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Benefit Groups

The Employer Agreement categorizes employees in five primary benefit groups that may be close to but not match employment classifications you use:

  • installed pastors
  • other teaching elders working 20 or more hours per week
  • other teaching elders working less than 20 hours per week
  • other employees working 20 or more hours per week
  • other employees working less than 20 hours per week

Within most of the primary benefit groups, you may create up to five separate classifications or groups. These groups are best established based on criteria like number of hours worked or length of service. However you define eligibility for certain benefits and/or employer contributions, you should be careful that they reflect sound human resources policy and avoid anything that might be viewed as discriminatory on the basis of age, sex, race, or ethnicity.

You can move employees (assign them), with some limitations, to a different group within their primary benefit group.

For example, you will not be able to move employees into the installed pastors group. In addition, some changes to primary benefit groups may require other employment-related changes to be completed first; see Benefits Connect or call the Board for assistance.

Importance of Benefit Groups

Assignment of benefit groups is important. During annual enrollment, employees will elect benefits from the selections you make now. Assigning benefit groups can affect the cost of benefits for you and for employees.

Be sure to understand the possible implications of setting up groups incorrectly. For example, some employees may receive coverage that requires unanticipated employer contributions, or your group(s) may be unintentionally discriminatory. Keep in mind the following:

  • If you employ teaching elders who work 20 or more hours per week and who are not installed pastors, the Board urges you to provide benefits to this group through Pastor’s Participation. If you choose Pastor’s Participation for these teaching elders, it should apply to all teaching elders working 20 or more hours per week.
  • As you work through the benefits selection process, select benefits designed to support a position and not a specific person. Over time, the person in the position or the needs of that employee may change.
  • Document the criteria the employer determines for each benefit group. The Employer Agreement does not capture this information, and it may help to have this information during 2018 and when selecting benefits for 2019.

Human Resources Policy and Presbytery Guidelines: Follow sound human resources policy and local presbytery guidelines in being transparent, consistent, and fair when determining benefit groups. However you define eligibility for certain benefits and/or employer contributions, you should be careful that they reflect sound human resources policy and avoid anything that might be viewed as discriminatory on the basis of age, sex, race, or ethnicity.