Lay Pension Plans

Lay Pension Plans

Does your church practice fair employment?

This may seem like a strange question, but have you ever thought about how your lay employees are treated? Does your church comply with state and federal labor law, with national canons, and diocesan policy? Are there written employment policies? Are employees evaluated at least annually based on a written job description? Do they receive fair wages and benefits? Are they paid for all the hours they work and do they get the appropriate rest breaks and a lunch period?

The Lay Pension Plan
Resolution A138 and the related canon passed by the 76th General Convention established a Church-wide Lay Employee Pension System to be administered by the Church Pension Fund (CPF). The resolution states that employers who are subject to the authority of the Church and who have eligible lay employees (employees scheduled for at least 1,000 hours of compensated work annually) must provide those lay employees with a pension. Doing so will be a matter of canon law January 1, 2013. 

Resolution C042 of the 77th General Convention establishes a special set of rules specifically for school which allows schools to raise the levels of contribution to employee pensions over a 6 year period depending on their current level of contribution. 

The first question
Do you have eligible lay employees? – will help determine whether the resolution applies to you at this time. If you have lay employees working 20 or more hours a week (which is about what 1,000 hours works out to), then the answer is yes, you have eligible lay employees. If you do not have lay employees working 20 or more hours a week, then the answer is no, the resolution does not apply to your church or institution at this time.

To learn more about the resolution and the lay employee pension plans offered by Church Pension Fund (CPF), visit the Lay Pensions Resource Center. You can sign up for webinars hosted by CPF, or take an interactive tutorial. You can compare lay pension plans, and review the employer guides to the two different types of pension plans offered by CPF. You can also use a simple pension contribution calculator to determine the possible cost of implementing the resolution for your congregation or school – in total, per pledging unit, or per student in the case of a school – so you can share that information with your vestry or board.

As Episcopalians we have a responsibility, which we accept by virtue of our baptismal vows, to behave morally and ethically in all of our affairs. Governmental laws and church policies provide substance and form to guide us in carrying out this responsibility but we all know what is right and what is wrong. It shouldn’t require pages of regulations and policies to inform right relationship with our employees.


- The Lay Pension Resource Center
- How To Enroll Employees
- Pension Contribution Calculator
- "Workplace Values in the Episcopal Church"

Sources: The Church Pension Fund

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