duration of the time away from work.
In most circumstances, a doctor’s statement is required when an employee uses more than five (5) consecutive days of sick time or when an accumulation of absences seems to establish (in the supervisor’s judgment) a problematic use of sick time. VBC may request verification of the reasons for any use of sick time.
Employees may use sick time to care for immediate family members who are ill, but the same verification requirements apply in these instances.
B. Payment in Lieu of Accrued Sick Leave
We do not offer pay in lieu of accrued sick leave, and employees do not receive payment for accrued sick leave when they leave VBC’s employment.
3.4 Family and Medical Leave
Medical leave may be granted to full-time employees who have completed at least six months of continuous employment upon approval in advance by executive pastor and/or Guiding Elder Team. (Part-time employees are not entitled to medical leave.)
Leave will be granted for any of the following reasons:
- To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care.
- To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter or parent who has a serious health problem.
- For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform his/her job. Medical certification is required to support such a request, including a physician’s statement indicating the anticipated duration of the leave. A serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, of physical or mental condition that involves:
Any period of incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility.
Any period of incapacity requiring absence of more than three (3) calendar days from work, school, or other regular daily activities that also involve continuing treatment by a health care provider.
Continuing treatment by a health care provider for a chronic or long-term health condition that is incurable or so serious that if not treated would likely result in the incapacity of more than three (3) calendar days.
VBC will follow the requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act. FMLA requires employers to provide up to (twelve) 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave to “eligible” employees for certain family and medical reasons. Employees are eligible if they have worked for the church for at least one year, and for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months. Key provisions are as follows:
Requests for medical leave shall be submitted in writing accompanied by a physician’s written statement certifying the need for the leave and an estimate of time employee will be unable to work.
- Employees will be required to use any accrued vacation or sick leave first during any FMLA leave period. Additional time, without pay, will normally be granted for the length of the leave up to a maximum of three months. Any time after that will be determined by the executive pastor and/or the Guiding Elder Team.
- During the medical leave, employee shall communicate with his/her supervisor regularly regarding status and anticipated date of return to work. Communication should be no less than once a month. At any time during the medical leave, employee may be asked to provide medical evidence of disability.
- Persons who falsify the reason for medical leave will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
- Health and life insurance premiums will be paid by Village Bible Church for those eligible for this benefit during the approved medical leave of absence.
- Employees must provide thirty (30) days advance notice when the leave is “foreseeable.”
- Upon return from medical leave, employee shall present a physician’s written release verifying their ability to safely perform his duties, if requested. Employee may also be required to submit to a physical examination to determine fitness for duty.
- Although the church cannot guarantee reinstatement in all cases, if employee returns to work immediately following the end of an approved medical leave employee will normally be returned to his former job classification if an opening exists. The church will attempt to keep the position open during the approved medical leave of the employee. If there is no such opening, employee will be considered for a comparable position if available.
- Some benefits and seniority rights continue during FMLA leave. Employees may continue enrollment in their health insurance at the same rate that similar employees are paying. Returning employees retain all benefits they have accrued at the commencement of their leave but do not accrue vacation and holiday benefits while on leave.
- FMLA leave does not count as an occurrence under VBC’s absenteeism policy.
- Employees may be required to make periodic reports during FMLA leave regarding their status and intent to return to work.
- Employees cannot engage in other employment or apply for unemployment benefits while on leave.
- If an employee does not return to work from FMLA leave when scheduled, the employee will be considered to have voluntarily quit his/her job. In addition, under certain circumstances, an employee may be required to refund VBC for any payments it made to maintain his/her health coverage while on leave.
- Sick leave and vacation leave benefits will not accrue during unpaid medical leave.
3.5 Maternity Leave
Six months maternity leave will be granted to full-time employees who have worked a minimum of twelve months continuously. This six months includes accumulated sick leave and vacation leave which must be used first.
Any eligible health and life insurance premiums will be paid by the church during the six months’ maternity leave, subject to signed commitment by the employee to return to work. Sick leave and vacation leave time will not be accrued during the unpaid portion of maternity leave.
Request for maternity leave must be submitted in writing 30 days in advance of expected absence. Length of desired leave should be stated in request to allow employer to arrange for temporary filling of position if required.
If employee fails to return to work at end of six months’ maternity leave, position will be filled by employer.
3.6 Bereavement Leave
Employees who wish to take time off due to the death of an immediate family member should notify the church office immediately. Up to three (3) days of paid bereavement leave will be provided to all regular employees. Employees may, with approval, use any available paid leave for additional time off as necessary.
For the purposes of the bereavement leave, “immediate family” is defined as the employee’s spouse, parent, grandparent, child, or sibling.
3.7 Jury Duty
Full-time and part-time staff will be granted leave for jury duty after presenting the supervisor with a copy of the notice to serve.
While on jury duty, staff will be paid regular pay. Upon completion of jury duty, the supervisor should be presented with a verification of attendance from the court.
When excused from jury duty, staff member shall notify his supervisor immediately and report to work as determined by supervisor.
3.8 Military Leave
Full-time and part-time staff will be granted leave for military duty after presenting the supervisor with a copy of the notice to serve. If military status changes, the employee must notify supervisor at which times status of military leave will be re-evaluated. Military leave will be paid leave up to 15 days after which employee can use any available vacation leave. Following that, employee will go on unpaid military leave.
Sick leave and vacation leave benefits will not accrue during military leave absence.
3.9 Leave Without Pay—Staff
Request for leave without pay must be submitted in writing with an explanation for the request. Requests will be granted at the sole discretion of the elder team and/or executive pastor, based on the reason for the request, effect of the absence on the work or ministry, and the length of requested absence.
Leave will not be granted unless employee has exhausted all vacation leave. Only full-time staff with at least six months of continuous service are eligible for more than 5 work days of leave without pay, with the exception of leave covered by Medical Leave or Military Leave.
Health and life insurance premiums for eligible employees will be the responsibility of the employee during his absence with the exception provided in Medical and Maternity Leave. Sick leave and vacation leave benefits will not accrue.
3.10 Sabbatical—Pastoral Staff
The pastoral sabbatical is intended to provide pastoral staff who have served for an extended period at our church with a gift of time away from normal responsibilities and locations to pursue a plan of personal renewal and growth that combines study, travel, relaxation, education and research. The sabbatical is not just a reward for longevity of service and commitment. More importantly, it is an opportunity for those who have given consistently of their teaching and life to refill their own hearts and resources in order that they might continue in effective service to the Lord in this congregation.
We recognize the special benefit and wisdom of a Sabbath renewal. God’s Sabbath principle, applied to their ministries, provides an opportunity to rededicate (sanctify) one’s life and work to the Lord, reacquire God’s perspective, and freshen one’s spiritual health. In this way, the entire Body of Christ benefits and is blessed by the pastoral Sabbath.
A pastor in full-time, paid ministry at VBC will be asked to take a four month sabbatical leave during the seventh year of full-time service. Vacation time can be added to the sabbatical leave to extend it.
It is each pastor’s responsibility to plan and schedule their own Sabbatical leave in coordination with the demands of the ministry at the church. However, the demands of the ministry at the church do not constitute an adequate reason to prevent the Sabbatical leave.
Full salary and benefits will be provided during the Sabbatical leave.
The Sabbatical leave may not be taken as terminal leave (i.e. as leave at the end of employment).
Cash, or other forms of compensation, may not be offered or accepted in lieu of Sabbatical leave.
Sabbatical is provided for spiritual renewal and freshening. The Sabbatical leave cannot be used for ministry at any other church or other Christian ministry.
The activities of the Sabbatical represent a stewardship to be exercised by the Sabbatical pastor and will not otherwise be stipulated by the church. On the other hand, the Sabbatical pastor will consult with the executive pastor to discuss the various Sabbatical options to be planned and approved. The overarching concept for sabbatical is spiritual, emotional, and physical rejuvenation.
Request for sabbatical leave and expense provision for study must be made in writing to the executive pastor and Guiding Elder Team at least ninety (90) days in advance of leave date and include plans for coverage of pastor’s responsibilities while he is on leave. Request should also state the pastor’s expectations or goals from the leave.
The timing of the sabbatical leave for pastoral staff will be coordinated with the executive pastor with approval of the Guiding Elder Team.
Sabbaticals may not be accrued and must be taken roughly in the year in which they are due (the seventh year in the ministry cycle). Care should be given, however, to avoid scheduling overlapping Sabbatical leave between various pastoral staff.
Regular church attendance and community is required during the sabbatical period, but attendance at VBC is not a requirement.
Priority of Sabbatical
Generally only one sabbatical per calendar year per campus is available, based on eligibility, seniority and scheduling. In other words, those with the most years of service would be eligible first. However, if family demands and scheduling prompt them to do so, a staff member may elect to let another take their place and be put next in line. The impact of each staff member’s absence in the context of overall church needs will have a strong influence on scheduling of Sabbaticals.
Accountability for Sabbatical Plan
A proposal for a sabbatical must reflect the purpose stated above and must be arranged in advance with the executive pastor and approved by the Guiding Elder Team. This must be done at least nine months prior to the desired sabbatical dates.
Funding the Sabbatical
In addition to regular salary and benefits, the staff member may apply for additional funds for tuition, travel, etc., as these funds apply to the purpose of the sabbatical. These funds would require approval by the Guiding Elder Team and comply with Section 3.14 Educational Assistance.
Commitment of Continued Service
Pastors will accept sabbatical on the explicit condition that they will continue to serve Village Bible Church full-time for a period of 2 years following the conclusion of their leave.
3.11 Health Insurance
All regular full-time employees are eligible for medical insurance coverage beginning the first day of the month following your date of hire. Part-time support staff are not entitled to participate in the health insurance plan.
For the purposes of medical benefits coverage, VBC defines “immediate family” as a spouse and children (including stepchildren).
The Guiding Elder Team will determine the appropriate health insurance plan to offer to the staff and the amount to be contributed towards the employees’ health insurance premium or Health Savings Account, if applicable. As with most benefits policies, our benefits coverage is subject to change.
Full-time employees and their dependents are eligible for medical coverage through the selected provider. Information regarding selected providers and premiums will be provided upon request.
Insurance for full-time employees will be available at the first of the month following their individual dates of employment. Pre-existing conditions may lead to exceptions to this policy, as specified by the insurance provider.
Compensation can be given in lieu of medical coverage only in the form of direct payment to a spouse’s group coverage to cover the employee. This amount will be determined with the approval of the Elders and may not exceed the amount to cover the employee and immediate family through our provider. There will be no other compensation given in lieu of medical coverage.
Medical insurance coverage through VBC ends on the last day of the month in which the employee is employed.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases … (Psa. 103:2-3)
3.12 Workers’ Compensation
All employees are protected by our worker’s compensation insurance policy while employed at VBC. The policy is available at no cost to you and covers injury and illnesses resulting from legitimate work activities. By law, VBC is required to report injuries covered under worker’s compensation within twenty-four (24) hours. Please report any on-the-job injury and/or request for services.
If the injury requires emergency care, the injured party should receive immediate treatment. Please have the hospital/clinic/physician contact the church regarding any questions about verification of coverage and/or request for services.
Neither VBC nor the insurance carrier will be liable for the payment of workers’ compensation benefits that occur during an employee’s voluntary participation in any off-duty recreational, social, or athletic activity sponsored by VBC.
3.13 Unemployment Insurance
By Illinois State Statute 288.034, churches are exempt from the state unemployment insurance program and therefore the church is not required to pay state or federal unemployment taxes. This means that upon termination of employment, no employee will be eligible to receive unemployment benefits from the State of Illinois or the U.S. government as a result of his/her former employment at Village Bible Church.
3.14 Educational Assistance—Staff
When it can be demonstrated that the church will benefit from staff’s participation in a training or educational program during normal working hours, staff may attend such events while receiving their regular pay. Subject to limitations of church approved budget, the church may pay all or part of the costs associated with attendance at such events.
Prior to enrollment, requests to participate in training or educational programs, and requests for payment of expenses related to training and educational programs, must be made to and approved by the executive pastor and the Guiding Elder Team.
3.15 Professional Memberships
When it can be demonstrated that the church will benefit from the employee’s participation in a professional organization, the church may pay costs associated with membership.
Requests for payment of membership dues must be made to and approved by the executive pastor, subject to the limitations of the church’s approved budget.
3.16 Professional Ministry Abroad
Pastors and/or ministry directors may receive requests to assist in training conferences or consulting services on state or associational levels. Request to participate in ministry opportunities should be submitted to the Guiding Elder Team and/or the executive pastor in advance to determine any conflicts of scheduling with church activities and the time allowed away for this ministry. It is expected any time away request will include plans for coverage and completion of person’s responsibilities during their absence. Such approved time would not require the use of vacation leave.
Section 4: Salary and Compensation
4.1 Pay Periods
All employees are paid on a semi-monthly basis. The first pay period includes the first fifteen days of the month. The second pay period includes day sixteen through the last day of the month.
Hourly employees are paid for the actual hours worked as recorded on time sheets or other approved methods of recording hours worked. Record of hours worked must be signed by the employee and his supervisor and turned into the Financial Secretary no later than one (1) week before the next designated payday.
Payday is generally the 15th and the last day of each month. Occasionally, the designated payday may fall on a holiday or a weekend. In this case paychecks will be distributed on the last working day prior to the holiday or weekend.
4.2 Payroll Deductions
By law, required payroll deductions for non-pastoral employees are federal income tax, state income tax and social security taxes (FICA and Medicare). Any other deductions must be authorized in writing by the employee.
Staff members who are licensed or ordained pastors’ fall under different tax laws and federal income taxes may not be deducted from their pay unless requested and authorized by the pastor on a W4 form. Social Security/Medicare taxes are never deducted from a pastor’s paycheck, but the pastor may request in writing that the amount of his Social Security taxes be withheld as additional federal income taxes from his paycheck.
Each paycheck stub will itemize amounts withheld.
Pastoral, administrative, and supervisory staff are considered exempt employees by the overtime provisions of state and federal laws. Therefore they are not eligible for overtime pay. Non-exempt employees, as prescribed by their job descriptions, are expected to work efficiently during the allotted daily business hours to avoid overtime.
4.4 Wage Garnishment
The church complies with applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding the garnishment and assignment of wages.
Section 5: Personnel Status
5.1 Tardiness and Absence
It is important that employees work assigned schedules as consistently as possible. However, the church understands that illness or emergency may result in employees being late or absent.
If unable to report to work for any reason, employee must notify his supervisor or executive pastor. It is employee’s responsibility to keep the church informed on a daily basis during a short-term absence and to provide medical verification when requested.
A tardy or absence is considered “excused” only when employee calls ahead of time and the tardiness or absence is for a compelling reason. The Guiding Elder Team and/or executive pastor reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to determine what constitutes a compelling reason. A tardy or absence for a non-compelling reason, and failing to call in according to policy, will be considered “unexcused.” “Unexcused” tardiness and absence is considered a serious problem.
An employee who is tardy or absent excessively, or shows a consistent pattern of absence, even if “excused,” may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including possible termination.
Chronic tardiness is just as severe a problem as absenteeism and subject to the same disciplinary action(s). It is important to arrive on time and to return from lunch and break promptly. Tardiness causes repercussions for an entire department by disrupting schedules for lunches and proper phone coverage.
A. Voluntary Termination
A voluntary resignation is a termination that is initiated by the employee. The church requests two weeks written notice to employee’s supervisor before an employee voluntarily terminates his employment, although it is recognized that employment is at will and may be terminated by the employee or employer at any time. Written notice should include reason for leaving, and name and address of new employer if applicable. Employees failing to provide adequate notice shall not be considered “in good standing.”
If employee has accrued but not taken vacation, and has tendered a voluntary termination in writing, with a minimum of two weeks notice, the employee may be paid for unused vacation as of the date of termination. If proper notice is not given, unused vacation time, as outlined in this manual, may be forfeited. If an employee does not call in or report to work for three consecutive workdays, he may be considered to have voluntarily quit, but will forfeit unused vacation time.
B. Involuntary Termination
An involuntary termination or dismissal is a termination that is initiated by the executive pastor and Guiding Elder Team for reasons other than changing business conditions. The process for involuntary termination will follow “Disciplinary Procedures” (see Section 8). The Disciplinary Procedures may be bypassed in cases where immediate dismissal is warranted or necessary (Section 7.22: Gross Misconduct).
C. Job Elimination and Layoffs
VBC values its employees as its most important asset. In the unlikely event a position is no longer needed due to changes in programs, funding or forces beyond our control, affected regular full-time employees who have worked at VBC for at least one (1) calendar year will receive all accrued, unused vacation time, plus one week (1) of severance pay for each year of employment up to a four (4) weeks pay.
The church has no mandatory retirement age. Deciding upon the time at which to retire is a decision which, normally, the employee will make individually and communicate to the church with adequate notice. The church reserves the right to take other job-related factors into consideration, such as job performance, economic considerations, and others, just as it does for any other employee. At least six months notice is requested in advance of the intended retirement date. This provides the church adequate time to process administrative matters related to the employee’s retirement, such as the individual’s retirement account, insurance, social security, and other related items. This also permits the church to cross-train other employees or to hire a new replacement. Questions regarding retirement benefits should be directed to the Guiding Elder Team.
5.4 Promotion, Demotion and Transfer
It is the church’s intent to give qualified employees preference over others when filling open positions. However, because of experience, skills and educational requirements of the positions, promotions from within are not always possible. An employee’s past performance, experience, attitude, qualifications and potential are important factors considered in promotion and transfer decisions.
The Guiding Elder Team reserves the right to promote, transfer, and demote employees with or without cause or advance notice.
5.5 Exit Interview Procedures
An exit interview may be scheduled at the time of employment termination. This exit interview is meant to provide employees with the opportunity to reflect on their experience at VBC and to offer comments, advice, or suggestions pertaining to our work policies and practices. Employees will also be provided information on employee benefit continuation.
The return of VBC-owned property will also be handled at this time. All VBC property must be returned on or before the last day of work. VBC may withhold from the employee’s final paycheck the cost of any items that are not returned.
Information shared during an exit interview will be treated as confidential and acted on in an appropriate and timely manner.
Section 6: Employment Development
6.1 Personnel Memo
The personnel memo is a tool to help the supervisor, executive pastor and/or Guiding Elder Team communicate more effectively with employees. It may be used to compliment special effort or results, or to advise, counsel, or admonish an employee for performance or conduct that is not acceptable.
If a personnel memo concerns unacceptable performance or conduct, employee is encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to improve and avoid disciplinary action as defined in Section 8.
Personnel memos will be presented in a written form and not by email to protect the privacy of both employee and staff, and any memos of a disciplinary nature will be discussed with the employee personally.
6.2 Performance Evaluations
Employees will receive, from their supervisor, a written performance evaluation after their initial 90 days of service. Annual written performance evaluations will be provided and may include commendation for good work and/or recommendations for improvements.
The employee shall have the opportunity to discuss the performance evaluation with the supervisor and, upon request, with the Guiding Elder Team and/or executive pastor. Performance evaluations assist in decisions about job placement, training and development, and pay increases.
6.3 Job Descriptions
A job description summarizes duties and responsibilities and gives important information about the position.
Employees should read and study the job description carefully and discuss any questions or concerns with the supervisor.
The executive pastor reserves the right to revise and update job descriptions as he deems necessary and appropriate. Any changes to job descriptions will be discussed with affected employees and determination made concerning their responsibilities and training requirements when necessary.
Section 7: Employee Guidelines/General Information
A complete list of every work rule and performance standard is not possible. The following are representative, but not all-inclusive. Employees are responsible for understanding and observing these rules and standards. Employees not in compliance may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including possible termination.
Employees of Village Bible Church are also representatives of our church and ultimately of God to our church family and to our community. Accordingly, there are certain expectations of our employees that would not necessarily be expectations of an employee in a secular work environment. Some of these expectations include:
A. Godly, Balanced Lifestyle
As we seek to care and minister with the VBC family, we believe it is important for employees to maintain an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. As an employee of VBC, he/she should maintain a lifestyle of integrity consistent with Biblical truths. It is important to keep life balance with respect to family, relationships, and one’s own physical and emotional health.
B. Participating Membership
It is essential for employees of VBC to model the kind of life we are inviting others to live. For this reason, all employees must be participating members of VBC and continue as members throughout the duration of employment. New employees must become members within the first 30 days of employment. Exceptions must be approved by the Elders.
C. Workplace Conduct
All employees at VBC share responsibility for observing certain standards of conduct. These standards emphasize personal and professional integrity in all activities. Generally, treating others with respect and consideration with which one expects to be treated and maintaining open, ongoing communication with the employee’s supervisor and associates will create a basis for a successful work experience.
It is the obligation and responsibility of each employee at VBC to work on resolving problems and conflicts by focusing on solutions, keeping issues work-related (as opposed to personal), and communicating directly with the person or persons with whom the employee has a conflict. In most cases, discussing a situation will clear it up.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievance you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgives you. (Col. 3:13)
7.2 Telephone Usage
The telephone is one of our most important service tools. Employees should be certain that their phone manner reflects care and courtesy toward VBC church family, volunteers, vendors, and the public.
From time-to-time it may be necessary for employees to make or receive personal phone calls. Please use good judgment when it comes to personal phone calls.
If employees must make personal long distance calls, employees should use a personal calling or credit card.
7.3 Falsification of Documents
Providing false information on the employment application or any other documents will result in disciplinary action up to, and including, immediate dismissal.
The postage meter at VBC is intended only for church-related mail. Employees are asked not to run personal mail through the postal meter without reimbursing the church.
7.5 Use of Personal Automobile
Employees who use their own automobiles for travel on authorized church business will be reimbursed for mileage at the rate established by the Internal Revenue Service. Employees must carry, at their own expense, the minimum insurance coverage for property damage and public liability.
7.6 Attire and Personal Hygiene
All employees are expected to dress in a manner appropriate for the nature of work in their department. Hair should be clean and well groomed, and a daily regimen of good grooming and hygiene is expected. Questions regarding appropriate dress should be directed to the employee’s supervisor.
It is expected that employees will maintain a clean and neat appearance and will project a professional, Christ-like image in dealing with other employees, the church family, volunteers, and the general public. “Business casual” is the expected dress for normal work at the church facility. VBC reserves the right to define appropriate standards of appearance for the workplace.
7.7 Fundraising Policy
Individual ministries within VBC may not raise funds on their own nor endorse the fundraising efforts of other groups without the approval of the elders. This policy is designed to maintain the financial accountability and to protect the integrity of VBC.
The elders and treasurer seek to meet the reasonable financial needs of our ministries and make those decisions after a comprehensive budget review process. If a ministry requires additional resources, a request may be made through the designated church elder for that ministry.
7.8 Designated Giving
From time to time individuals attending VBC may offer financial assistance for a specific ministry, employee or purpose. Although we are grateful for their contribution, designated giving can undermine the duly appointed leadership of VBC and the concept of a unified budget. Therefore, no employee should encourage designated giving or the purchase of certain items for a given ministry area. Additionally, great discernment should be used by employees when gifts are presented to them personally from a member of the congregation. Generally speaking such gifts should be avoided so as to not become indebted to the giver and rather the suggestion made that the gift be given directly to the church.
Exceptions may be made if it becomes clear that the money was not solicited by an employee and is above and beyond the normal giving of the individual. If, after talking with the donor, the employee thinks the designated giving meets the criteria for an exception, please contact the elders.
7.9 Conflict of Interest
Any employee should report any material interest or affiliation that might conflict with his/her official duties.
No employee should place him/herself in a position where his/her personal interests, or the interests of those for whom he/she acts, is likely to be in conflict with the interests of VBC. An actual or potential conflict would exist if the actions of any employee might result in improper gain or advantage to him/herself or a third party.
7.10 Transportation of Volunteers and Minors
There shall be at least two adults in a vehicle whenever a volunteer of the opposite sex or a minor is transported. If this is impossible due to an emergency situation, the employee must inform another employee of the time they leave, their destination, and the time of return, before they leave. This is to be done only in the case of emergency situations.
State law and the policy of VBC is that all employees and passengers must wear a seatbelt at all times in vehicles.
If counseling of a single person is done after regular church office hours, another employee must be present in the building and notified of the counseling appointment. It is the policy of VBC that counseling should generally not continue longer than three (3) sessions. If further counseling is necessary, referral should be made to a VBC-approved counselor.
7.12 On-Site Appointments
If meeting with a single person, another employee must be present in the building. If no other employees are available, the meeting must be disclosed to your supervisor and the door must remain open. Whenever meeting alone with a person of the opposite sex, the door must always remain open.
In consideration of the health and safety of all employees, VBC maintains a smoke-free environment.
Employees will commit to abstaining from gambling activities, both in their professional role within the church and in their personal lives.
All employees are prohibited from carrying, displaying, or using firearms or weapons of any kind on the premises of VBC.
7.16 Alcohol, Drugs and Controlled Substances
It is VBC’s desire to provide a drug-free, healthful, and safe workplace. To promote this goal, employees are required to report to work in appropriate mental and physical condition to perform their jobs in a satisfactory manner.
While on VBC premises and while conducting business-related activities of VBC, no employees may use, possess, distribute, sell, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. The legal use of prescribed drugs is permitted on the job only if it does not impair an employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job effectively and in a safe manner that does not endanger other individuals in the workplace.
Violations of this policy may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including immediate termination of employment, and/or required participation in a substance abuse rehabilitation or treatment program, which will be paid for by the employee.
7.17 Physical Examinations
If at any time a supervisor observes that an employee’s mental and/or physical condition is detrimental to the employee’s work performance, safety, or to the welfare of other employees, a complete evaluation and physical examination by a physician may be requested. Examinations or tests administered at the request of VBC will be paid for by the church.
7.18 Personal Property
Employees should not bring large sums of money, jewelry or other valuables to work. The church will not be responsible for personal property that is lost, damaged, stolen or destroyed.
7.19 Personal Cell Phones, Email and Social Media
Personal cell phones, email and social media (i.e. Facebook), should be used on a limited basis and should not interfere with employee’s normal work activities. Incoming calls should be handled in a professional manner so that they do not interrupt conversations, other phone calls, or work activities.
A supervisor may impose additional restrictions on electronic devices as necessary to preserve an appropriate work environment and professional office decorum.
7.20 Job Performance
Employees are expected to use their abilities and talents appropriately as follows:
- Performing average or above average work quality and quantity.
- Maintaining proper attitude, avoiding rudeness and unconcern for others.
- Cooperating with other staff members.
- Avoiding excessive tardiness, absenteeism and abuse of meal times.
- Observing church and personnel policies and procedures.
Employees are expected to apply Christian principles in daily work activities and avoid misconduct which may include, but is not limited to:
- Insubordination (Failure to follow written church policies or verbal instructions of immediate supervisor).
- Abuse, misuse, theft, or the unauthorized possession or removal of church property or the personal property of others.
- Falsifying or making a material omission on church records, reports, or other documents, including payroll, personnel or employment records.
- Divulging confidential information to unauthorized persons.
- Disorderly conduct on church property, including fighting or attempted bodily injury, or the use of profane, abusive, or threatening language toward others, or possession of a weapon.
- Violation of any law adversely affecting the church, or conviction in court of any crime which may cause the employee to be regarded as unsuitable for continued employment.
- Marking or signing another employee’s time record or knowingly allowing another employee to mark or sign your time record.
Actions of misconduct puts the employee in a status of “not in good standing.”
7.22 Gross Misconduct
Immediate termination may be appropriate for gross misconduct, which may include, but is not limited to: immoral behavior, sexual harassment, conviction of a felony, theft, emotional or physical abuse in the work place, repeated use of abusive language, being under the influence of illegal drugs, misuse of prescription drugs, use of alcohol, dishonesty, falsification of documents, possession of a weapon at the work place, disclosure of confidences, fraudulent activities, and willful destruction of church property.
Employee will be in status of “not in good standing” upon any action of gross misconduct. The Guiding Elder Team or the executive pastor may terminate an employee for gross misconduct, and such termination shall be without recourse.
7.23 Children of Employees at the Work Place
Children of employees are not allowed to remain with their parents during working hours. Any exceptions to this policy should be pre-approved by the Guiding Elder Team or executive pastor.
7.24 Access to Church Property
The church must have access at all times to church property, including records, documents and files. The church reserves the right, at its discretion, to access employee offices, work stations, filing cabinets, desks, computers, computer files, voice mail, email and any other church property with or without advance notice or consent.
7.25 General Work Schedule
The church office is normally open to the public, volunteers, and visitors Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Although many of our employees work during these hours, some may work alternative schedules based on arrangements with their supervisor. Work schedules at VBC are based on ministry and facility functions and individual job responsibilities. Work schedules may vary from ministry to ministry and employee to employee. All schedules are subject to change and require approval from the employee’s supervisor.
7.26 Business Expense Reporting
Employees will be reimbursed for all approved business-related expenses upon submission of accurate, receipted, and budgeted expense reports to the church. Receipted expense reports submitted by support staff must be signed by the pastor or ministry director whose budget is being charged, before submitting the request. Employees are requested to submit these reports in a timely manner to ensure proper accounting and prompt reimbursement.
Additionally, other ministry expenses may be reimbursed if they are pre-approved by your supervisor. Currently, these include:
Automobile: Employees will be reimbursed for mileage when using their personal cars for authorized church business. Mileage reimbursement requests must include mileage from church to and from the destination, and purpose of the trip. The amount of reimbursement per mile is equal to the IRS standard mileage deduction for the current year.
Cell Phone: A cell phone is an efficient and effective way for you to connect with the flock and encourage you to utilize your drive time to touch base with families. Accordingly, we will reimburse you for your ministry-related cell phone costs, up to $65 per month.
Ministry Meals: VBC will reimburse for actual meal expenses incurred for the purpose of ministry with current attenders of our church, up to a budgeted $650 annually. Generally speaking it is expected that such a meal would be low cost (ranging from $3
Employees are issued church keys and a security access code depending on their assignments and responsibilities, to allow entrance to facilities where they perform their duties or need access. Issued key(s) are to be returned upon departure from the church’s employment. Final paycheck will not be issued until keys are returned.
Employee accepts full responsibility for keys and security access code issued to him, and should not loan keys or security access code to any person who has not been properly authorized by the church to have key(s) or security access code in his possession. Under no circumstances should keys be copied. Lost keys are to be reported to the Guiding Elder Team immediately, even while one is still searching for their possible whereabouts. The objective is to maintain security.
7.29 Open-Door Policy
VBC has an open-door policy that encourages employee input in decisions that will affect them and their daily professional responsibilities. This policy also encourages employees who have job-related problems or complaints to talk them over with their supervisor. VBC believes that employee concerns are best addressed through informal and open communication.
If for some reason an employee’s problem cannot be resolved, the employee should feel free to discuss it with the Elders.
No employee will be disciplined or otherwise penalized for raising a concern in good faith.
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:9)
7.30 Sexual and Other Harassment Policy
It is illegal to harass others on the basis of their sex, age, race, color, national origin, religion, marital or veteran status, citizenship, disability, or other personal characteristics. Harassment includes making derogatory remarks about personal characteristics, making jokes about ethnic or other groups, and other verbal, physical and visual behavior.
Sexual harassment is also prohibited. Propositions, repeated requests for dates, dirty jokes, sexually provocative pictures or cartoons, and other verbal, non-verbal, and physical, and visual harassment of a sexual nature are prohibited. The harassment of any employee will lead to immediate disciplinary action up to and including termination.
To ensure that all employees understand what constitutes sexual harassment, the following guidelines are offered:
Federal and state laws identify two kinds of sexual harassment: The first type is “quid pro quo” harassment. This occurs when sexual favors are sought in exchange for tangible job benefits (such as hiring, promotion, training or job retention) or threats of reprisals (such as demotion, termination, etc.) This type of harassment is illegal and could be grounds for disciplinary action including immediate termination.
The second type is “hostile work environment” harassment. This is a less obvious, more common form of sexual harassment. In a hostile environment, employees are subjected to verbal abuse, physical contact, graphic displays of sexually-oriented material, or similarly offensive or inappropriate conduct. A hostile work environment can be created by any employee or nonemployee. This type of harassment is illegal and could be grounds for disciplinary action including immediate termination.
Both men and women can be victims of sexual and other harassment, or be the harasser. The victim may also be the same gender as the harasser.
This policy is applicable to all VBC employees and extends to those with whom VBC conducts business or ministers, internally and externally, including those in the VBC family, volunteers and vendors.
7.31 Reporting Process for Sexual and Other Harassment
Employees who have a complaint of sexual or other harassment at work are encouraged to bring this matter to the attention of the Elders who will handle the matter in a confidential manner.
The Elders will meet with the employee to discuss the complaint and the nature of the claimed harassment.
A complete and thorough investigation will be conducted.
The investigation will be handled in a confidential manner, to the extent possible.
Although VBC will attempt to maintain confidentially, it may be necessary to disclose certain information in order to conduct a proper investigation, including possible disclosure of the allegations to the alleged harasser. All confidential documentation of investigations will be retained in files separate from the employee’s personnel files.
After completing the investigation, VBC will take appropriate corrective action, including disciplinary measures when justified, to remedy all violations of our policy on sexual harassment. The disciplinary measures taken will depend on the specific facts determined during the investigation. Certain conduct can lead to immediate termination even when there are no prior disciplinary warnings on file.
VBC will not tolerate any retaliatory action against any individual who files a complaint by anyone who had knowledge of such complaint, or by any individual receiving disciplinary action as a result of a complaint.
Following are some general guidelines to be used by the Elders regarding reports of allegations of sexual or other types of harassment:
- Do not treat any report as frivolous. Treat each report as serious until proven otherwise.
- Document everything:
- Name(s) and address(es) of the individual(s) involved.
- Date(s) the incident(s) occurred.
- Description of the incident(s).
- Location of the incident(s).
- Identify the individual allegedly responsible for the behavior.
- Names of any witnesses or potential witnesses to the alleged misconduct.
- Exact words used and actions taken.
- Any records or other forms of evidence that may support the existence of similar behavior.
- Maintain the confidentiality of the report. (Do not discuss with spouse, employee, other pastors, or any volunteers, or church family members unless the investigation requires you to do so.)
Incidents of all sexual or other types of harassment will be brought to the attention of the Elders.
But among you there must be not even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Eph. 5: 3-4)
Section 8: Disciplinary Procedures
8.1 Disciplinary Procedure by the Church with Non-Pastoral Staff
It may become necessary for you and your supervisor to address a problem by identifying unacceptable behavior and establishing a clear plan for correcting it. This usually occurs after informal attempts through coaching to resolve the situation have failed. The root of the word discipline is the Latin discipulis, or learner. It is the goal of VBC to be encouraging throughout the performance improvement process and help employees learn from their mistakes.
When it becomes necessary to address grievances with a non-pastoral employee, the following process will be followed:
A. Verbal Warning
For any grievance or grievances based on problem behavior, not following policies in the Personnel Manual, or not fulfilling the stated job description, the employee will receive a verbal warning from his supervisor, Guiding Elder Team, or executive pastor. This oral warning will detail the nature of the grievance, and the imperative need for the inadequate performance or offending conduct to change and improve. A time period will be designated for improvement to be demonstrated. This verbal warning will be documented for future reference, signed by employee and supervisor and placed in employee’s personnel file.
B. Written Warning
If the inadequate performance or offending conduct continues after a verbal warning has been given, the supervisor, Guiding Elder Team, or the executive pastor will prepare a written warning or Letter of Discipline to give to the employee. The letter will clearly state the nature of the problem(s) being addressed, and concern expressed that to date there have not been adequate changes or improvements. Specific examples of how behavior must change will be stated, and a date for correcting the stated problems will be given. It is hoped that the employee will desire to change, and if so, support and help will be available for him. However, continued inadequate performance or future repetition of offending behavior may lead to discipline up to and including dismissal. Letter of Discipline will be signed by the employee, and copy given to him, with the original being placed in his personnel file.
C. Disciplinary Conference
If the grievance or grievances continue after the written warning has been given, a disciplinary conference will be held with the employee, supervisor, the executive pastor., and a member of the Guiding Elder Team. Because the employee has exhibited no significant improvement, the employee will be placed on probation as of the date of the meeting. Probation provides one final opportunity for the employee to correct or exhibit adequate improvement in the problem areas in order to keep his position. The required corrective actions will be put into written form, and that document will also state clearly that if the corrective actions are not in evidence by the date stated on the probation document, the employee will be terminated on that date.
If corrective actions are not carried out by the end of the probation period, a meeting will be scheduled with the executive pastor and a member of the Guiding Elder Team to officially inform the employee of his termination. Reason for his termination will be stated clearly. The decision will be final.
8.2 Disciplinary Procedure for the Church with Pastoral Staff
If it becomes necessary to address serious grievances with someone on the Pastoral Staff, the matter will be referred to the Guiding Elder Team and/or to the executive pastor. At their discretion, they may involve other persons in the discussions and process.
8.3 Grievance Procedure for Employees
In addressing grievances with fellow employees, this process will be followed:
A. Employee to Employee Discussion
If an employee has a grievance with another staff member, he is encouraged to discuss the situation with the other person in a Christ-like manner.
B. Report the Situation
If the grievance continues after the discussion, report the situation, in writing, to the supervisor, Guiding Elder Team and/or the executive pastor.
C. Appeal to the Executive Pastor
If the grievance continues to be unresolved, present the situation, in writing, to the executive pastor. A conference shall be scheduled with the aggrieved employee, supervisor, Guiding Elder Team and/or the executive pastor. Circumstances will determine whether or not the other employee will be invited or requested to attend. The executive pastor will make the final recommendation regarding termination. Decision will be final.
All personnel must realize that the steps in the progressive performance improvement process serve as general guidelines and are not mandatory. There are varying degrees of seriousness pertaining to performance and/or infractions of policies. There are certain instances where conduct and/or performance is of such a serious nature that immediate termination, without prior warning or consultation, may be the justified course of action.
He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored. (Prov. 13:18)
The Scriptures remind us that God expects good performance in our daily lives, including our professions. Pastors, ministry directors, and support staff in a church have a responsibility to model good performance, as well as godly character. May we all take to heart the words of the Apostle Paul as we serve the Lord together: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Col. 3:23-24)
Section 9: Employment Acknowledgements
Employee Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual
This is to acknowledge that I have received a copy of the Village Bible Church Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual. I understand that it provides guidelines and information about the church’s personnel policies, procedures, benefits, and rules of conduct. I understand that it is my responsibility to read, understand, become familiar with, and comply with the standards that have been established. I further understand the church reserves the right to modify, supplement, rescind, or revise any provision, benefit, or policy with or without notice, as it deems necessary and appropriate.
This is also to acknowledge that my employment is within the mutual consent of myself and the church, and therefore, both the church and I have the right to terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause or advance notice. I understand that this employment-at-will agreement constitutes the entire agreement between me and the church and supersedes all prior agreements. I further understand that, although other church policies and procedures may change, this employment-at-will agreement will remain in effect throughout my employment unless specifically modified by written agreement signed by me and the executive pastor. I further understand that this employment-at-will agreement may not be modified by any oral or implied agreement.
Unemployment Insurance Exemption
This is to acknowledge that I have been informed that by Illinois Statue 288.034, churches are exempt from paying unemployment insurance. Per this Illinois statute, Village Bible Church is required to notify me that wages I earned will not be used to determine insured worker status for unemployment benefits. This means that church employees are ineligible for unemployment benefits once they leave the employ of the church.
Pastoral Withholding Status
If I am serving as a pastor of Village Bible Church, I acknowledge that the church will not be deducting federal, state or social security taxes from my paycheck, unless I instruct them to do so. I also recognize that because of my IRS defined “dual tax status,” I am considered an employee for federal income tax purposes, but self-employed for Social Security purposes—so the church cannot pay the employer portion of my Social Security and Medicare taxes. Accordingly, I will file my tax returns as an employee and also pay self-employment (SECA) taxes on my income. Additionally, since Village Bible Church does not hold a religious objection to public insurance, retirement or medical benefits, I agree to not exempt myself from Social Security.
By signing this form, I am acknowledging that I have been given, understand and acknowledge above notices.
Employee’s Name (please print):_____________________________________________
Employee’s Signature: ____________________________________________________
Date:_______________________________[Employee signs a copy and turns it in to confirm receipt of this manual. Employee signs another copy and keeps the copy for their own records.]
View original PDF: Village Bible Church Personnel Manual