Employing people is a complex matter that is governed by a number of different levels of legislation.  This legislation changes on a daily basis so it is not possible to provide employers with access to template documents because they could be out-of-date tomorrow.  All queries regarding the employment of persons should be referred directly to the People and Culture team for guidance. 

Employers are the members of the individual Uniting Church organisation’s governing body.  In a:

  • Congregational setting – are members of Church Council
  • Presbytery setting – are members of Standing Committee
  • Institutional setting – are members of the Management Committee or Board as applicable.
  • Synod Board setting – are members of the Board.


The Synod Employment Manual provides guidance to employers and employees on their obligations under prevailing employment legislation. Contact the Synod People and Culture team for guidance and to access the Synod Employment Manual.

In short yes.  It does not matter whether an employee is part-time or casual or only working for one day.  All employees need a contract of employment that details the conditions of their employment.

Please contact the Synod People and Culture team, who will arrange for a contract of employment to be drawn up for you.


No.  Casual employees are itinerant workers who do not know when they are going to work next.  They have no expectation of further employment.  Any person who works regular and systematic employment week-in week-out will be a part-time or full-time employee regardless of the number of hours or days of work per week.


In Australia the bulk of employees earning less than $139,000 pa (per annum) are covered by one of the 122 modern awards.  Most of the roles covered by an award are secular roles with a few exceptions. There is no opt-in or opt-out provisions related to Award coverage, so if a role falls within the classification structure of a modern award employers are legally obligated to comply with all the provisions of the relevant award at all times. Generally speaking those persons employed in lay ministry worker roles in Congregations are award-free employees and their conditions of employment are found in common law.  Regardless of whether a role is covered by an award or not, every employee in NSW and the ACT is covered by the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009.


No.  Ordained Ministers of religion are not employees under common law and employment legislation does not apply to them. The provisions of the Constitution and Regulations of the Church apply to them.   If a Ministry Leader and/or Worker is a lay person (not ordained) they are employees and prevailing employment legislation will apply to them in addition to the Constitution and Regulations of the Church.