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3 Big Changes for Ministry HR


3 Big Changes for Ministry HR

Ministry Human ResourcesThere are some big HR changes coming up in 2017. Is your ministry ready? Your ministry’s Human Resources department deals with unique issues that the secular business world doesn’t. That can mean challenges that don’t always have easy-to-find answers. In a world where HR problems and solutions are geared toward software companies, retail stores and other secular businesses, the answers that ministries seek can get lost in the crowd.

Things can get especially murky when you ask an average HR expert about how a ministry should handle a certain issue. Secular experts don’t always know about the challenges and solutions ministries like yours face every day. Questions like:

  • What protections are unique to ministries? Does a ministry need to do anything to make sure that it’s protected?
  • What notifications do churches need to provide their employees that are different than secular organizations?
  • How do you handle church mission trips?  Camp?  Lock-ins? Employees who volunteer?
  • How do time and attendance, exempt vs. non-exempt, overtime and minimum wage changes differ in the church world vs. the secular world?

Your ministry needs an HR expert that knows churches and works with them every day. If you don’t have that, your ministry could be at risk.

So, just what’s changing in HR for 2017? In short: a lot. Here are just a few of the biggies:

  • Federal overtime rules – These very important FLSA rules changed back on May 18, 2016. If you’re on the HR team for your ministry I’m sure you’ve probably gotten a lot of emails about the FLSA employee overtime ruling. Over the last few months we’ve heard from a lot of ministries that feel a little confused and concerned by the changes. If you’re reading this and you haven’t heard, the United States Department of Labor made a big change to who qualifies as an exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This new change means that some of your workers may soon be eligible for overtime pay. The ruling states that employees who make less than a certain monetary amount per year will be classified as non-exempt employees and be eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. They also must be paid the current minimum wage. What’s that mean for your ministry? For starters, you may need to review and re-classify your employees as exempt or non-exempt. You can read more about the new rules in our blog post on the FLSA changes.
  • Marijuana legalization As a Californian, you may already be aware that we have an initiative on this November’s ballot that will allow residents to vote for California Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative. Has your church’s employee handbook been updated with a drug usage policy? Your handbook should be immediately updated to match the guidelines you have set for other drug use, such as alcohol. Not sure about the essentials of a church employee handbook? Sign up for our HR Boot Camp 2016. Every attendee will leave with a model employee handbook that is specifically designed for California churches and will be up to date for all of the changes through 1/1/2017.
  • Cyber security – Okay, this one is more an HR, Operations and Security issue, but you should know that cyber criminals are looking for easy targets and churches are on the menu. That means the data your HR departments holds could be a target. So, ever wonder why hackers hack? There’s a whole list of reasons why, but very few of them are benevolent. Some hackers are looking to better understand computer and network security systems. They want to make data and devices more secure. These types of hackers are “white hat” hackers and they are actually computer security experts that attempt to break into computer systems and networks to see whether or not they are secure. Once they hack in, they report any vulnerability to the organizations that own them in order to prevent “black hat” or malicious hackers from exploiting them first. Black hat hackers are the “bad guys.” Their actions run the gamut from hacking web sites to promote a different worldview than that of the organization or church they’re trying to hack to monetary or data theft. The first scenario often revolves around erasing the web site’s content and replacing it with a social or political statement. However, in the case of the second scenario (and one that’s all too common) most of the time churches get hacked for theft, pure and simple. Again, it could be for money or it could be for information like social security numbers or names and addresses. Worried your church might be at risk for hacking? Check out our blog post on why hackers hack or visit churchcyberliability.com for more articles on cyber risk and cyberliability.

Managing HR and operations for a church is no easy task. A ministry HR expert might not make it any easier, but they can help make sure that a hard job doesn’t put you or your ministry at risk from litigation.

What do you think? Is your ministry’s HR department ready for 2017? What will your biggest challenge be? Tell us about it in the comments, below.

You can also talk to us any time about getting in touch with an HR expert that specializes in ministry by calling 800-843-6054.

If talking on the phone’s not your thing we’re also available on Facebook or Twitter.

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