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Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by OTBT, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. OTBT Member

    Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    I just stumbled onto this 6 month old post in a nonprofit law blog. This is by far the most clearly written explanation of minimum wage applications to churches that I have read. It also has great references footnoted.

    Even though I firmly believe that scientology is not a church, the US Gov't does. Therefore, the issues raised in the article should apply to scientology.

    Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches - Nonprofit Law Blog

    ^ ^ ^ my favorite paragraph.

    Old related thread:

    http://forums.whyweprotest.net/291-...riest-wages-vs-scientology-staff-wages-48577/

  2. Anonymous Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    CoS refers to the Sea Org as a religious order and will therefore probably try to argue that Sea Org members are not employees.
    Dr. Frank Flinn has written a declaration for the CoS in which he compares the Sea Org with other religious orders and tries to downplay any kind of abuse, prison like conditions, punishment, underpayment etc. as acceptable religious practice, which is common to many religious orders:
    http://abc.net.au/4corners/special_eds/20100308/scientology/docs/Dec_Flinn.pdf
  3. churchlady Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    In many protestant churches, the pastor's salary is voted upon by the congregation. The pastor pays income tax, etc. and gets benefits, pension, etc.

    The other employees, office workers, maintenance, etc., are paid an hourly wage just like any other worker in America. In the case of my church, a committee reviews any hiring or firing, raises, etc.

    Does each scientology church publish an annual report with a profit and loss page and complete disclosure of every penny in and out the door? I didn't think so.
  4. Smurf Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    There are paid & unpaid priests & church workers in the Catholic Church. If the church is diocesan, under the management of the diocese, the priest & workers are paid a salary.

    If a church is run by a religious order (ie., Benedictines, Trappists, Jesuits, etc.) the priests and workers are not paid because they've taken a vow of poverty. All tithes & contributions from parishioners goes to the religious order, which in most cases, pays a small stipend to its members, reminiscent of how the Sea Org operates.
  5. OTBT Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    Points taken. Although I would love to see dox for any "vow of poverty" that Sea Org staff, or Org and Mission staff take.
  6. andonanon Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    Publication 17: Social Security and Other Information for Members of the Clergy and Religious Workers

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p517.pdf

    IRS publication about such things.
  7. Anonymous Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    As I understand it, Sea Org members are volunteers, and as such are not subject to minimum wage, OSHA, and labor-standard regulations. That's what the nice lady at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics told me, anyway.

    I am not sure how this works in other countries.
  8. OTBT Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    According to Scientology, all Sea Org are contracted employees, not volunteers. Old thread, for reference:

    http://forums.whyweprotest.net/249-goldbase/sea-org-legally-binding-employment-contract-42348/

    Screen shot from the current Scientology Today website, where the above quote is taken from:

    The Ministry of the Scientology Religion

    ministrycomp.jpg
  9. andonanon Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    I also believe they are religious workers (employees) and not volunteers, but I found this interesting post on exscn.

    SEA ORG VOLUNTEER - Ex Scientologist Message Board

    Perhaps recently the cult is trying to reclassify them because they feel some liability due to the Headley case?
  10. OTBT Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    Yes, I agree they are trying to classify their staff as Volunteers. I keep waiting for them to remove that web page (screen shot posted above), but its still online.

    They have changed the wording in their spam PR releases:

    http://forums.whyweprotest.net/15-media/daily-kos-breaking-scientology-post-62615/

    Compare that new wording with the Scientology Today web site wording:

  11. sci and tell Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    Class V org staff must live off site. There is no way any government worker could imagine these people took a vow of poverty.

    A volunteer wouldn't live on site and sign a billion year contract. A volunteer by nature implies a coming and going, an ability to volunteer one's time charitably and withdraw it if otherwise busy. Sea Org members cannot come and go (physically restrained by schedules, musters, and fences).
  12. BigBeard Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    As a long time National/State Park volunteer, I can tell you the "nice lady" is wrong regarding OSHA regulations and volunteers.

    When "on duty" compliance with all those pesky Federal & State regulations is mandatory, whether volunteer or paid.

    BigBeard
  13. anonhuff Member

  14. andonanon Member

  15. Zak McKracken Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    Wouldn't a "vow of poverty" be out exchange?


    antifield2.jpg
  16. Anonymous Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    You can see typical staff contract language here, it claims that one is joining a religious order, and also, for good measure, that one is an unpaid volunteer: Scientology Fact Sheet: Sample Staff Contract

    Half of the language in those contracts is unenforceable BS, designed to fool staff members (who have agreed to not bring lawyers into any disputes), but one would still have to show that it really was an employment relationship. That web page above is a good example of doin that rite.
  17. OTBT Member

    Re: Minimum Wage Requirements as they Apply to Churches

    For comparison, here is a Catholic document about employment policies and pay for their various staff. Compare this with Scientology's employment contracts.

    http://www.diocesephoenix.org/policies/HRPolicy/HRPolicyWeb/pdf/EmploymentClassification.pdf

    You can see the Catholic Diocese very much treating employees humanely, according to law, and with benefits.

    And no, I'm not Catholic, this doc is simply for comparison to scientology employees.

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