Paying Your Minister
Guidelines for Remuneration
The Guidelines for the Remuneration in Specified Ministries have been prepared to assist Treasurers of Appointing Bodies including Congregations, Presbyteries and Synod Boards. They are based on the Synod’s By-Laws and cover areas including remuneration, rules surrounding the Ministers Expense facility (MEF), taxation treatment of religious practitioners, support funds, superannuation, travel, housing, resource allowance, leave and other benefits and entitlements which are oversighted by the Synod’s Governance, Nomination and Remuneration Committee (GNRC).
- The Placement Entitlements Guide outlines the various entitlements that apply to each type of placement.
- When arranging, booking and paying a Casual Preacher, the Stipend and Allowance Information Table should be used. Casual preaching and payment rates are aligned to the Lay Ministry Worker Remuneration Guidelines 2016 – 2017.
- The Furniture Requirements Procedure sets out the basic requirements, expectations and obligations of both parties, the Congregation and the Minister, in regards to the provision and maintenance of a Minister's residence or manse.
- The Ministers Support Fund assists Congregations with costs including Long Leave, Workers Compensation Insurance, Maternity and Sick Leave. The Fund is financially supported by contributions collected from the Congregation.
- Payments must be arranged by the Payroll Bureau Service to ensure that an annual payment summary will be issued and that all other taxation requirements are met.
Questions and Answers
- Do you have questions about the Minister's Resource Allowance? Click here for FAQs
- Do you have questions about the Minister's Expense Facility? Click here for FAQs
A range of allowances are applicable to Ministers including:
- Vehicle Standing Costs
- Residence Benefit; and
- Resource Allowance
The maximum level of each allowance is reviewed annually and can be paid tax-free into the Minister’s Expense Fund.
There are different types of travel allowances available to Ministers depending on the type of placement.
The purpose of the allowance is to assist the Minister to purchase resources such as books, and training materials or programs that relate to their ongoing education in Ministry.
Do you have questions about the Minister's Resource Allowance? Click here for FAQs.
A number of compulsory payments or levies are required to be made by ordained Ministers and the Congregation.
They are the:
- Minister’s Support Fund; and the
- Uniting Church in Australia Beneficiary Fund (if the Minister is not paying in to a Superannuation Fund),
In addition there is an optional payment for the Home Endowment Fund.
The Ministers Support Fund assists Congregations with costs including Long Leave, Workers Compensation Insurance, Maternity and Sick Leave. The Fund is financially supported by contributions collected from the Congregation.
The Uniting Church in Australia Beneficiary Fund is a plan in the Mercer Super Trust MT346. Contributions are required from the Congregation as well as the Minister.
Membership is not compulsory and Ministers may choose to contribute to a Superannuation fund instead. Where the Minister chooses to be in a Superannuation fund the same level of contribution applies as to the Beneficiary Fund.
Retired Ministers who were previously a member of the Beneficiary Fund are able to contribute, however they will be assigned to a different category of the fund.
Further information about the Beneficiary Fund, including contact details, are available from the Mercer Super Trust MT346.
Membership of the Uniting Church in Australia Home Endowment Fund is no longer compulsory for Ministers.
Further information about the Home Endowment Fund is available from here.
Payments or contributions to the MSF and Beneficiary Fund via direct debit or EFT can be arranged with Synod Finance by completing and submitting this form.
The amount of monthly contributions is updated annually and outlined in the Stipend and Allowances Information Table.
The Beneficiary Fund (personal contribution) required from the Minister is taken from their post-tax stipend payments when processing their monthly payroll. The amount of monthly contributions is updated annually and outlined in the Stipend and Allowances Information Table.
The Home Endowment Fund is part of UCA Funds who can be contacted on 1800 996888 or by emailing email@example.com Membership of this fund is optional. The amount of monthly contributions is updated annually and outlined in the Stipend and Allowances Information Table. If your Minister is paid by our PBS this payment can be deducted from their remuneration and remitted to Synod Finance to be transferred to the fund.
There is specific legislation dealing with the taxation treatment of stipends and allowances paid to Religious Practitioners. The amendments ensure that Religious Practitioners (Ordained Ministers) who are not employees at common law will be treated in the same way as employees for income tax purposes.
More information is available from the Australian Taxation Office. If you are unsure you should seek advice from your external Accountant.
Synod policy allows ministers to elect to place up to 30% of their minimum stipend, plus 100% of their allowances into a “Minister's Expense Facility” (MEF). This has previously been known as the MBA or MEA (Minister’s Benefit Account or Minister’s Expense Account).
Detailed information about the use of the MEF can be found under Section 5 of the Guidelines for the Remuneration of Specified Ministries.
There are very strict ATO rules around the operation of these accounts so it is important all parties are aware of these guidelines and seek advice if they are unsure. Please note that terms Congregation and appointing body below are interchangeable.
Do you have questions about the Minister's Expense Facility? Access FAQs here.
Under the By-Laws a Minister in placement is entitled to a residence.
Where a Congregation or a Presbytery owns a manse, Ministers can be accommodated in the manse and the Appointing Body is responsible for maintaining the property.
Part-time Ministers in a placement equal or greater than 50% are also entitled to the provision of a manse.
Where the Minister chooses to reside in their own home instead of a manse, access to the Residence Benefit in lieu can be negotiated with the appointing body.
The Furniture Requirements Procedure sets out the basic requirements, expectations and obligations of both parties, Congregation and Minister, in regards to the provision and maintenance of a Minister's residence or manse.
When a Minister retires the Synod aims to ease transition.
Ministers must first notify their Congregation or appointing body in writing of their intention to retire. The appointing body must then inform the Synod Standing Committee by contacting the Secretariat.
The Synod Secretariat will initiate a letter to the Minister advising of their entitlements on retirement, and the various processes that need to be dealt with including;
- Provision of Relocation Assistance covering all or part of their removal costs to their place of retirement (one move)
- Finalisation of their Beneficiary Fund membership
- Finalisation of any Home Endowment Fund loans and any entitlements owing
- Management of any outstanding long leave balance
- Finalisation of any Housing or Car Loans obtained via Uniting Financial Services
- Provision of new contact details for the Synod Directory for retired Ministers
For further information on matters relating to retirement please contact the Secretariat.
Congregational superannuation contributions for non-retired Ministers (in lieu of Beneficiary Fund payments) are made in the normal manner. They are to be paid by the Congregation at the same rate as the Beneficiary Fund. Stipend and Allowances Information Table
An additional personal contribution is not required.
Employer contributions for retired Ministers apply where the total agreed taxable remuneration is greater than $450 per month. Superannuation is to be paid at 9.5% of the total agreed taxable remuneration OR 9.5% of the taxable (70%) component.
If the Minister does not nominate a Superannuation Fund, the Synod’s default fund is NGS Super.
All Ordained Ministers in placement are covered by the Synod for workers compensation purposes. The premium is paid from a portion of contributions received through the sickness and accident component of the Ministers Support Fund Levy.
This policy only covers Ordained Ministers. Separate policies are held for NSW and the ACT.
For retired Ministers doing supply the Congregation must pay a fee of $75 per month to the Ministers Support Fund to provide temporary coverage for them. This payment should be sent to UR Finance quoting the Ministers reference number (obtainable from UR Finance or Secretariat).
To make a claim please contact WSS Services for advice.
If the Congregation employs staff, including lay persons in Ordained Minister’s roles, the members of the Church Council as the legal employer are required to hold workers compensation cover for their employees. The Ordained Minister in placement should not be included in any wage declarations submitted by the employer to the insurer. Guidance on obtaining workers compensation insurance cover should be sought from WSS Services.