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Pastor, Church & LawMember access only

by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Employee Handbooks

§ 8.28
Key Point 8-28. Employee handbooks can provide employees with valuable information on the terms and conditions of their employment. However, they may also expose a church to an increased risk of liability. For this reason, it is important for churches to have an attorney prepare, or review, an employee handbook before it is adopted.

Most churches have adopted employment policies, either in a policy manual or as individual policies. Examples include policies addressing:

  • employee standards
  • social media
  • cell phone usage
  • expense reimbursements
  • overtime
  • privacy
  • personnel files
  • safety and security
  • insurance
  • compensation and benefits
  • discipline and dismissal
  • evaluations
  • intellectual property
  • conflicts of interest
  • leaves of absence

For many churches, policies change. Additions and modifications are common. Church leaders often assume that additions and changes automatically apply to current as well as future employees. ...

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