203 – Employee Handbook (Parishes and Parish or Regional Schools)

Last Updated: 9/10/2019

I. Purpose

To establish the employment policies for employees of Parishes and Parish or Regional Schools.

II. Ecclesial Foundation

The dignity of work and respect for those who labor is deeply embedded in Catholic tradition, theology, canon law, and the Magisterial teaching of our bishops and popes. Scripture, for example, reflects on the fundamental rights of workers to just conditions, fair wages, and a period of rest (Deut 5:13-15; Deut 24:14-15; Sir 34:20-22; Jer 22:13; Matt 20:1-16), while also calling upon workers to share the fruits of their labor, practice integrity in their work, and not seek riches or an abundance of possessions (Deut 14:28-29; Luke 3:10-14; Luke 12:13-21).

The 1983 Code of Canon Law provides fundamental principles that also inform the rights and duties of those who work for the Church. These include:

1. True equality and dignity among all Christian faithful in which they cooperate in building up the Body of Christ in their own way (canon 208)

2. Right of all the faithful to make known their opinion on matters pertaining to the good of the Church, according to the knowledge, competence, and position they hold (canon 212 §3)

3. Right to protection from illegitimate harm to a person’s good reputation (canon 220)

4. Right to protect one’s own privacy (canon 220)

5. Right to due process by defending oneself and protecting one’s rights in a legitimate forum (canon 221 §1)

6. Obligation to take into account the common good and the rights and duties of others in the exercise of personal rights (canon 223 §1 ), and the obligation of Church authority to direct the exercise of personal rights in view of the common good (canon 223 §2)

7. Obligation and right of laity to acquire education and formation appropriate to their role in exercising the apostolate (canon 229 §1)

8. Obligation to fulfill service to the Church properly, conscientiously, eagerly, and diligently (canon 231 §1)

9. Right to decent remuneration, social support, and health benefits (for eligible employees) (canon 231 §2)

III. Definitions

“Archbishop” means the sitting Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis (or the appointed Apostolic Administrator).

“Canonical Administrator” means a priest appointed by the Archbishop to fulfill that office in accordance with the bylaws of the corporation.

“Parish” means a parish within the Archdiocese Territory that is Archdiocese-recognized as Catholic.

“Parochial Administrator” means a priest appointed as parochial administrator by the Archbishop.

“Parish or Regional School” means a Catholic school to which the Archbishop has assigned oversight to a Pastor, Parochial Administrator, or Canonical Administrator.

“Pastor” means a Parish pastor or a Parochial Administrator, as the case may be.

IV. Policy

1. Terms and conditions of employment, including offer letters, job descriptions, and staff handbooks (if applicable) must be observed in addition to the requirements of this policy.

2. On or before July 1, 2020, all Parishes and Parish or Regional Schools must implement an Employee Handbook that applies to its employees. Once implemented, the Employee Handbook supercedes all previous employment policies (e.g. JIE).

3. All Employee Handbooks must be submitted to the Employment Review Board (ERB) at least 60 days before implementation.

4. Any modifications made by a Parish or Parish or Regional School to an Employee Handbook must be clearly highlighted on the version provided to the ERB for review.

5. Sections of the Employee Handbook that are required are marked with an “R”. Sections marked with an “O” are optional and may be eliminated or modified. Sections marked “M” are required; however, only the underlined portions may be modified. All “R’s,” “O’s,” and “M’s” must be deleted from the version of the handbook that is provided to Parish employees.

6. Any future revisions of an Employee Handbook must be submitted to the ERB for review and approval.

7. When the Parish or Parish or Regional School implements the Employee Handbook, all previous employment policies are superceded (e.g. JIE) and no longer apply to that Parish or Parish or Regional School. No Parish or Parish or Regional School may adopt any policy that contradicts the Employee Handbook.

8. Pastors, Canonical Administrators, and employees with management responsibilities are to act in a manner that bears witness to the teachings and laws of the Catholic Church.

9. When a principle of Catholic teaching or canon law is in question in an employment situation, the Archbishop or his designee will provide a definitive interpretation of the principle at issue.

10. The following requirements ensure that Parishes and Parish or Regional Schools comply with all state and federal laws regarding the dismissal of an employee:

a. Parochial Administrators and persons appointed to administer Parishes in accord with canon 517 §2 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law may not dismiss any employee without the nihil obstat to do so from the Archbishop or his delegate.

b. Pastors and Canonical Administrators who are in the first year of their appointment may not dismiss any employee without the nihil obstat to do so from the Archbishop or his delegate.

c. Prior to dismissing an employee, a Pastor, Canonical Administrator, Parochial Administrator or a person appointed to administrator a Parish must seek and duly consider the counsel of an attorney who works in the area of employment law and is familiar with the provisions of the Employee Handbook. Insurance coverage for claims of wrongful dismissal is contingent upon first seeking and considering such advice.

d. Granting of the nihil obstat in sections 9 (a) and (b) will be contingent on the demonstration of an appropriate process of addressing the issues motivating the termination of the employee in accordance with the standards set forth in the Employee Handbook.

11. Failure to abide by this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment or, if applicable, canonical penalties for abuse of ecclesiastical office or harm caused to another through negligent exercise of ecclesiastical power (1983 Code of Canon Law, c. 1389).