At least a pastoral separation agreement should refer to the following: in all cases, a Church that submits to pastoral separation should examine in depth the legal implications and manage the emotional and spiritual well-being of the former parish priest and the remaining collaborators and the Community throughout the process. Pastoral separation, especially involuntary resignation, is filled with legal implications and public relations nightmares if not managed properly, and an experienced Church advocate must be consulted. The pastoral employment contract should also be reviewed and/or offered to begin discussions, as certain provisions may be transposed into withdrawal. This article focuses specifically on one aspect of the pastoral separation process: the separation agreement and its effects. Decide if you want to provide outplacement services. Depending on the reason for the termination of employment, some companies offer outplacement services to laid-off employees to help them find alternative employment. If you separate on friendly terms and feel comfortable recommending that person to another church, outplacement services could potentially reduce the cost of paying the departure package by helping the employee find an appropriate replacement job elsewhere. Determine what should be included in the package by setting your budget and checking the paid benefits the employee receives. Often, the package includes full compensation, insurance premiums paid, the continuation of the contribution to the old-age pension and outsourcing benefits for the duration of the compensation contract.
Churches, in particular, should at least consider offering severance pay to a worker who involuntarily withdraws, because most church employees are not entitled to unemployment benefits. Determine the parameters of the employee`s severance pay. Is there a maximum amount of money that the Church will pay? Are they paid in lump sums or are the payments distributed? Will the Church stop paying if the employee finds a similar job elsewhere? If your church does not have unemployment insurance for employees, a redundancy package may be the right thing to do. Most people are surprised to learn that church employees are not entitled to unemployment benefits if they involuntarily lose their jobs. Reasons for pastoral separation may include the range of voluntary dismissal up to involuntary dismissal. Maybe the priest will take a job in another church or leave the ministry. Other times, poor performance, a change of direction of the ministry and funding can initiate a pastoral separation. In other more difficult cases, medical disabilities and/or unethical practices may warrant separation. As with anything that crosses with Denern and employer relations, it is always advisable to consult an expert in labour law to advise, establish a severance contract and implement a fair severance package and within the mandates of state law. In the event of a consensual separation, the Church may have weeks or months to repair a well-developed agreement, a communication plan and an approach to the current supervision of the outgoing pastor. In other less friendly situations, the Church may not have that luxury. That is why we advise us to prepare ahead for the possibility of a pastoral separation.
Spend a few weeks discussing some of these issues and where your leadership is in general. Talk to an experienced lawyer to develop a draft standard separation agreement that generally corresponds to their ecclesiastical culture, so that, in the worst case, you are ready to go faster. Legal Disclaimer: This article and related material were created specifically for churches seeking general information on pastoral separation agreements.