Compensation and Benefits

Wage and Salary Administration, Benefits


It is the policy of Dwell to provide a pay process that ensures fair and consistent pay practices, compensates staff on the basis of their contribution to the common mission, complies with applicable laws and regulations, acknowledges financial resource limits of Dwell, and is administratively efficient.

The salary administration process at Dwell fully incorporates the biblical principle that "a worker is due his wages," while acknowledging that the Bible provides only general guidelines to determine why and how much an employer should pay its staff. Dwell will follow general practices consistent with biblical teachings to fairly compensate its staff.

While all Dwell positions involve work that is honorable and worthwhile, Dwell recognizes that the requirements, responsibilities and expectations of its paid staff vary significantly. For this reason, ranges of pay levels reflect both the nature of the work performed as well as the competency of the worker demonstrated in the performance of the work.

All regular full-time and part-time positions will be clearly defined with a written description and consistently evaluated according to a system which differentiates the value of one position from another according to, but not entirely limited to, the following criteria: Decision Authority & Impact of Errors, Functional Expertise, Work Complexity, Planning & Organizing Skills, Interpersonal and Communication Skills, Enterprising Competencies and Personal Character Requirements.

As a result of the evaluation, each position will be assigned to one of six grades. Each grade has an associated pay range that establishes a framework for attracting and retaining a qualified staff by reflecting a sensitivity to external labor market rates, while not encouraging a love of money. The grades and pay ranges for each year are available from the Human Resources Department. The categories of employees are:

A Clerical / Custodial / Internships
B Support / Administrative
C Professional / Manager
D Director / Advanced Technical
E Division Leadership, Senior Sphere Leadership
F Church (Top, Senior Pastor) Leadership

Employees will be informed by their supervisors of the salary grade to which their position is assigned.

Overtime Pay

Dwell classifies positions as 'exempt' or 'nonexempt' for purposes of pay practices.

Employees in positions classified as nonexempt based on the Fair Labor Standards Act guidelines are eligible to receive overtime pay.

Employees in positions classified as exempt based on the Fair Labor Standards Act guidelines are not eligible to receive overtime pay.

The majority of the church's part-time positions require the submission of time-sheets and are nonexempt. Many full-time positions are non-salaried and may or may not require submission of a time-sheet, and are nonexempt. Salaried roles are exempt positions.

All employees in nonexempt positions will be paid at a rate of one-and-one-half times their regular hourly rates of pay for approved hours worked (vacation and holiday hours are not included for calculating overtime hours, hours include only those actually worked) in excess of an average in any given period of taking 8 hours for each work-day in that period (weekends are not consider 'work-days' for purposes of this calculation, even though much work in the church goes on over weekends). For example, in a pay reporting period of 11 work-days within a 16 day reporting period, any hours over 88 (11 days x 8 hours) would be considered overtime hours. All hours worked in excess of 8 hours per work-day must be approved in advance by the employee's supervisor, with the same applying to the accumulation of overtime during any pay reporting period.  

Barring any mutual employee-employer agreement, each employee will be compensated according to FLSA. 


It is the policy of Dwell to establish vacation allowances for full and part-time employees in accordance with the guidelines established below. Vacations are a paid benefit, as compared to unpaid time off (e.g., leaves of absence). Note that similar guidelines for part-time employees apply to holiday and absence/leave benefits, as defined below.

The established vacation year is the calendar year January 1 through December 31. Paid vacations are allocated based on the employee's length of service, full or part-time status, and on an employee Job Grade. On January 1 each year, Dwell will grant each full-time employee vacation on the following basis:

Employees in Job Grades A - C:

Completed Years of Service

Vacation Allocation

0 - 1/2 (6 months) None
1/2 - 1 40 hours
2 - 4 80 hours
5 - 10 120 hours
10+ 160 hours

Employees in Job Grades D - F:

Completed Years of Service

Vacation Allocation

0 80 hours
1 96 hours
2 112 hours
3 128 hours
4 144 hours
5+ 160 hours

Vacation time will apply to the next full calendar year after the employee attains the next completed level of service.

For example: after attaining five full years of service, a grade C employee would have 3 weeks of vacation starting January 1st of the following year.

Employees may take vacation at any time during the year, upon receiving supervisory approval, but any unused vacation may not be carried over into the following year and will not be paid out upon termination of employment. Management reserves the right to designate when some or all vacations can be taken.

Full-time employees may only take vacation in half day or whole day increments. Vacation pay will consist of the employee's regular rate of pay for the vacation period. Employees may not receive vacation pay in lieu of time off. Vacation may not be taken during the final two weeks of employment.

New Hired employees vacation will be effected based on when they are hired during the year.

New full and part-time employees will be allocated vacation on the following basis and dependent on their Job Grade:

Month Beginning Employment

Vacation Benefit Allocation

January-March Full benefit
April-June One-half benefit
July-December No benefit in current year, full next year

New employees in Job Grades A-C are eligible for vacation benefits after six months employment, but if their employment ceases for any reason before completion of the first year, their final paycheck will be reduced by the amount of vacation taken. New employees in Job Grades D-F may begin taking vacation immediately, but if their employment ceases for any reason before completion of six months of employment, their final paycheck will be reduced by the amount of vacation taken.

Part-time employment

Regular part-time employees are eligible for a proportionate allocation of vacation benefits and holiday and absence/leave benefits (discussed further below) on the following basis:

Scheduled Hours per Week

Portion of Full-time Allocation  

  0 - 8  One-fifth 
  9 - 16  Two-fifths
  17- 24  Three-fifths
  25-32  Four-fifths

Vacation may be taken in increments equal to the amount of time the employee is normally scheduled to work, but must be approved by the area supervisor or dept. manager being reported to.

Affect of Leaves-of-Absence on Vacation Allocation

In the case that an employee takes an extended leave-of-absence for any reason cited under this manual, their vacation allocation for the year in which they take leave (or in the following year if the leave is at/toward the end of the prior year) will be reduced. Reduction of vacation time for any leave-of-absence will be calculated in proportion to time taken off - allocated vacation will be reduced by a percent based on hours the employee is out-on-leave in the given year against the total hours that they were required to work based on their full-or part-time status.

Management Discretion

Managers are to adhere to these guidelines to the greatest extent possible. However, managers do have the ability to adjust starting employee vacation schedules, as they deem appropriate. Any changes to these guidelines should be discussed with the Human Resources Department. Determination on the appropriateness of any deviations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Deferred Compensation Plan - 403(b) Long-Term Savings / Retirement Account

In addition to salary and related compensation, the fellowship maintains a program to encourage long-term / retirement savings, especially focused on full-time employees. While the fellowship does not advocate nor disavow retirement from Christian ministry, there is a need to save for coverage during potential future periods of diminished capacity to work. To that end, Dwell has a “403(b) Deferred Compensation Plan” in place, available to charitable organizations.

This plan allows pre-tax payments from employees and employers to be made to an individually owned (by the employee) account. Taxes are not levied on the payments to or income from this account until taken after attaining official retirement age. Other restrictions on withdrawals and deposit levels exist, and are available from the Accounting & Finance Department.  The actual distribution of these funds is directed by the employee and all investment risk resides with the employee. There is no vesting requirement for the employer contributed funds.

There are 2 distinct plan parts related to the 403(b) program, based on employee birth date and job grade. One (“Plan A”, below) applies to employees born before 1975 and all staff in job grades A, B and C regardless of birth date. The other applies to staff in job grades D, E and F born in or after 1975 (“Plan B”). We implemented the initial plan for our older staff based on financial realities in the church at the time, i.e., we didn’t have funding to support needed long-term savings in our early years and had to make up ground in later years. As our church matured, we are able to provide a better budget focus on long-term savings for newer staff, more in line with meeting long-term savings goals over a longer period of their tenure.

Plan A – Staff Born Before 1975 and All Staff in Grades A, B + C

3% Match Contribution - Full-time employees are eligible for matching funds from the fellowship. For every dollar an employee contributes, up to three percent (3%) of their total compensation, Dwell will deposit the same amount into that employee's account. An employee may contribute more than 3% of their income to the account, but it only matched by the fellowship up to that 3%.

Grade-based and Long-term Employee Contribution (for Job Grades C, D, E and F) - Certain management grades (D, E, F) also have a pre-set amount, established by the board-of-trustees, that is deposited to a full-time employee's account, regardless of their participation level. For long-term employees in job grade C, not covered by the above grade-based program element, those who have worked in a full-time capacity for 10 years or more are eligible to receive a pre-set annual 403(b) contribution.

Advanced Tenure Savings Acceleration Contributions (for Job Grades D, E and F) - In addition to and augmenting the above long-term savings benefits, full-time employees in grades D,E and F are also eligible for matching funds after attaining age 57 while also having at least 15 years of full-time employment tenure with Dwell. The goal of this additional benefit is to accelerate savings when long-term employees reach an age at which diminished capacity to work and/or retirement become more imminent. For details of this plan, employees can refer to the Dwell Intranet, Human Resources "Key HR Policies" directory.

Plan B – Staff Born In or After 1975 in Grades D, E and F

10% Match Contribution for 6% Employee Contribution - Full-time employees in management grades D, E and F are eligible for matching funds from the fellowship. For every dollar an employee contributes, up to two percent (2%) of their total compensation, Dwell will deposit the same amount (1-to-1 or 100%) into that employee's account. Then for the next four percent (4%) of employee contributions, Dwell will deposit twice that amount (2-to-1 or 200%) into that employee’s account.  An employee may contribute more than 6% of their income to the account, but it will only be matched by the fellowship up to that 6%.

Summary of Long-term Savings Matching Program Benefits for Full-time Staff:

Born before 1975 ?  Dwell provides 3% 1-to-1 salary contribution match to an employee’s 403(b) long-term savings account. In addition, management job grades D, E and F receive an annual pre-set amount based on grade. Employees in job grade C receive a pre-set amount after 10 years of full-time work for the church. Also, in the final years of employment starting at age 57, D, E and F grade staff are eligible for additional matched funds.

Born in or after 1975 and in Job Grades D, E or F ?  A Dwell employee investing at least 6% of their income will get a 10% of income match from Dwell. This reflects a 1-to-1 match for the first 2% of employee savings and a 2-to-1 (200%) match against the next 4% of savings.

Note: As with all benefits offered by the church, this plan element is reviewed annually and funding allocated as it is available.  We are committed to ensuring this benefit is available under normal circumstances, but employees will be informed when a change is needed due to funding issues.  For example, in the difficult economy of 2009, Dwell did not provide 403(b) benefits outlined herein, due to economic conditions and budgetary constraints.


Designated Holidays

It is the policy of Dwell to designate and observe certain days each year as holidays. Eligible employees will be given a day off with pay for each holiday observed. The holidays observed are:

  • New Year's Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Designated holidays falling on a Saturday are normally observed on the preceding Friday. Designated holidays falling on a Sunday normally are observed on the following Monday.

Other holidays may be substituted for the above at the discretion of management.

Floating Holidays / Personal Days

Regular, full-time employees are eligible for two (2) floating holidays or personal days per calendar year beginning on the first day of employment. These days can be used for whatever purpose the employee needs not covered elsewhere in this manual section related to time management (for example: attending to personal or family appointments, addressing required personal legal/court proceedings, etc.). These additional 2 days may be used according to the following guidelines:

  1. Employees hired on or after July 1 receive one floating holiday during the initial calendar year of employment.
  2. The use of floating holidays requires advance notice and scheduling with approval by the supervisor.
  3. Floating holidays / personal days are optimally to be taken in whole-day increments (except as authorized by supervisor) and may not be carried over into the next calendar year.

Part-time Employees

Part-time, regular employees working at least 24 hours per week on a regular basis will be eligible to receive 4 hours of pay for each designated holiday, after 1/2 (one-half) year of service with timing of the use of that holiday time off subject to their manager's approval.

Part-time employees must work the day(s) proceeding or following the holiday, if it a regularly scheduled work day, to take that holiday as a paid day. If an employee does not work as scheduled, the holiday pay is not available to them. This ensures continuity in work schedules needed to meet work requirements in certain departments, and may not be specifically needed in all work areas.

Other Holidays Designated by Management

Management may, at their discretion, designate a holiday to be taken by the entire work area (e.g., Dwell Christian Fellowship or Urban Concern). This holiday will be considered one of the floating holiday days for all affected employees. If an employee is not eligible for floating holidays, and is required to take that day off, it is management's decision on how that individual will be compensated for the day.

Absences - Short-term (Bereavement, Illness, Paternity, Jury Duty) and Leaves

Short-Term Absences

It is the policy of Dwell to permit full-time and some part-time employees to be absent from work on a short-term basis under certain circumstances, including sickness or injury. To help protect employees from the loss of income during such absences, the church will provide compensation for such absences according the guidelines below.

A short-term leave-of-absence is any absence continuing for two weeks or less. Absences longer than two weeks must be converted to a leave-of-absence if employment rights are to be maintained. Longer absences may qualify for coverage under our long-term disability (LTD) policy. The following absences are authorized with pay:

  1. Death in Family - In the event of a death in your immediate family (spouse, father, mother, child, brother, sister, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in -law, brother-in-law), you will be granted up to four (4) days funeral leave with pay. In certain cases another non-family member may be treated as a family member, when close relational ties exist; these situations will be reviewed by the employee's manager on an as-needed basis.
  2. Funeral Attendance - Employees may take leave to attend the funeral of a relative other than an immediate family member (such as an aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew, or niece) with advance approval from the employee's supervisor. In addition, funerals for individuals in certain other close relationships (e.g., significant friend, "family-like" individual) may also qualify for absence, with supervisor approval.
  3. Sick / Wellness Care Leave - Full-time regular employees who have completed three months of service may, if needed, be granted up to five (5) days sick leave per year with pay. Sick leave is a protection benefit of paid time off to be used only for absences resulting from an employee's illness or injury, to attend to personal wellness care (e.g., scheduled dentist, doctor and therapy office visits) or to care for an immediate family member who is ill or injured. Unused sick days are not accumulated from year to year and employees will not be compensated for unused sick days at the end of the year. For the purposes of this policy, immediate family members include the employee's spouse, children, parents, siblings, and other members of the employee's direct household. Any unused sick leave at the time of termination of employment is not payable to the employee. Sick leave payments will be offset by any other applicable disability payments, including government sponsored disability programs, so that no more than 100% of an employee's salary or wages will be paid.
  4. Paternity and Maternity - For the birth or adoption of a child, male employees can take up to five (5) days of leave. In the case of birth, female employee time off and work continuation will be subject to negotiation.
  5. Jury Duty - All full-time, regular employees who has proper proof of jury duty will be paid their regular base rate for authorized absences to serve as a juror or subpoenaed witness, up to a limit of two (2) workweeks per calendar year.


It is the policy of Dwell to consider granting regular, full-time employees extended leaves-of-absence from work under certain circumstances. In general, a leave-of-absence for a specified period of time not to exceed six months may be approved provided the employee has been employed for at least twelve (12) months. The leave may be granted for personal reasons, for parental leave in conjunction with the birth or adoption of a child and for educational and training purposes. Employees will not receive pay during a leave-of-absence.

Requests for a planned leave-of-absence or any extension of a leave of absence should be submitted to the employee's supervisor thirty days prior to the commencement of the leave period or extension. The request must specifically state the purpose of the leave and the dates on which it is requested to begin and end. Approval is based upon a number of considerations, including the reason given for the request, the number of previous requests, the length of service and job performance, and the needs of the department. The supervisor may review the request with the Human Resources Department, recommending approval or disapproval. The Human Resources Department, in conjunction with the Management Team will make the final decision concerning the request in the case where there is conflict concerning the request.

Employees returning from a leave-of-absence will be reinstated to their same job or one of similar status and pay provided the fellowship's circumstances have not changed to the extent that it would be impossible or unreasonable to provide reinstatement. If an employee fails to return to work at the conclusion of an approved leave-of-absence, the employee will be terminated from employment.

Affect of Leaves-of-Absence on Employee Benefits

While an employee is on a leave-of-absence without pay, health care benefits remain the same as for active employees (i.e., the same premium sharing arrangement applies as for active employees) for the first 60 days of the personal leave. The employee must pay the pro-rata cost of these benefits prior to the leave beginning. Beyond the first 60 days, the employee on leave must pay COBRA continuation rates in order to maintain health benefits. Leaves-of-absence affect employee vacation allocations as indicated under the 'Vacation' section in this manual.

Management Discretion with Regards to Absence Situations and Compensation

Managers are to adhere to these guidelines to the greatest extent possible. However, managers do have the ability to adjust their specific allowances for leave time, as they deem appropriate. Any changes to these guidelines should be discussed with the Human Resources Department and documented for review with the employee involved. Determination on the appropriateness of any deviations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.