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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
  • ministers of the Word and Sacrament working 20 or more hours per week
  • ministers working less than 20 hours per week
  • employees working 20 or more hours per week
  • employees working less than 20 hours per week

Within most of the primary benefit groups, you may create up to 10 separate classifications or groups, best established based on criteria like number of hours worked or length of service. You can move employees (assign them), with some limitations, to a different group within their primary benefit group; however, there are limitations on moving employees between primary benefits groups.

Importance of benefit groups

Assignment of benefit groups is important because employees elect benefits from the selections you make now. Setting up groups incorrectly may result in employees receiving coverage that requires unanticipated employer contributions or in unintentional discrimination. Keep in mind the following:

  • If you employ ministers (other than installed pastors) who work 20 or more hours per week, the Board urges you to provide benefits to this group through Pastor's Participation. If you choose Pastor's Participation for these ministers, it should apply to all ministers working 20 or more hours per week.
  • Benefits selections should support a position and not a specific person. Over time, the person in the position or the needs of that employee may change.
  • The Employer Agreement does not capture criteria for each benefit group, so it may help to document and save the criteria you use for each group for future years.

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 to avoid anything that might be viewed as discriminatory on the basis of age, sex, race, or ethnicity.