5. Employee Benefits

A. Insurance Plans

Foothills participates in Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) health, long-term disability (LTD) and life/accidental death and dismemberment (Life/AD&D) Insurance Plans. These plans can be found on the UUA website: https://www.uua.org/finance/compensation/health/eligibility and here https://www.uua.org/finance/compensation/health/premiums. We participate in the High Deductible PPO (employees can choose to participate in the Health Savings Account).

We pay 100% of the cost of this coverage for employees working 30 to 40 hours per week (or .75 to 1 Full Time Equivalent, or FTE). Employees working 15 to 29 hours per week (or .36 to .73 FTE) qualify for coverage through the UUA plans at their own expense. Family members may be added to health or life insurance at employee’s expense. Long term disability insurance is available only to the employee. Any eligible employee may elect not to receive health insurance benefits, but such employee’s compensation will not be increased as a result.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) provides certain terminated employees and their covered family members the ability to continue coverage with the UUA Health Plan. COBRA typically lasts for up to 18 months.  Currently the monthly premium for COBRA is 2% greater than the cost of an active employee’s monthly premium.  Visit the UUA website for specific information related to COBRA coverage.

Upon termination, employees have 31 days from termination to apply to port their Life/AD&D coverage.  LTD insurance may sometimes be carried during a gap in employment.  Contact the UUA to learn about requirements.

B. Dental and Vision Insurance

Group dental/vision insurance is available to eligible employees through the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), with coverage at the employee’s cost.  In keeping with the UUA, Foothills currently defines eligible employees as those who work at least 750 hours per year.  Employees are eligible to gain coverage on their first day of work.  However, eligible employees must enroll within the first 60 days from the hire date to avoid having to submit evidence of insurability or, for dental/vision insurance, having waiting periods for certain services. Specific plan information is available on the UUA website. Family members may be added at the employee’s expense.

COBRA dental/vision coverage continuation election/refusal materials will be sent to the employee once UUA has been notified of their end of service.

C. Retirement Plan

Foothills participates in the UUA 401(k) Plan.  The Church will contribute 10% of the employee’s annual compensation for all eligible employees.  Eligible employees may also make voluntary employee contributions.  Specific and up-to-date plan details regarding eligibility, annual contribution limits, and investment options are available on the UUA website.  Find details here: https://www.uua.org/finance/compensation/retirement.

Eligible employees are currently defined as those who are employed 1,000 hours or more per year, who have reached the age of 18, and who have completed one year of service with any one or combination of UUA organizations, may be enrolled as participants in the UUA 401(k) on the first day of the month after meeting these requirements.  A year of service is defined as a twelve-month period in which an employee completes at least 1,000 hours of paid employment.  All participants have an immediate vesting and non-forfeitable interest in their assets in the Plan. Employees should consult with the UUA Plan administrator and their financial or tax advisor regarding options for managing their UUA 401(k) upon termination.

D. Paid Time-Off

Regular employees working a minimum of 20 hours per week are eligible for paid time off based on their length of service and adjusted by their FTE rate, as follows:


Years of Employment                                                     Amount of PTO


Throughout the 1st year                                               2 weeks of PTO at their FTE rate


From 1 – 3 years                                                3 weeks of PTO at their FTE


After the 3 year anniversary -5 years       4 weeks of PTO at their FTE rate


More than 5 years                                                           5 weeks of PTO at their FTE rate


A week, for the purposes of PTO, is considered an employee’s standard work schedule within the (1.G) work-week established in this Handbook.

An employee earns their PTO upon the anniversary date of their employment.  For example, upon hire, an employee has immediately earned up to 2 weeks of PTO for their entire first year of employment.  Upon their 1st anniversary date, they are eligible for 3 weeks per year of employment.  Upon their 3rd anniversary date, they are eligible for 4 weeks per year.  After their 5th anniversary, they are eligible for 5 weeks per year.

An employee is eligible for using their PTO after 90 days of employment.  Use of PTO hours must be requested in writing and approved by the employee’s supervisor as much in advance as possible.  Employees are expected to consider the Church schedule and the needs of the Church when requesting time off. Employees may not take PTO that has not been approved by their supervisor and any unapproved PTO may be considered an employee’s absence without notice (“no call/no show”) and is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including immediate termination.

Upon written request, an employee may carry over available (earned, not used) PTO hours from one anniversary year to the next with a maximum of 2 weeks.  All other available PTO hours will be forfeited at the beginning of the employee’s anniversary year. For example, if an employee has just passed their 4th anniversary, they are eligible for 4 weeks of PTO.  If they use only 1 of these weeks during that year, they can still only carry over 2 into the following year, so that the maximum PTO after their 5th anniversary is 7 weeks.

Please note, any hired/non-called ordained clergy are to receive PTO at the level described by the UUMA or as outlined in their letter of agreement.

In the event of an employee’s termination or resignation, any PTO earned but not used will be paid in the employee’s final paycheck.

PTO hours earned and PTO hours taken shall be tracked in the Church bookkeeping system and will appear on an employee’s paycheck.

Employees are required to inform their supervisor of their used PTO time, either on their timesheet or by email notification.  The supervisor will inform the bookkeeper for accurate reflection on the paycheck.

E. Holiday Pay

Foothills Unitarian Church typically observes the following paid holidays for employees: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after, and Christmas Day.

All regular employees working a minimum of 20 hours per week receive holiday pay at the calculated average work day hours according their FTE.

In the event any of the above holidays occur on Saturday, outside the regularly scheduled workweek, the holiday will be observed on the preceding Friday. In the event the holiday occurs on Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as the holiday. All employees must be present the working day preceding or following the holiday to qualify for holiday pay, unless excused on PTO. All planned working time on a recognized holiday must be authorized in advance by the employee’s supervisor. Any employee who works a normal schedule of hours on a holiday will receive straight time pay or will receive compensatory time off.

F. Additional Leave

Written requests for extended leaves of absence must be approved by the employee’s supervisor in advance of the first day of absence. The exact nature of the leave and its anticipated length must be included in the written request. PTO must be used first for any leave of absence; after which the time is considered unpaid leave.

Employees are expected to return to work upon expiration of the leave as granted or to notify his/her supervisor as soon as possible if it is not feasible to return on that date.

With the possible exception of military leave, an employee is not guaranteed reinstatement to his/her position if they return to work more than 12 weeks from the first day of absence.  Any combination of leaves of absence may not exceed 12 weeks in any 12 month period.  The 12 month period is defined as the period of time that begins with the first day of leave and ends twelve months later.


In the event of the birth or adoption of a child, employees will be granted an additional 6 weeks of PTO at their FTE rate. Employees must be employed for at least one year to request parental leave benefits. The maximum parental leave that may be granted, including both PTO and unpaid leave is eight weeks in any twelve-month period. Additionally, when unpaid leave begins, the change in employment status may result in the loss of benefits as described in this Handbook, unless the employee elects to pay for benefit premiums.  It is the employee’s responsibility to check with the Administrator regarding disposition of benefits during unpaid leave.

Military Leave

Employees who are members of the uniformed services of the United States (including the National Guard or other reserve unit) will be granted unpaid leaves of absence in accordance with state or federal law to perform military duties on a voluntary or involuntary basis. Requests for military leave should include verification of the duty call from military authority, the date the leave is to commence and the expected date of return.  Employees may choose to use any earned PTO time for all or part of the period of military service. Military leaves of absence in excess of accrued PTO will be without pay. In accordance with applicable law, eligible employees will be reinstated to the same job upon returning from an authorized military leave of absence.

Bereavement Leave

Employees working a minimum of 20 hours per week may be eligible for bereavement pay for the death of a member of the employee’s immediate family.  The Ministers and the Administrator have discretionary authority to grant a reasonable period of leave with pay, typically four days, in the event of a death in the immediate family.  The immediate family includes a staff member’s spouse, mother, mother-in-law, father, father-in-law, brother, sister, child, or grandparent.  Bereavement pay is calculated based on an employee’s regular wage rate at the time of absence, excluding overtime.  Employees may not receive bereavement pay unless they were actually scheduled to work on the day(s) for which bereavement leave was requested.

Jury Service

Employees are encourage to fulfill their civic duty and serve on jury duty when summoned.  A summons is usually received well in advance of the date when an employee would need to report, and employees are expected to notify their supervisor of this summons as soon as it is received.  Employees called for jury duty will receive regular pay for the first three days of jury duty if they were scheduled to work. For jury duty in excess of three days, employees will receive the difference between jury duty pay and their regular pay up to a maximum of 120 hours.

Family Medical Leave

In the case of Family Medical Leave (as qualified by the Family Medical Leave Act), employees working at least 20 hours each week will receive up to an additional ten days of Paid Time Off.

G. Use of and Changes in Employee Handbook

Foothills Unitarian Church intends to comply fully with all laws governing employment practices. If any of the policies or practices outlined in this Employee Handbook are or become unlawful for any reason, the applicable law will be followed.

Foothills reserves the right to make changes to its policies without prior notice. Any additions, deletions, or changes in the policies or practices described in this Employee Handbook shall become effective immediately upon notice to employees, unless stated otherwise. Employees will receive notice of an update to the Handbook, as well as an updated link to the google doc by way of either email or slack communications.

Any suggestions, questions, or comments concerning Foothills’ benefits, policies, practices, or work rules should be directed to the Senior Minister. The policies stated in this Employee Handbook, however, are expected to be followed unless the Senior Minister has approved a change or exception in writing.

As an internal personnel management document, this Employee Handbook is considered to be proprietary and confidential. Except in connection with Foothills Unitarian Church’s business, the content of the Employee Handbook may not be reproduced for any purpose without the specific knowledge and express written authorization of the Senior Minister.

Updated on September 12, 2018

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