It probably does not happen often in a church setting, but from time to time situations may arise when some staff who are paid hourly need to work more than forty hours in a week. Maybe it is the fall ministry kick off season and support staff need to put in extra time to help with administrative activities related to programs getting started. Maybe there are extra events and the custodian needs to work some evenings or on Saturday.

How do you compensate these excellent servants when they go beyond their regular call of duty (and regular hours)?

  1. Overtime?
  2. Comp time?
  3. Volunteer/”Ministry” time (working off the clock)?

C is never the right answer because, 1) it is against the law, 2) God says that the laborer deserves his wages, and 3) we show value to our employees by treating them well, which includes fair compensation. Church employees might be hesitant to report the extra hours they sometimes need to work to get the job done well. Whether that is self imposed or someone has told them that the church does not allow overtime, you need to make sure there is clarity on this issue. Certainly you want to minimize overtime, but you must pay it when it is earned

A is always the right answer if a person works more than 40 hours in a week (a week is Sunday-Saturday, so weekend events are impacted by this). All hourly employees need to report actual hours worked each week and if those hours exceed 40, you need to pay them overtime. Sometimes events or other circumstances require long hours. One of the ways you show your appreciation for those long hours is by paying the overtime that is required and deserved.

B can be the right answer. If an event happens in part of a week, it is possible to have an employee work fewer hours on another day in the same week. However, any hours worked over 40 in a week must be compensated at time and a half. It is not allowable to give comp time in a different week (and report 40 hours for both weeks), even if it is in the same pay period.

If the budget is an issue, but a person needs to work 45 hours in a week to make an event happen, you can request that they work fewer hours in another week. However, they still need to report the 45 hours worked and receive overtime pay for that week. If they work fewer hours in a different week, they must report actual hours in both weeks even if both weeks are in the same pay period.

It is important that your staff feel valued. One significant way that you can communicate value is through words of encouragement and reminders of their important contribution to the work that you do. However, if those words are not backed up with monetary compensation when they occasionally put in long hours to help your ministry run smoothly, the words alone may ring hollow. Show value to your employees with both the words and the dollars that they deserve.