Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Minimum Wage and Overtime
New York court rules Episcopalian church custodian not entitled to overtime or minimum wage under FLSA.
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Key point 8-08.2. The Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that employers pay the minimum wage, and overtime compensation, to employees who work for an enterprise engaged in commerce. There is no exception for religious organizations, but there are exceptions for certain classifications of employees.
Key point 8-08.3. The Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that employers pay the minimum wage, and overtime compensation, to employees who are engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce. There is no exception for religious organizations, but there are exceptions for certain classifications of employees.

* A federal district court in New York ruled that a custodian who worked for an Episcopal church was not entitled to minimum wage or overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act since the church was not an "enterprise" and the custodian did not qualify for individual coverage. In 1982, a church hired a new custodian (the "plaintiff") to clean the church. The plaintiff worked seven days a week. On Sundays, he worked from 7 a.m. until services ended. On all other days he worked from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., though he often cleaned the church after evening services. His custodial duties included sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming the buildings and bathrooms, removing garbage, flushing the air conditioner, maintaining the boiler, and clearing the sidewalks of trash, leaves, and snow. The plaintiff was on-call at all hours if a problem arose with the electricity, plumbing, air conditioner, or boiler. When a new pastor was hired by the church in 1999, he increased the hours the plaintiff worked by requiring him to turn off the building's alarm at 7 a.m. and turn on the alarm after church functions concluded every evening.

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