What benefits does your church offer its employees?

This question tends to pop up a lot in job interviews—often right after the interviewer asks “Do you have any questions for me?”. And employee benefits are a fair thing to inquire about; most of us would like to know the perks that a job will give us before we agree to sign on with a new church. It’s important, then, to be able to answer this question and give the kinds of answers that employees like to hear. In other words: to know what benefits employees value most. Read on to learn about 6 employee benefits that can attractive to employees. If you don’t currently offer these incentives to your staff, you may want to think about doing so.

Work satisfaction has taken a new form in the last few decades, and according to Gallup’s annual State of the American Workplace report, 51% of workers are ready to leave their current jobs. 

Nearly one-third of an employee’s compensation can be in the form of benefits. Here are the top benefits.


After salary, this benefits staple is of the utmost importance to many employees of the church and typically includes medical, dental, vision and/or life insurance coverage for employees and their families. In recent surveys, health insurance was one of the two most wanted employee benefits, along with paid time off.

Paid time off

Whether it’s for vacation, illness or bereavement, PTO — personal time off — is highly valued by employees and a great way to combat burnout. Two weeks is standard for new hires, but three or more weeks of PTO can be hard to pass up.

Retirement savings plans

A tax-advantaged 403(b) plan can be an excellent way to motivate employees to save for retirement. Offering to match contributions up to a certain amount is a big plus in the eyes of workers.

Maternity/paternity leave

Employees want to feel like they can pursue career goals following the birth or adoption of a child. Hence, many churches offer paid time off for new parents.

Professional development

Now more than ever, employees want opportunities for professional development, to master new skills and to grow into other roles. (This is especially important to millennials who are particularly concerned about career path options.) Funding training and continuing education can be incredibly beneficial to both employee and the church.

Tuition reimbursement/student loan assistance

The average college student graduated with more than $37,000 in student loan debt in 2016. Living with significant financial burdens can seriously hinder life choices, from moving to a new city, taking your dream job (with lower pay), and even starting a family. And while only 3% of churches offer student loan assistance, 48% of job seekers say they’d be more interested in a position if debt reduction were part of the package.  

All churches are a little different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to employee benefits. Only you can determine, from both a financial and a cultural standpoint, which ones you should provide to your staff. It can be a complicated subject.

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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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