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Church Schools and the Minimum Wage

Court rules that church-run schools must pay the minimum wage.

• Does a church school have to pay its employees the "minimum wage"? Yes, concluded a federal appeals court in a significant ruling. A fundamentalist Baptist church in Virginia opened a private school in 1973 with a full-time curriculum that included instruction in the Bible and traditional academic subjects taught from a Christian perspective. For the first few years of the school's operation, teacher salaries were very low. To attract and retain teachers, the church began paying "salary supplements" to each teacher who was a "head of household." Between 1976 and 1986, all married male teachers received a salary supplement, but married women were not eligible to receive the supplement, since "the Bible clearly teaches that the husband is the head of the house, head of the wife, head of the family." Also, between 1976 and 1982, 91 persons who worked at the school as support personnel ...

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  • January 1, 1991

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