Jump directly to the content

FLSA and the Ministerial Exception

A minister's claims to the minimum wage and overtime wage cannot be resolved by civil courts.


Key point 8-08.7. Ministers who are employed to perform ministerial services, and who are paid a salary that meets or exceeds the "salary test," are professional employees exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Ministers not compensated on a salary basis, or who earn a salary below the salary test, may not be covered by the Act. Department of Labor regulations suggest that the Act does not apply to any ministers, and a few federal courts have ruled that the so-called ministerial exception prevents the application of the Act to ministers.

A federal appeals court ruled that the so-called "ministerial exception" prevents clergy from suing their employing church for violating the minimum wage or overtime pay requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. A married couple were ordained ministers of the Salvation Army, with the rank of captain, assigned to be the administrators ...

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

Related Topics:
  • January 1, 2009

Related ResourcesVisit Store

Understanding Wage and Hour Laws
Understanding Wage and Hour Laws
Learn about the Fair Labor Standards Act and how it applies to churches.
Essential Guide to Employment Issues for Church Boards
Essential Guide to Employment Issues for Church Boards
Covers selection and screening, dispute resolution, terminations, discrimination, and minimum wage.