February Meeting: The Organist as an Employee

Many church musicians lack the knowledge and skills to negotiate a fair contract with their churches. There are many reasons for this. There is an unspoken expectation that musicians should give their gifts for the glory of God, and to be focused on things like salary and benefits isn’t “spiritual”. Another reason is that most churches don’t have skilled human resources leaders who understand fair hiring practices. Many churches, currently challenged by their own financial shortfalls, are reluctant to compensate staff adequately for fear of operating in the red. For this reason, the Tacoma Chapter decided to dedicate its February program to negotiating a contract that compensates church musicians fairly and is current with state requirements.

The February chapter meeting, “The Church as an Employer”, was attended by Tacoma and Seattle chapter members, as well as leaders from area churches. Amy Heller, a human resources specialist, discussed overtime regulations, contract language, and sick and family leaves.

Amy Heller discusses contract negotiation during the February 2019 program

Two handouts from the meeting are reproduced below, including a sample job description from Grace Episcopal Church, and a resource list.

Handout: Sample job description


Handout: Resource list


There are two additional resources available, including a sample contract from Grace Episcopal Church, reproduced below, and an online guide provided by the National AGO site for calculating hours.


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