Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Hey Fletch … I hope your ongoing national workshop tour with Smart Money for Church Salaries is going well. I have a question for my church. We have a part-time hourly administrative assistant in the office. I hear they are often working more hours than they are actually putting on their time card. I believe in for-profit businesses this is against the rules. Is that the case for the church? By allowing the practice, are we open to problems down the road? I value your expertise!

DRF—There are no separate rules for reporting hours in business versus church for hourly workers. They are all treated the same. Non-exempt employees are all in the same class, “non-exempt.” 

A worker cannot volunteer to do more work in their area. This leads to abuse because people are told or expected to “volunteer” more hours. If a person works in their assigned area, they must be paid.

The only way that a non-exempt employee can volunteer is to serve in an entirely different part of church life. For example a high school administrative assistant can sing in the choir or serve in children’s VBS. This must be voluntary and the service have no bearing on their job. The high school assistant cannot go on a high school retreat and “help” without being paid.

Your church is breaking the labor laws and regulations. If reported, the church would be subject to a complete review of all wages paid for every employee for the last one to three years. There would be a fine and back payment would need to be made.

I would suggest that your church immediately correct the situation. Pay the unpaid wages.