Can a church have different PTO policies for job categories?

Can a church have different PTO policies for job categories?

Employers can generally offer different PTO benefits to different employees as long as there is a valid and non-discriminatory business reason for doing soWe would recommend mentioning your policy variations in your employee handbook to be clear on the subject. With that said, it is important to keep in mind that while employers have a great deal of discretion with the administration of PTO benefits, there are certain provisions governing retirement and health insurance benefits for highly compensated employees and executives. Additionally, if state or municipal law has any mandated sick leave benefits, you’ll want to ensure that those are offered to all employees in accordance with the law.

When structuring a PTO policy that offers different benefits to different employees, it is critical that there is a valid business reason for the difference and no illegal reasons behind the distinction, such as gender for example. You’ll want to ensure that the categories of employment are clearly defined in your policy when differentiating between employment classes that are/aren’t eligible for a benefit such as PTO. This clear distinction assists in mitigating the risk of future claims that someone should have been eligible for a benefit that they were not eligible for.

Like with all other employment actions, it is important to be consistent in your treatment of all similarly-situated employees. Distinctions among groups of similarly situated participants in an employment benefit should be based on bonafide employment-based classifications consistent with the employer’s usual business practice. In most cases, such classes cannot be as specific as detailed above, as it looks like you are picking and choosing who gets the benefit. However, it could be something like management vs. non-management. or something similar.

This policy should be distributed to employees in the employee handbook and you should always obtain a signed handbook acknowledgment indicating the employee’s understanding of your internal policies and benefit offerings, as described in the handbook. The acknowledgment should be retained in the employee’s personnel file.

Original content by This information is provided with the understanding that Payroll Partners is not rendering legal, human resources, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from a lawyer, HR consultant or other professional.

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