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FLSA and the Ministerial Exception

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

Federal
State:

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 ...

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

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Posted:
  • January 1, 2009

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