Jump directly to the Content

Court Ruled Pastor Was an Employee of His Church for Purposes of Workers Compensation Coverage

Classification means the church must pay workers compensation insurance.

Last Reviewed: March 31, 2021
Montana
State:

Key point: In some states, clergy are considered to be employees protected by workers compensation law. This may mean that their employing church must pay workers compensation insurance for both clergy and lay employees.

The Montana Supreme Court ruled that a Lutheran pastor was an employee of his church for purposes of workers compensation coverage, and accordingly the church had to pay workers compensation insurance for him.

The church argued that its pastor was self-employed rather than an employee, and pointed out that the pastor reported his federal income taxes and social security taxes as a self-employed person. It also vigorously maintained that the relationship between a church and its pastor is a purely theological matter, and that by "calling" a pastor a church "does not set up a relationship of employer to employee, but rather a relationship of pastor to a congregation, ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • March 1, 1993
  • Last Reviewed: March 31, 2021

Related ResourcesVisit Store

CARES Act and CAA Table
CARES Act and CAA Table
A Side-By-Side Look at COVID-19 Economic Relief
Immigration & the Church
Immigration & the Church
Keep your church safe and legal and as you strive to serve the immigrant communities in your context.
Safe Hiring Practices for Churches
Safe Hiring Practices for Churches
Essential items to consider before you bring new clergy or staff on board.
Your Guide to Employee Handbooks
Your Guide to Employee Handbooks
If updated regularly, an employee handbook can offer valuable legal protection against civil court claims made by disgruntled staff members.