There is a fine line drawn between businesses and ministries. When it comes to employee pay and compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), churches and ministries must be especially careful because of the nuances in the law that mean that certain things apply to the ministries and others might not.
One of the consistent aspects of the FLSA is overtime. Ministries of all sorts that have paid employees are required to pay overtime to employees who meet specific requirements. First, the person must not be an exempt employee. Second, the employee must work at least 40 hours per week. If both of those requirements are met, the employee is due 1.5 times their regular hourly wage.
While it is easy to think that the church won’t have to worry about claims related to unpaid overtime, it is always best to follow the law of the land and do what is right – pay your employees what they are due.
Some churches assume they are exempt from overtime laws because they might think that they don’t meet the requirements. One point that must be met is that the ministry must be engaged in interstate commerce. Meeting this can be as simple as ordering supplies from out of state or traveling to other states for church-related duties.
If you don’t pay your employees their due overtime wages, the church can end up with a big financial burden. A violation can lead to a fine of $10,000. That is for every violation, so it is best for you to ensure that your ministry is handling pay correctly.