The issue of compensation for clergy and who does the negotiating varies from denomination to denomination. Here's a question from a candidate for ministry seeking advice about this process.
I am in the process of negotiating my first employment contract as a deacon now and priest later. My Episcopal diocese does not have a standard employment contract or curacy program, so there are no minimums. I am excited to be able to negotiate a contract that will be best for me, my family and the church, but I do not really know how to begin. I would love any advice that others have. I have printed out some contracts from other dioceses, but if anyone knows of a particularly good one, I would love to see it as well. Is there something the Matriarchs wish would have been in their first contracts? Is there something the Matriarchs wish would not have been in their first contracts?
At least one of our matriarchs corresponded directly with this candidate. Muthah, who blogs at Stone of Witness offers the following advice:
I would suggest that you talk to some one in the diocese as to what is the going rate for a curate in your area. The curate's salary is really at the mercy of the rector, however. You should be getting more because now that you are priested, you are doing more. But salaries are so dependent upon locale that it would difficult to say exactly what you should be getting. My suggestion is to talk to other curates in your diocese.
At the same time, many parishes today can't afford multiple clergy much less curates. Remember that you are still in a learning or apprentice position. Don't try to negotiate too much because you will seen as 'getting too big for your britches' even if you are terribly skilled. Also you need to check the local mean salary of the laity of your parish. (Check the local demographics) Be sensitive to what they make and the financial stability of the parish. If you do that, your parish will gift you with more than you expected. If however, you are not making enough to live on talk frankly with your rector.
But you should be negotiating some of the perks that are necessary for you to grow in your profession. Be sure you ask for continuing education time and expenses. Also you should negotiate a books/vestments allowance for your professional use and your vacation time.
Also, I would suggest that contracts are really worthless when what you want to do is serve.
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