Current as of January 2016 – See Original
This handbook is designed to provide important information about working at Experience Life. Though we realize many of the policies and procedures within are quite boring, they are still important to communicate and we hope you find we’ve written them in such a way you won’t fall asleep while reading.
While we’ve worked hard on this document, we have not been able to think of everything. And many of the things that did occur to us we chose not to include. Remember, we don’t want you to fall asleep.
So, if you have questions not answered in this manual, don’t be alarmed. Just ask your supervisor (if you don’t know who that is, ask someone nearby) or one of the Executive Pastors. We’ll warn you in advance there are some things in this handbook we’re encouraged by law to include. It’s really hard to make those interesting, but we’ve done our best.
Have fun reading!
Before Anything Else
On behalf of everyone on the eLife staff, welcome! We are delighted to have you on our team. To take your place on this team, you need to know some basics. You might call this the eLife DNA and culture book. It is what we stand for and how we work together. We know you are already on board with this stuff or we wouldn’t have invited you on the team.
We’ve captured several critical eLife documents here for you to review. These are the foundational beliefs and values we think about every day and evaluate our efforts by measuring against them.
Our vision is our name. We exist to help people experience all God has for them in this life!
We believe there are a number of experiences that God doesn’t want us to miss in this life & we call them Next Steps.
- Commit your life to Christ
- Get Baptized
- Start Volunteering
- Start Tithing
- Get Involved in a Prayer Gathering
- Get Involved in a Life Transformation Group
- Lead a Life Transformation Group
- Coach Group Leaders
Statement of Faith
In essential beliefs – we have unity.
“There is one Body and one Spirit…there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all…” Eph 4:4-6
In non-essential beliefs – we have liberty.
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters… Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls…
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God… So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” Romans 14:1,4,12,22
In all our beliefs – we show charity.
“…If I hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but also the very secrets of God, and if I have the faith that can move mountains — but I have no love, I amount to nothing at all.” 1 Cor 13:2
Statement of Beliefs
God is the creator and ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God.
(Genesis 1:1, 26, 27; 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2; 2; 1 Corinthians 13:14)
Man is made in the spiritual image of God, to be like him in character. He is the supreme object of God’s creation. Although man has tremendous potential for good, he is marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin.” This attitude separates man from God.
(Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1,2)
Man was created to exist forever. He will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or in union with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is hell. To be eternally in union with him is eternal life. Heaven and hell are places of eternal existence.
(John 3:16; John 2:25; John 5:11-13; Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:15; 1 John 5:11-12; Matthew 25:31-46)
About Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all men by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to heaven’s glory and will return again to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
(Matthew 1:22, 23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5, 14:10-30; Hebrews 4:14, 15; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Romans 1:3, 4; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Timothy 6:14, 15; Titus 2:13)
Salvation is a gift from God to man. Man can never make up for his sin by self- improvement or good works – only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can man be saved from sin’s penalty. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith.
(Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8, 9; John 14:6, 1:12; Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26; Romans 5:1)
About Eternal Security
Because God gives man eternal life through Jesus Christ, the believer is secure in salvation for eternity. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian.
(John 10:29; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 7:25; 10:10, 14; 1 Peter 1:3-5)
About The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son as God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. The Christian seeks to live under his control daily.
(2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13, 14:16, 17; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:1)
About The Bible
The Bible is God’s word to all men. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is truth without any mixture of error.
(2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Timothy 1:13; Psalm 119:105,160, 12:6; Proverbs 30:5)
Baptism by immersion symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and is your public declaration that you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Baptism does not save you, but shows the world that you have already been saved. And while baptism is not required for salvation, it is a biblical command and demonstrates your love and obedience to Christ.
(Colossians 2:12; Acts 2:41; Ephesians 2: 8-9; Matthew 28:19-20)
Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, is an ordinance given to all believers by Jesus Christ to remember his sacrifice for us and to symbolize the new covenant. The elements of bread and wine or juice are symbols of Christ’s broken body and shed blood. Communion is not a means of salvation. Rather, it is a testament of a believer’s faith in the atoning work of the cross.
(Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:19,20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29)
This list is intended to be the guiding values for our staff. We will measure the progress of our staff culture based on these values & continually remind ourselves of the importance of living these out. As our organization grows & changes, the wording of these values may change, but these will always be driving values for our staff.
We call someone who lives these out a “Culture Builder” & someone who doesn’t a “Culture Buster.” Our staff culture will continue to improve if we are all striving to be Builders rather than Busters.
Family First – we put family first
What A Privilege – we consider it a privilege to work here
Expect The Impossible – we pray for the impossible & expect it to happen
We Go First – we lead by example in giving, serving, & living for Jesus
You Rock! – we go out of our way to encourage & honor each other
Got Your Back – we defend each other & assume the best
How Can I Help? – we serve each other
LOL – we laugh & have a blast together
We Get Better – we are always learning & constantly improving
In The Know – we communicate well with each other
Statement of Ethics
Here’s the deal. We only bring the best of the best on staff at eLife. Part of what makes this team great is your commitment to the high calling of your ministry – your acknowledgement this is not “just a job.” Great privilege comes with great responsibility and the ethics listed here are part of the privilege.
Every staff member…
- exhibits a Christ-centered, servant attitude in their responsibilities.
- agrees with our Statement of Faith and won’t advocate doctrines that cause dissension.
- will assist the pastors in providing congregational care in times of need or crisis.
- will be radically committed “champions” of eLife’s vision, values, and purposes and will encourage others to help implement these foundational beliefs by taking Next Steps.
- is loving and mutually submissive to other Staff, Lay Leaders, the Executive Team, and the Lead Pastor.
- … concerns or personal conflicts will be dealt with on a personal level with the person(s) involved, following the Matthew 18 principle.
- … will not communicate negative opinions about a staff person to another staff or lay person (there are obvious exceptions in the case of job reviews, performance, leadership thresholds, etc.).
- … will thoroughly process decisions privately (one-on-one, staff meetings, etc.) and will publicly support those decisions.
- … as the Lead Pastor directs the staff through the Leadership Team, all staff are for the leadership and the vision.
Will hold and live out a biblical view of marriage and sexuality; and will be “above reproach” in all areas of contact with the opposite sex by:
… Holding to the belief and lifestyle that marriage is a God-ordained joining of one man and one woman in a covenant relationship for a lifetime
… Not supporting, or encouraging others to support, a homosexual lifestyle or any other deviant sexuality apart from God’s design for one man and one woman in a marriage relationship
… Never meeting alone with someone of the opposite sex behind a closed door. The door must have a window or must remain open. (Obviously there are a few situations in life where this is impractical – such as at the Dr’s office. The intent is not to make life difficult but to pursue purity in every way possible.)
- … Married staff will not meet (or ride in a car) alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not their spouse in public.
- … Single staff will not meet (or ride in car) with a married person of the opposite sex alone in public.
- … Single staff will not spend the night with someone of the opposite sex for any reason.
- will have the highest standards of morality:
- … although much care will be given on a personal level to restore the individual, sexual sins (such as fornication, adultery, improper use of eLife’s computers for pornographic material, sleeping over, etc.) may result in immediate termination of employment depending on the position of the staff member.
- … other public sins (stealing, drunkenness, abuse of others, etc.) that reflect poorly on the cause of Christ and reputation of this church will be dealt with severely and may result in immediate termination of employment.
- will have the highest respect for others.
- values each other. Any jokes, nicknames, or other labels which do not cultivate aculture of honor are discouraged.
- recognizes a good attitude is invaluable to staff morale and church momentum. Staff members with consistently negative or damaging attitudes will be dealt with and may result in eventual termination of employment.
- will be the church in order to build the church by living in authentic community through Life Transformation Groups.
- acknowledges the unique pressures of public ministry on staff families and the need for family members to experience unity within the larger community of faith at eLife. To this end, staff spouses are expected to support their partner by participating in the ministries of eLife and living according to the stated ethics and conduct.
- will have the highest standards of morality:
is ethical in their conduct, carefully following all laws and regulations and have the highest standards of conduct and personal integrity. They recognize their behavior affects the church’s reputation and success. By using good judgment and following high ethical principles, they will make the right decisions. However, if a staff member is not sure if an action is ethical or proper, they discuss the matter openly with his or her supervisor.
Will be cautious not to use eLife time or resources for personal gain; or to abuse the influence I have acquired through eLife for personal gain. I will speak to my XT or Supervisor if I have questions regarding a profit making activity that I am involved in.
It is the responsibility of every Experience Life employee to comply with this Statement of Ethics. Employees who ignore or do not comply with it may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including possible termination of employment.
A Word About ‘Next Steps’
- We believe that each ‘Next Step’ is a vital component of a healthy, growing relationship with Christ. So much so that we consider ‘Members’ of eLife to be those who are participating in taking Next Steps with us.
- As such, our expectation is that eLife staffers are continually growing in the ‘Next Steps.’ Beyond being involved in our gatherings, this includes moving through the Leadership Track, being involved in/leading a group, and tithing. We are not looking for perfection, but intentional growth. We believe this so much that we are willing to hold you accountable to be growing in the ‘Next Steps.‘
It is our desire that every staff member will read through the books in the eLife Training Track listed below. These books provide the basis for many of the things eLife does and believes in, has helped form our DNA, and have proven to be life changing for the leadership of our church. We keep these books on hand to be loaned out at our Central Office or you may purchase your own.
Bible Basics – Cornerstones, First Steps, Off and Running (the beginning of the orange giveaway Bible)
Live (Joel Comiskey)
Grow (Joel Comiskey)
Share (Joel Comiskey)
Lead (Joel Comiskey)
Purpose Driven Life (Rick Warren)
Experiencing God (Henry Blackaby)
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (Jim Cymbala)
Treasure Principle (Randy Alcorn)
Total Money Makeover (Dave Ramsey)
Christian Beliefs: 20 Basics Every Christian Should Know (Wayne Grudem) Just Walk Across the Room (Bill Hybels)
Heavenly Man (Brother Yun)
Experience Life is governed by the Board of Elders. This board is made up of 5 people (The Executive Team Pastors and 3 lay people) with 5 voting members and 1 non-voting members. The voting members are the Board of Directors over the church. The Board of Elders gives spiritual, directional, legal, and financial oversight to the church.
Board of Elders:
Board of Directors (Voting Members)
Chris Galanos (Lead Pastor)
Clayton Walker (Executive Pastor)
Sam Douglass (Church planting coach)
David Carver (LTG Leader and Coach, Business owner) Jeff Foley (LTG Leader, CPA)
John Bradshaw (Executive Pastor/CFO, CPA)
Our Campus Pastors also serve as Elders at their individual Campus.
Experience Life maintains an “EMPLOYMENT-AT-WILL POLICY. This means that just as you are free to end your employment with eLife at any time for any reason, eLife is also free to end the employment relationship with you at any time for any reason, with or without cause or advance notice, as long as we do not violate any applicable federal or state laws.
eLife and its employees recognize their mutual right to end their employment relationships at any time and acknowledge that such relationship is one of “employment at will”. Neither this handbook nor eLife procedures nor communications are intended to be interpreted as an express or implied promise or guarantee of future or continued employment or as stating provisions and terms of employment.
Except with respect to employment at will, Experience Life reserves the right to change, supplement, rescind or make exceptions to its policies, procedures and benefits. Experience Life reserves the right to do so as it deems appropriate, in its sole and absolute discretion and at any time without notice. The only policy that is not subject to change is the Church’s EMPLOYMENT-AT-WILL POLICY permitting you or Experience Life to end the employment relationship for any reason at any time. This Handbook is not intended as an express or implied contract between the Church and any of its employees. Every employee has an at-will employment relationship with the Church. All employees are free to resign or leave employment at any time for any or no reason. Likewise, the Church is free to discontinue an employee’s employment at any time for any reason or no reason with or without notice.
This handbook replaces all other existing policies and may not be changed or added to without the express written approval of an Executive or the Lead Pastor of Experience Life.
Categories of Employment:
The following definitions have been established in order to standardize terminology and provide common understanding in this Handbook’s references to employees:
- A. Regular Full-Time. An employee who is not in a temporary status and who works the standard working hours of the Church each week (for these purposes, 40 hours per week) is a regular, full-time employee. He or she is employed to perform regularly occurring activities, and may be exempt or non-exempt.
- B. Regular Part-Time. An employee who has a normal, routine work schedule of less than 40 hours per week is a regular, part-time employee. Benefits coverage may be offered to part-time employees, as provided herein.
- C. Temporary Employee. An employee who works part-time or full-time with the understanding that his or her employment will be terminated as of a specific date or upon completion of a specific assignment is a temporary employee. An intern falls under this classification. Employees hired with the primary responsibility of supporting the ministry through the fulfillment of administrative, technical, clerical, secretarial, or facility care duties. Their roles are mostly task-oriented. These employees either work an irregular schedule on an “as needed” basis or they are hired for a limited period of time to fill a specific role. A temporary employee is not eligible for benefits.
- D. Exempt Employee. An exempt employee is not eligible for overtime pay. Employee positions with this status are generally considered executive or professional.
- E. Non-exempt Employee. A non-exempt employee is eligible for overtime pay. Employment positions with this status are generally considered administrative.
Note: Exempt and Non-exempt employees may be full-time or part-time, salaried or hourly.
There are five different Job Levels for eLife employees. These are general levels and reflect a combination of the employee’s longevity, responsibility and authority.
These Levels also affect an employees PTO as each Level is tied to certain PTO Tiers.
Level 1 – PTO Tiers 1-3 Level 2 – PTO Tiers 1-4 Level 3 – PTO Tiers 1-5 Level 4 – PTO Tiers 1-6 Level 5 – PTO Tiers 1-7
Each employee’s Job Level will be reviewed at the beginning of each calendar year.
All Part Time employees are normally on Level 1.
Contract Workers: These individuals are considered self-employed and therefore are not employees of the church. They are, however, to conduct themselves in a Christ-like manner, and in keeping with the standards of anyone (paid or volunteer) who is representing Experience Life.
TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT
Resignation occurs when a separation is initiated by the employee. The following are examples of resignations:
- Written or oral resignation;
- Absence from work for two consecutive work days without notifying the employee’s supervisor;
- Failure to report for work upon recall from furlough on the date designated;
- Failure to return from an approved leave of absence at the expiration of the leave; or
A two-week written notice of resignation is required to ensure the employee will receive benefits that may be due. Employees whom provide such notice may be paid for earned, but unused, PTO. The determination of the final date to report to work will be made by the supervisor and an Executive Pastor in consultation with the employee.
An employee who is absent from work without having notified his or her supervisor of the absence, or the reason for the absence, will be considered to have resigned after the second consecutive day of absence.
Termination occurs when the separation is not initiated by the employee. The following are examples of termination:
- Lay-off for lack of work: when the Church reduces its work force for economic or other reasons.
- Release without fault — When an employee, through no fault of his or her own, is unsuited for or incapable of performing work assigned, and no appropriate change of assignment is available.
- Discharge — An employee is discharged when he or she is suited for and capable of performing the work required in his or her job but is terminated for such reason as inefficiency, absenteeism, or violation of rules of conduct as set forth in the Employee Handbook, including, but not limited to, habitual carelessness or recklessness, disorderly conduct, insubordination, theft, leaving work before quitting time without permission, falsification of records, sleeping on the job, and waste.
The decision to terminate a staff member rests with the staff member’s supervisor, in consultation with the supervising Executive Team member. The Lead Pastor will be consulted in some instances depending on level of employment. Severance pay, if any, for personnel who have been terminated will be determined on an individual basis, at the sole discretion of the Church.
Personnel who terminate before completing six (6) months of continuous service receive no pay for accrued PTO. Personnel who terminate after six (6) calendar months or more of continuous service will be paid for unused accrued PTO not to exceed the accrual for a one-year period.
In the case of termination, the calculation for accrued PTO will be figured on a monthly basis rounded back to the final day of the previous month (e.g. last day April 5, employee will be paid for the unused portion of 3/12 of their annual allotment).
Hooray, it’s payday. Payday for Experience Life employees is every other Friday. If you are salaried your paycheck is divided into 26 pay periods per year. The workweek runs from Saturday through Friday each week. Everyone is paid the following Friday for the preceding two weeks.
Under no circumstances will checks be issued early. Paydays that fall during an employee’s vacation will be issued at their regular time; they will not be issued prior to vacation. Direct deposit is required. Pay is in U.S. dollars only.
The Church complies with federal and state laws governing payroll deductions such as federal income tax, state disability insurance, and social security taxes. The Church also complies with valid court orders concerning garnishment and assignment of wages, such as for child support or student loans. The employee must report garnishment of wages to the Church’s payroll supervisor within one (1) working day of receipt of notification of garnishment. The employee must authorize in writing any other deductions from his or her paycheck.
Paycheck stubs will itemize amounts that have been withheld. Employees should keep this information for tax purposes. Questions regarding payroll deductions should be directed to the employee’s supervisor.
The Compensation Team determines the compensation package for the Lead Pastor and approves the compensation for the Executive Team. Compensation packages for all other staff are determined by the Lead Pastor in conjunction with the Executive Pastor/CFO. An employee will be informed of his or her pay rate prior to beginning work. Compensation packages will be provided by email or other correspondence at the beginning of each year, that correspondence will state your compensation package for the year.
All compensation packages are reviewed annually based on scope of the job description, duties, performance evaluations, compensation comparability data, attitude and other relevant information to assist in ensuring that the amount of total compensation paid to each individual is reasonable and in compliance with current Internal Revenue Service guidelines for nonprofit organizations. Other changes in pay or benefits are based on a number of factors including overall budget, financial condition of the church, cost of living considerations, performance and value to the church. Generally, raises are not given until the beginning of the calendar year following the first entire year of employment (e.g., If hire date is in July 2008, you will probably not be considered for a raise until January 2010).
Employee performance is generally reviewed annually for consideration of a merit increase. A performance or salary review does not imply an automatic increase, only that the employee is eligible for consideration based upon job performance.
Compensation packages will be provided by email or other correspondence at the beginning of each year, that correspondence will state your compensation package for the year.
Hourly staff are required to record work hours electronically in the online Time Clock system. Each employee is responsible for recording his or her own time in the online Time Clock System. An employee should not sign in until he or she is ready to report directly to his or her workstation. Each employee is responsible for making sure he or she is signed in and out each day.
If no time is entered on an employee’s time card, no pay will be given until any corrections are made. An employee should be careful when signing off on his or her time at the end of a pay period and should make sure the time entered is correct. If time worked is incorrectly entered, and the paycheck for that period is incorrect, the incorrect entry and paycheck amount will not be corrected until the end of the following pay period. No employee or other person is allowed to sign in or out for another employee. An employee who is discovered to be in the possession of another employee’s time sheet will be seriously reprimanded, possibly even terminated.
Overtime must be approved in advance by an employee’s immediate supervisor or by an Executive Pastor. If a change or correction is made on your time record, it must be approved by the employee and his or her immediate supervisor and/or the Executive Pastor.
Shhh…Keep Your Lips Sealed
Compensation packages are personal and confidential. Employees should never discuss their compensation package with anyone, unless they are a member of your family. This is something we take very seriously. Sharing compensation information with others could cost you your job. It’s that serious.
Work Hours, Overtime & Comp Time
Normal Church office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, but as you know, ministry runs 24/7. Your regular hours will be determined by your supervisor based on the specifics of your job.
All staff should strive to attend (not serving, but sitting with your family or friends and enjoying) one (1) weekend service each week.
All staff is expected to attend and be involved at all major church events. These include, but are not limited to Summer Baptism Celebration, Anniversary Services, Christmas Eve Services, Easter Services, and other events as determined by senior leadership. If there is a question, please ask your supervisor.
If, for any reason, a staff member is unable to report to work, he or she is expected to call their supervisor to report their absence; and to complete the Time Off Request Form.
In the event of a predictable all-day absence (vacations, conferences, etc.), staff are expected to advise their supervisor and complete the Time Off Request Form two-weeks prior to such absence.
For all Full-Time Staff it is anticipated that a “normal” week will include working between 40-50 hours, depending upon the level of your responsibilities.
Staff who are paid on an “hourly” rate (not salary), whether full-time or part-time, will be paid time-and-a-half only for hours worked over 40 hours in a given week.
From time to time, a non-exempt employee may be expected to work beyond his or her normally scheduled hours or on a regularly scheduled day off. However, a non-exempt employee is not allowed to work overtime unless it has been approved in advance by his or her supervisor and the Executive Pastor. An employee who works overtime, but who has not been authorized in advance to work overtime by his or her supervisor, will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Overtime is defined as that time worked in excess of forty (40) hours per week, regardless of the number of hours worked during one day or the number of days worked during a week. Time-and-a-half will only be paid for hourly wage staff working in excess of 40 hours in a given week if those hours have been approved in advanced by their supervisor.
Overtime hours will not be paid in conjunction with PTO. For example, if you are scheduled to work 45 hours for the week but incur 1 PTO day in that week due to an illness, then your time card would reflect 8 hours of PTO pay (if eligible) and 37 hours of regular rate.
Your job may require additional hours during certain seasons. It is common for staff members to work one or more evenings per week, in addition to “all-church” events. On some occasions, hours during heavy seasons add up to more than 45-50 hours per week. In some of these cases, compensation time-off is given to allow staff members time to refresh themselves physically, emotionally and spiritually after a period of extensive work; however, at no time will the Church give you compensatory time (“comp time”) in lieu of paying you overtime pay if you are a non-exempt employee that has worked more than 40 (approved) hours in one week and are owed overtime accordingly.
It is generally understood that these “seasons of intense ministry” are the exceptions rather than the rule. Your supervisor will let you know when you are being given comp time.
PRD (Personal Retreat Days) & Paid Quiet Time Hours
PRD’s & Paid Quiet Time Hours are available to Experience Life Pastors and some other ministry directors. Your supervisor will let you know if you are eligible for these.
PRD’s are for the purpose of spiritual reflection and seeking God’s direction for both ministry and life. PRD’s should be scheduled through your supervisor and requested through the Time Off Request Form.
Level 4 & 5 Employees who qualify: 1 day per month Level 1, 2 & 3 Employees who qualify: 1/2 day per month
Paid Quiet Time Hours
Experience Life believes in its pastors and ministry directors spending time with God to hear from Him. We believe that this is so vital to the success of the movement that Experience Life pays some staff, depending on their job description, to spend extra time in prayer during work hours.
Level 4 & 5 Employees who qualify: 1 extra hour each work day or 5 hours a week.
Level 1, 2 & 3 Employees who qualify: 30 minutes extra each work day or 2.5 hours a week.
Experience Life would like to encourage its employees to participate in ministry and mission trips as a part of their spiritual development. For that reason we are providing paid ministry time off. This time is only to be used for eLife sponsored trips. (Examples: youth camp chaperone, international mission trip participant, etc.)
Full-time personnel are allowed to participate in a mission/ministry trip once every 3 years without using PTO for their time on the trip. There is no such provision for Part time employees.
You must first get approval from your supervisor for the time you would like participate in the trip before using your ministry time.
PTO must be used for participation in these events if no ministry time is available. Participating in a trip as a part of your job description does not count toward your ministry time nor does it require the use of PTO.
PTO (Paid Time Off)
Less than 20 hours per week: Employees working less than 20 hours are not eligible for PTO.
Part-Time Employees: Part Time employees working between 20 and 39 hours per week accrue PTO hours on a pro rata basis as a percentage of 40 hours per week. Part time employees pro rata accrual is based on 15 days per year of PTO (Tier 1). [For example, if you work 20-hours per week, you get 1/2 of 15 days per year because 20 hours is half of a 40-hour full-time work week. Divide your hours by 40 & then multiply that number by 15 to get your PTO days.]
Full-Time Employees: Full-time employees (40+ hours per week) will accrue at the rate below based on their current Tier (see below). Full time employees will be told what Tier they are in before the beginning of each calendar year.
PTO is calculated beginning from date of employment and thereafter on a calendar year basis beginning January 1st.
PTO will be tracked by the Executive Pastor/CFO’s office.
PTO Accrual for Full Time Employees
15 Days per Year
18 Days per Year
20 Days per Year
22 Days per Year
25 Days per Year
28 Days per Year
30 Days per Year
Use of PTO
PTO is used for all time off requests by an employee except those special circumstances detailed below in the Staff Handbook. For example, PTO covers all scheduled vacation or personal time off as well as unscheduled situations such as personal illness, family illness and emergencies.
Payment for any unused PTO may be made upon termination, as may be provided herein, but is not required by law. If your job ends with a negative PTO balance, any advanced wages will be deducted from your final paycheck.
PTO shall be used at the discretion of the employee upon supervisor approval. PTO can be used in increments as small as 2-hours. No PTO increments below 2-hours can be used.
Approval for the use of PTO should be given to the employee’s supervisor at least two weeks in advance unless otherwise required by your departments scheduling process.
Except for support staff, no PTO may be scheduled for more than two consecutive Sundays at one time. Ministerial staff is restricted to a maximum of (5) weekends per year for the purpose of vacation, special meetings, conferences & revivals. Someone on the Executive Team must approve any exceptions to this policy.
PTO will begin to be accrued on the first day of employment and Employees will be eligible to use any accrued PTO 90-days after their start date.
PTO that is unused at the end of December 31 of each year will not rollover from one year to the following year. What you do not use in the current year will not be available as PTO in future years.
Payment in lieu of PTO or unused PTO time will not be allowed.
PTO at Termination
The current years accrued and unused PTO will be paid to the employee at termination. It will be paid separately in a check two-weeks following the employee’s final paycheck.
Extended Illness Bank
At the end of each year any unused PTO shall be transferred to the employee’s Extended Illness Bank (EIB). An employee’s EIB shall be available for the employee to use in the event of an extended illness of the employee.
EIB is available for the use of the employee for a personal illness. EIB is only available after the use of 3 PTO days per illness.
There is no provision to pay the employee for unused EIB upon termination.
- New Year’s Day
- Washington’s Birthday • Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day
- Day after Thanksgiving • Christmas Day
- Day After Christmas
Special Circumstances for Holidays
Holiday on Saturday, Sunday or Day Off:
If a holiday falls on a Saturday it will be observed on the preceding Friday. If a holiday falls on a Sunday, it will be observed on the following Monday. If a holiday falls on a regular day off you may take another day. The day must be approved by your supervisor and it must be taken in the same week of the holiday.
Part Time Staff:
Part-time staff who are regularly scheduled to work 10 or fewer hours per week are not eligible for Holiday Pay.
Part-time staff who are regularly scheduled to work between 11 and 20 hours per week will receive 4 hours pay per holiday.
Part-time staff who are regularly scheduled to work between 21 and 30 hours per week will receive 6 hours pay per holiday.
Part-time staff who are regularly scheduled to work between 31 and 39 hours per week will receive 8 hours pay per holiday.
Contract Workers: Contract workers are considered self-employed and not employees of the church. Therefore, they do not receive paid holidays or vacation.
With approval from your supervisor (who will need approval from an Executive Pastor), you can take leave without pay. Leaves of absence for the Lead Pastor require the approval of the Board of Directors. A request for an extension of a leave of absence must be made in writing prior to the expiration date of the original leave, and when appropriate, as determined by an Executive Pastor, such request must be accompanied by a health provider’s written statement that certifies the need for the extension.
PTO credits do not accrue during leave of absence without pay, unless otherwise provided herein. To continue staff benefits, any employee on leave of absence must make prior arrangements for the direct payment of their share of the benefit costs. The church continues to pay its share of the benefit cost.
Failure to return to work on the first workday following the expiration of an approved leave of absence may be considered a voluntary termination.
Full-time employees may receive time off with or without pay for the following reasons:
Pregnancy, Adoption or Foster Care Leave
A leave of absence may be provided during an employee’s period of disability related to the employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition, or for the placement for adoption or foster care of a child. An employee may submit a written request for a pregnancy leave of absence or for placement for adoption or foster care of a child, without pay, for the length of any pregnancy-related disability, adoption or foster care leave, up to a maximum of four months.
A request for pregnancy, adoption or foster care leave will be granted to an employee who presents a physician’s written statement or an adoption or foster care placement document that certifies the need for the leave and estimates the length of time the employee will be unable to work due to the disability.
Although reinstatement is not guaranteed in all cases, an employee on pregnancy leave who returns to work immediately following the end of an approved leave, with a physician’s written release verifying that the employee is able to safely perform the employee’s duties, will normally be returned to the same job the employee held immediately prior to the leave, or to a comparable position if one is available.
An employee on adoption or foster care leave who returns to work immediately following the end of an approved leave will normally be returned to the same job the employee held immediately prior to the leave, or to a comparable position if one is available.
Employees can receive paid time off because of the death of a family member. Just clear it with your supervisor prior to leave. Full Time employees are allowed up to 3- days absence with pay for necessary attendance to funeral matters for death in the immediate family (parent, child, sibling, spouse and respective in-laws).
Part Time employees are allowed up to 1-day off to attend to the same funeral matters of an immediate family.
Employees who earn PTO may use that time for attendance of funerals for other family members not mentioned above or close friends.
Jury Duty leave is a leave of absence to serve on jury duty. We encourage you to fulfill your civic responsibilities if you get a summons and we will give you time off without loss of pay. Upon completion of jury duty, a Verification of Attendance Form must be presented to the immediate supervisor. Employees who are excused from jury duty early should report to work.
Subject to the terms, conditions, and limitations of the applicable plans, you’ll continue to receive health insurance benefits for the full period of jury duty leave.
Experience Life will grant a military leave of absence if you are absent from work to fulfill his or her annual training obligation or if required, to report for extended active duty, in the U.S. uniformed services in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
You must give your supervisor advance notice of upcoming military service, unless military necessity prevents advance notice or it is otherwise impossible or unreasonable.
You will not be paid for military leave; however, PTO will continue to accrue in your absence. You may use any available accrued PTO during this leave. Continuation of health insurance benefits is available as required by USERRA based on the length of the leave and subject to the terms, conditions and limitations of the applicable plans for which you are otherwise eligible.
If you are on military leave for up to 30 days, you must return to work on the first regularly scheduled work period after your service ends (allowing for reasonable travel time). If you are on military leave for more than 30 days, you must apply for reinstatement in accordance with USERRA and applicable state laws.
When you return from military leave (depending on the length of your military service in accordance with USERRA), you will be returned to his or her former position or to one of like status and pay to the extent required by law. For the purpose of determining benefits that are based on length of service, you will be treated as if you had been continuously employed.
It is important that Experience Life has certain personal information about you in our records. You need to tell us as soon as there is a change to your mailing address, telephone numbers, marital status, dependents’ information, educational accomplishments and other related information. We also need to have information about who to contact in case of an emergency. While we are extremely interested, you do not need to inform us of other changes in your life such as new hairstyles, pet’s names, or revised Starbuck’s preference.
To change your personal information, contact the Executive Pastor/CFO’s office.
Retirement & Insurance Benefits
As if the paycheck wasn’t enough! Here are other things you might be eligible for as a staff member…
All Senior, Associate, and Support Staff who are full-time and work at least 35 hours weekly are eligible to participate in a 403(b) Retirement Plan through eLife. Under the plan, eLife matches up to 4% of the employee’s contribution! The plan is administrated by GuideStone Financial Resources. Specific details are too long to cover here, see the HR Director for more information.
All Staff who are full-time and work at least 30 hours weekly are eligible to participate in a group health insurance program through eLife. For staff choosing to participate, eLife pays the full health insurance premium for the staff person. Specific details of the group medical insurance are too long to cover here, but you can get all of the information from the HR Director.
Flexible Spending Account
All Senior, Associate, and Support Staff who are full-time and work at least 30 hours weekly are eligible to participate in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) program through eLife. Eligible staff have 30 days from the day of their employment to choose to participate. An FSA allows eligible employees to use pre-tax payroll dollars to pay for qualifying medical expenses. For the specific details of the FSA benefit see the HR Director.
Full-time, non-temporary staff might be offered a “limited” disability insurance policy, which will provide replacement income up to a percentage of their salary as determined by the specific product. This product is fully coordinated with social security or other state or federal benefits.
Full-time, non-temporary staff might be offered the option to purchase Term Life Insurance for the Employee through our group plan.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) limits exclusions for preexisting conditions; prohibits discrimination against employees and their dependents based on their health status; guarantees renew-ability and availability of health coverage to certain employers and individuals; and protects many workers who lose health coverage by providing better access to individual health insurance.
The special enrollment rights apply without regard to the dates on which an individual would otherwise be able to enroll under the plan. Special Enrollment periods apply to you and/or your dependent(s), if you have a new dependent as a result of marriage, birth, adoption or the placement for adoption (qualifying event). Under these rules, a group health plan is required to provide the opportunity for special enrollment for these individuals should they make the request within 30 days of the date the qualifying event occurred.
If you decline enrollment under Experience Life’s plan for yourself or your dependents (including your spouse) and state in writing that you and/or your dependents have coverage under another group health plan or health insurance coverage as the reason for declining to enroll you may also have special enrollment rights. Special enrollment rights may apply to you and/or your dependents in the event that you and/or your dependents are no longer eligible for other coverage.
Your plan may offer an Annual Open Enrollment giving you the opportunity to enroll yourself and/or your dependents if you have previously declined/waived coverage for you and/or dependents.
Unless advised in writing to the contrary, the Church is exempt from filing unemployment taxes and as such shall not be withholding payments for such as part of Employee’s salary. Furthermore, pursuant to Federal and state laws, the Church is not subject to, and therefore does not participate in, COBRA. In the event of termination of employment, you will not be eligible for either unemployment or continuation of insurance benefits under COBRA.
Our current health insurance policy does allow for continuation of coverage through the State of Texas. If you continue insurance, you will pay the full cost of the insurance at Experience Life’s group rates plus an administration fee.
Professional Expense Benefit
Some staff, because of their ministry responsibilities, may receive a professional expense allowance each year. These funds are to be used to enhance the employee’s abilities, performance, training or work environment. The employee owns any items or resources purchased. These expenses should be requisitioned as a normal expense, with indication of the employees’ professional expense.
As with every expenditure made with the church’s funds, every professional expense purchase needs to be substantiated with a receipt. Additionally, all expenditures using the professional expense accounts need to be submitted to the employee’s supervisor for authorization.
Character & Conduct
Unlike stuffy places like banks or accounting firms, dress here is tastefully relaxed. Your appearance in the office and at services should be neat and mature (i.e. don’t wear the sweatpants your wife has been trying to get rid of for years). Dress in relation to the people you interact with; sometimes this will dictate professional dress, sometimes casual, always modest. We are all leaders leading other leaders, and the way we dress should reflect that. We want you to be comfortable but we also want the people around you to be comfortable, too. If you step over the bounds of good taste, your supervisor will alert you. They’re on your side and looking out for you as well as the church.
Examples of appropriate dress in the casual category:
Jeans, T-Shirts (No offensive messages), shorts (modest length of 3 fingers from the knee)
Examples of inappropriate dress:
Tank tops, short shorts or skirts, low cut tops, etc.
Drug and Alcohol Use
Experience Life is committed to being a drug-free, healthy and safe workplace. You are required to come to work in a mental and physical condition that will allow you to perform your job satisfactorily. That means no employee can use, possess, distribute, sell or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while on the church campus or while conducting business related to the church off campus. Of course, you can use legally prescribed drugs on the job if they don’t impair your ability to do your job effectively and safely without endangering yourself or others.
Violation will be grounds for dismissal. More than that, we just want you to take care of yourself. If you have questions about this policy, you can raise your concerns with your supervisor or an Executive Pastor without fear of punishment. Twizzlers, chocolate or caffeine are not to be considered illegal substances and their presence is not discouraged.
We will strive to provide you with the hardware and software to do your job, but it remains the property of Experience Life. And, yes, while we reserve the right to monitor computer usage and find and read any data you write, send or receive, we only do so if there is a good reason for it. We’re not voyeurs or control freaks about your every move. We don’t even have a policy against using your computer for personal files and photos (we’re just not responsible for backing them up for you). We trust you and believe the best in you; just use good judgment.
We do require the installation of X3Watch software on all eLife computers. This software flags inappropriate sites (mostly pornography related) and sends them to an accountability partner. It is also required to have the accountability emails sent to a central email account that will be monitored by the Executive Pastor/CFO. This is one way to keep you, and eLife, accountable for the appropriate use of our computers.
Important online guidelines to live by (e.g., email, internet, blogging, etc.) include:
- Don’t use your computers in ways that are disruptive, offensive to others or harmful to morale.
- Don’t display, download or email sexually explicit images, messages and cartoons.
- Don’t steal software. Abide by copyright and software license agreements. Don’t copy any eLife software—if in doubt, talk to the Executive Pastor/CFO.
- Remember all Internet surfing is part of official church records. That means we might be legally required to show that information to law enforcement or other parties. Make sure your surfing is appropriate, ethical and legal.
- Don’t use eLife time and resources for personal gain; like your Thrive or Creative Memories business.
- Don’t steal, use or disclose someone else’s code or password without permission.
- Don’t jeopardize the security of the church.
- Remember that as an employee of Experience Life, you are seen by our members and outside parties as a representative of the church. That means your personal website or blog, as well as your spouse’s, is a reflection on the church, whether or not the church is specifically discussed or referenced. Please bear in mind that although you may view your site as a personal project, many readers will assume you are speaking on behalf of the church. Just use common sense. If you would not be comfortable with your manager, co-workers or the Leadership Team reading your words, do not write them.To summarize, the following are examples of prohibited activities that violate eLife’s computer policy:
- Sending or posting discriminatory, harassing or threatening messages or images
- Using the organization’s time and resources for personal gain.
- Stealing, using or disclosing someone else’s code or password without authorization
- Copying, pirating or downloading software and electronic files without permission.
- Sending or posting confidential material, trade secrets or proprietary information outside of the organization.
- Violating copyright law.
- Failing to observe licensing agreements.
- Engaging in unauthorized transactions that may incur a cost to the organization or initiate unwanted Internet services and transmissions.
- Sending or posting messages or material that could damage the organization’s image or reputation.
- Participating in the viewing or exchange of pornography or obscene materials.
- Sending or posting messages that defame or slander other individuals.
- Attempting to break into the computer system of another organization or person.
- Refusing to cooperate with a security investigation.
- Sending or posting chain letters, solicitations or advertisements not related to business purposes or activities.
- Using the Internet for political causes or activities, or any sort of gambling.
- Jeopardizing the security of the organization’s electronic communicationssystems.
- Sending or posting messages that disparage another organization’s products or services.
- Passing off personal views as representing those of the organization.
- Sending anonymous email messages.
- Engaging in any other illegal activities.
Conflict of Interest
We are diligent and careful in our consideration of transactions or arrangements that might benefit the private interest of an eLife staff team member and/or a member of their family. If you have direct or indirect (through business, investment, family, etc.) interest with any outreach or functions within the church (financial or other gifts compensation), you have a responsibility to disclose that information to your supervisor.
After exercising due diligence with the Executive Team, they’ll determine next steps depending on whether or not the circumstance under review would give rise to a conflict of interest.
Failure to disclose the existence and nature of your financial and material interest of any proposed transaction or arrangement puts your employment, your church and the third party in jeopardy. In simple terms, if it appears like you or someone you’re related to could benefit from the church doing business with a third party, tell your supervisor. They’ll help you take the next step.
We believe every staff member should be able to work in an environment free from any form of unlawful discrimination. Sexual Harassment is constituted as discrimination and is prohibited by state and federal laws. Therefore, it is the position of Experience Life that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. It is a violation of eLife policy for any supervisor or employee, male or female, to engage in sexual harassment as defined below. Such conduct will result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as follows:
Quid Pro Quo – Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute quid pro quo when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment and/ or (2) submission or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting an individual.
Hostile Environment – One which unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and verbal or other conduct of a physical nature occur and when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.
Some examples of sexual harassment include but are not limited to:
- Unwanted sexual advances.
- Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors.
- Making threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances.
- Visual conduct such as leering, making sexual gestures or displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons or posters.
- Verbal conduct such as making derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, sexually explicit jokes or comments about an employee’s body or dress.
- Verbal sexual advances or propositions.
- Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentary about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words to describe an individual or suggestive or obscene letters, notes or invitations.
- Physical conduct such as touching, assault or impeding or blocking movement and retaliation for reporting harassment or threatening to report harassment.
Any employee who believes he/she has experienced such conduct by anyone, including a supervisor, co-worker or by persons doing business with or for eLife should tell the offender that such conduct is unwelcome and unacceptable. If the offensive behavior does not stop, or if the employee is uncomfortable confronting the offender, the employee must immediately report such conduct to their supervisor and to an Executive Pastor.
This company prohibits retaliation against any employee who complains of harassment or who participates in an investigation. All aspects of the complaint-handling procedure will be handled discreetly. However, it may be necessary to include others on a need to know basis.
All incidents of prohibited harassment that are reported will be investigated. The supervisor or Executive Pastor will immediately undertake or direct an effective, thorough, and objective investigation of the harassment allegations. The investigation will be completed as soon as practical and a determination regarding the reported harassment will be made and communicated to the employee who complained and to the accused harasser. If a complaint of prohibited harassment is substantiated, appropriate corrective action, up to and including discharge, will be taken. Appropriate action will also be taken to correct the effects of the harassment and to deter any future harassment.
Bottom line: harassment won’t be tolerated.
Your employment at Experience Life constitutes your agreement to never disclose information which is sensitive or personal in nature which may or may not be included in the list below. If you are in a role where you have access to confidential information, we may ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement as a condition of your employment.
Confidential information includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Compensation data (including your personal salary)
- Member lists
- Financial information
- Passwords and security codes
- Pending projects and proposals
- Personal information about members or attendees received through counseling or private conversations
If you improperly use or disclose confidential church information, you will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment and legal action.
This policy describes the policy for administering fair and consistent discipline for unsatisfactory conduct at Experience Life.
We believe it is important that disciplinary actions are prompt, consistent and impartial. The major purpose of a disciplinary action is to correct the problem, prevent it from happening again and prepare the employee for satisfactory performance in the future.
Although your employment is based on mutual consent and both you and Experience Life have the right to terminate employment at will, with or without cause or advance notice, we may use progressive discipline at our discretion.
Disciplinary action may be any of the following four steps: 1) verbal warning; 2) written warning; 3) suspension with or without pay; or 4) termination of employment. We will look at how severe the problem is and how often it has happened when deciding which step to take. There may be circumstances when one or more steps are bypassed.
In most cases, progressive discipline means that we will normally take these steps in the following order: 1) a first offense may call for a verbal warning; 2) a next offense may be followed by a written warning; 3) another offense may lead to a suspension; and 4) still another offense may then lead to termination of employment.
In very serious situations, some types of employee problems may justify either a suspension, or, in extreme situations, termination of employment, without going through the usual progressive discipline steps.
By using progressive discipline, we hope that most employee problems can be corrected at an early stage, benefiting both the employee and Experience Life.
The Board of Directors approves a budget each year for the general expenses of the church. This budget serves as a guideline for all eLife expenditures. In addition to the budget, the church has specific procedures that assist staff in the stewardship of the church resources that have been entrusted to us.
Each budget line is assigned to a person for “primary authorization”. Though this person may elect to delegate spending authorization to others, it is still their responsibility for signing requisitions, overseeing and reporting on the budget items assigned.
Budgeted expenses up to $2,000 should be approved by the “primary authorization” person. Budgeted expenses over $2,000 should be authorized by the “primary authorization” person and the Executive Pastor/CFO (or in his absence, the Lead Pastor). Fixed repetitive or non-discretionary expenses such as salaries, rent, utilities, apportionments, insurance, etc. can be approved once at the beginning of the year for automatic payment during the year.
Non-budgeted or over-budget expenses require additional authorization from the Executive Pastor/CFO (or in his absence, the Lead Pastor) who is responsible for making recommendations to the Board of Directors.
Reimbursements to staff members must be approved by the “primary authorization” person responsible for each requested account. Staff members may not, however, approve reimbursements to themselves. In those instances the staff member should prepare the check request for payment and then forward the request to their supervisor for authorization.
There will be occasions when you submit a receipt for a meal reimbursement. However, at no time will ELife reimburse for alcoholic beverages.
All additions to property, plant and equipment should be properly authorized. Expenditures for tangible assets having a service life in excess of three years or more and a purchase price of $2,000 or more should be capitalized (become fixed assets). All expenditures not meeting these criteria are subject to the “expense approval” guidelines in this manual.
Items that have been approved in the budget as a capital expense will be scheduled at the beginning of the year by the Executive Pastor/CFO in order to spread out the total outlay over the entire year. Early in the year, you will be given a month in which that purchase can potentially be made, but must receive final authorization before placing your order.
If you are purchasing items already approved in the capital outlay budget contact the Executive Pastor/CFO for his final authorization.
Experience Life credit cards may be issued to staff. They are intended for eLife ministry and event-related approved expenses only. The cardholder is responsible for submitting their receipts and expense detail for all purchases. These are submitted through Concur. Failure to provide all expense information in a timely matter will result in the loss of the card. If you need further help with Concur contact the Finance Department.
Leadership Appreciation Expenses
Appreciation for volunteer leaders is totally appropriate within a budget area as funds are available. For accountability purposes, gifts over $100 in a calendar year to an individual need authorization from the Executive Pastor/CFO.
The paid staff is not to be involved in the collection, sorting, handling or counting of any offerings. However, there will be occasions when handling of monies from registrations and fees or sales will be necessary and is acceptable. Always have a second, non- related person involved in the counting of money.
The Last Word
Whew! Did you get all of that?
We are truly thrilled to have you part of this team. We believe our team will be better because you are on it.