Many churches don’t have a personnel manual or their manual is seriously outdated. And that is fine so long as it passes this test: will whatever you have stand up in court?
Personnel manuals are founded in personnel law which is written by Congress and the Department of Labor. If a church’s manual does not keep up with the current laws, then the church is open to a lawsuit. AND, if a church does not abide by its own manual, then every judge will rule harshly against the church.
A personnel manual is a living document – it must be reviewed every year and updated at least every other year. Not doing that minimal step is a failure by management. Most policies will remain the same such as employee benefits, grievance guidelines, etc. But as times change, new policies must be written and old policies changed.
For instance, most churches do not have a “social media policy” which instructs their staff on how to write about their church and/or boss on social media sites and blogs. Does your church have an updated weapons policy? What about political statements and statuses advocated publicly by lay leaders and staff?
The personnel manual template at www.churchbestpractices.org has
- Typical employee classifications which meet legal standards
- Common benefits for employees (while salaries get an employee inside the door, benefits KEEP employees inside)
- Dozens of other policies which help churches, their staffs, and their members
This manual is only $30. It is updated annually to ensure its compliance with the latest legal and tax changes. This manual is a great starting point for churches needing to develop a manual scratch or to update their current one. It will save hours of research and writing. By using this manual, a church will need only to add sections that are specific to their situation and/or remove non-legal policies which don’t apply to them.