Welcome to Employer News, a newsletter from The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). If you have any feedback or would like to subscribe to this newsletter, please let us know.

Vacancy dues eliminated, effective January 1

Beginning in 2019, congregations will no longer pay dues for the first 12 months that a minister member’s position is vacant. For congregations that may be struggling, the elimination of this payment frees resources to be directed toward other needs, such as a new roof or church school supplies. Some congregations might choose to put it toward mission work.

At the fall Board of Directors meeting, the Board of Pensions eliminated vacancy dues. The Board is pleased to be able to lift this burden for the congregations we serve.

Board expands eligibility for Sabbath Sabbatical grants

The Board has expanded eligibility for the Sabbath Sabbatical Support Grants to better serve ministers and the Church. Starting January 1, 2019, any Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) minister engaged in or supporting congregational ministry, such as interim ministers and mid council staff, may apply. These grants make possible personal and professional renewal.

Applicants will have to have been continuously enrolled in Pastor’s Participation (previously, the Traditional Program) for at least the past six years. Their effective salary may not exceed $80,000, and they will have to show financial need. Learn more about eligibility and applying.

Donation supports Marriage Equality Grants

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corp. has forwarded $45,000 it received as an anonymous donation to the Board to support Marriage Equality Grants. The Board established the grants last summer as a matter of justice to make whole same-gender domestic partners of Benefits Plan members who died before 2013. That year, same-gender domestic partners became eligible for child and spousal benefits, including the survivor’s pension. The Board earlier committed $45,000 from the Assistance Program to fund the grant program. Read more about Marriage Equality Grants.

Remind your employees to elect 2019 benefits

During annual enrollment, you can help make sure your employees will have the coverage they want for 2019. Start by checking whether your employees have submitted elections for 2019 benefits. Just log on to Benefits Connect, choose Manage Employees at the top of the page, and employees will display as either submitted or not submitted.

For those who have not submitted elections, check in to see if they have any questions or need help to elect benefits. Remind them to log on to Benefits Connect to make changes or elect benefits coverage for 2019 by midnight ET November 16.

Starting the first week of December, you will be able to view employee 2019 elections and costs on Benefits Connect and download that information as a spreadsheet for payroll purposes.

Creating a pipeline for ministry for the future of the PC(USA)

Building sustainable ministry is essential to the long-term vitality of our congregations. Yet, for years, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ordained fewer ministers each year. In 2017, ordinations increased, and Pathways to Renewal can help sustain this progress by bringing ministers younger than 40 into the Benefits Plan with the full benefits of Pastor’s Participation at substantially reduced dues.

Pathways to Renewal is designed to provide hope of renewed leadership to small congregations and nourishment to innovative ministries. Learn more about Pathways to Renewal and find out if your congregation is eligible.

Last chance for employees to answer the call

Your employees have only a few days left to answer the call and save at least $220 on their 2019 deductibles.* Encourage them to complete their challenges and record their doctor visits by Friday, November 16, so they can earn reduced deductibles. A reduced deductible means the Medical Plan will begin paying for covered expenses sooner.

A new year of Call to Health starts in December

After Call to Health ends November 16, calltohealth.org will remain available November 17-19 for employees and spouses to check their point totals, before closing November 20 to be refreshed for a new year. The site will reopen December 4 with new levels and more ways to earn and redeem gift cards. Employees and spouses with medical coverage through the Benefits Plan will be able to log on to explore the redesigned site and complete new challenges.

*Call to Health is available to members and their spouses enrolled in the active Medical Plan (the Highmark PPO or EPO); it is not available to members enrolled in Triple-S, GeoBlue, or the Medicare Supplement Plan.

Annual enrollment: Employees have until midnight ET November 16 to make changes or elect benefits coverage for 2019. Help make sure your employees will have the coverage they want.

Call to Health: The deadline for Call to Health is Friday, November 16. Encourage your employees to complete their challenges and record their doctor visits now.

If you have questions or need assistance, call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, or email us at memberservices@pensions.org.

If you have questions or need assistance, call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN)
Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, or email the Board.