For most business professionals, there is a societal assumption that the person will work at least 40 hours per week, on a somewhat predictable schedule (that the person will be in the office most weekdays- 5 days from 8 am to 5 pm, for example). But most pastors do not fit this assumption and will work more than that because of the demand of a religious professional (as opposed to an hourly employee) which is to work until the job is done.  Some estimate this range to be 50 to 65 hours per week.

For the purposes of this article, we will assume, as do other professional positions, that full-time is 40 hours per week, with the assumption that professionals will typically work 10-25 more hours per week. The 40 hours are somewhat regularly scheduled, and the 10-25 additional hours are unscheduled and as-needed.

Regular hours are those often scheduled: office hours, Sunday and other worship service times, Bible studies, meetings, confirmation classes, etc. Unscheduled hours often include retreats, emergency visits, social media (Facebook, etc.), after hours calls and e-mails, etc. For our purposes, the following are approximate guidelines:

  • Full-time = 40 hours per week “regular” hours + 10-25 additional unscheduled hours
  • 3/4-time = 30 hours per week “regular” hours + 10-20 additional unscheduled hours
  • 1/2-time = 20 hours per week “regular” hours + 10-15 additional unscheduled hours

Pastors often define their job, not in hours, but in number of days worked per week. Full-time pastors work 6 days a week, with one full day off during the week (usually Friday or Monday). Often pastors do not work every Saturday but are scheduled frequently for special events. Sunday is almost always a mandatory work day, and vacation is usually determined by Sundays. A part-time pastor will have more than one day completely off when no work is expected. For example:

  • For 3/4 time, 2 days per week will be off 
  • For 1/2 time, 3 days per week will be off 

No one model will work for every situation and each call should be part of the conversation between a call committee, Council and pastor. Congregations must be aware that calling a part-time pastor means a different model of ministry

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Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.

This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.

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