Clergy Terms and Conditions of Service

The majority of clergy in the Church of England hold their Ecclesiastical Office under Common Tenure.

The Ecclesiastical Offices Terms of Service Legislation Measure (2009) is a significant piece of legislation that created Common Tenure. It provides for the appointment and termination of office and for the making of Regulations on various different matters. A Measure passed by the General Synod and then passed by Parliament is equivalent, in law, to an Act of parliament.

The Ecclesiastical Offices Terms of Service Regulations (2009) cover a range of matters, including Statement of Particulars, entitlement to stipend, Ministerial Development Review, entitlement to maternity, paternity, shared parental leave and of capability and grievance procedures.

The Regulations have been amended, and Guidance is produced, on a number of occasions since 2009 as Common Tenure has worked through in practice and issues have been identified and improvements have been made.

Female clergy member serving plate of food to older gentleman at table Manchester Diocese

From the introduction of Common Tenure an office holder who is occupying a full-time stipendiary post is entitled to receive an annual stipend of not less than the National Minimum Stipend (NMS). The NMS is also used to calculate the value of the clergy pension on retirement. The Archbishops’ Council sets the level of the NMS each year and recommends a National Stipend Benchmark (NSB) for incumbents and clergy of incumbent status. An annual Central Stipends Authority Report to General Synod explains the stipend setting process and sets out the stipends paid in the previous year and recommendations for the coming year.

Recommendations are made on the basis that parochial expenses are reimbursed in full. If clergy do not claim all their expenses, or their expenses are not fully reimbursed, they are receiving less than their full stipend. The Parochial Expenses of the Clergy is a guide for PCCs to ensure that clergy expenses are reimbursed in full.

Fair and transparent terms and conditions contribute to well-being at work. Access to adequate and timely support at times of ill health are particularly significant to maintaining the well-being of clergy. So too are mechanisms for addressing incidents of bullying and harassment. The Remuneration and Conditions of Service Committee is currently reviewing how policy and practice can better support clergy in their personal thriving and ministerial flourishing.