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Old 09-21-2010, 12:33 PM
 
6 posts, read 77,438 times
Reputation: 13
Arrow Church workers not elligible for unemployment compensation?

Hmm... i was just told by a friend that because I worked for and got laid off from a church, I'm not eligible for unemployment compensation benefits?

Is this correct?

Here are the details
:

1. I've been working at this church full time in Indiana for over 10 years.
2. I wasn't part of the "ministerial staff", just an administrative assistant (did paperwork, computer work, filing, general office assistance).
3. Had full benefits, they took out all FICA, Soc Sec, State & Fed taxes, etc. just like a "normal" job, worked 37 hours per week.
4. The church is a non-profit organization.
5. This is a large church with over 40 full time employees, and about 20 part time employees.
6. They are giving me a severance package, equal to my regular paycheck, for a 6 week period.
7. Was laid off along with several other employees, due to lack of church funds to keep us employed (bad economy).

My friend told me that most churches can "opt-out" of paying UI insurance payments, and therefore employees are not able to get Unemployment Compensation when laid off. Another friend told me that "it depends upon the size of the church".

I can't find anything on the Indiana Dept of Workforce website to indicate one way or the other, and I can't get through to their phone line at all (on hold for hours).

Can anyone tell me for sure?

Last edited by wayne777; 09-21-2010 at 12:40 PM.. Reason: clarification & correction
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:45 PM
 
4,919 posts, read 9,867,633 times
Reputation: 5734
There are a few types of employers that can opt-out of manditory unemployment and churches are one of them. DELETED: OFFENSIVE Politicians didn't want to go againt the church so they let them opt-out. Unless your church paid into the unemployment system or bought private insurance for unemplyment, you may be entitled to nothing. Call the church and ask them if they paid into the unemployment system or if they have private insurance to cover unemplyment. If they paid in, file like normally. If they have private insurance ask how to file a claim. If they have none of those, ask for the "God will provide" part.

Last edited by JMT; 09-23-2010 at 07:14 AM..
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
13,615 posts, read 17,264,553 times
Reputation: 6308
Quote:
Originally Posted by PacificFlights View Post
If they have none of those, ask for the "God will provide" part.
http://bestsmileys.com/lol/1.gif (broken link)http://bestsmileys.com/lol/1.gif (broken link)

Hopefully, with 60 employees, they did feel it incumbent upon them to pay into the system or buy insurance beyond the supernatural. Probably would have cost them about $15,000/year max for everyone.

Good luck to you. Let us know what happens.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:25 PM
 
Location: home state of Myrtle Beach!
5,474 posts, read 9,919,411 times
Reputation: 2577
Even if you think you may be ineligible for unemployment benefits you should still apply.
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:13 PM
 
6 posts, read 77,438 times
Reputation: 13
Okay, thanks. Does anyone know for sure whether a church with over 40 employees can "opt-out" of UI in Indiana?

The people at the church are not giving any answers - basically saying, you'll have to contact Workforce Development - not sure why I'm not getting straight answers from them - they seem not to want to make any statement on this for some reason, and IN Dept of Workforce Development doesn't answer my emails or their phone, and I've tried several phone numbers, and nothing is on their website on this issue.

I'd like to know if I'm eligible or not, and I can't apply until my severance pay runs out, and this is leaving a huge hanging uncertainty in my life right now, because I need to make some financial decisions asap. If I simply apply, it will be at least a week or two before I find out, and I can't wait that long.

My other friend says they can't opt-out, since they have over 20 employees - is that true, and can anyone point me to a law or official web site to give documented answers to this?

Last edited by wayne777; 09-21-2010 at 06:16 PM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:43 PM
 
94 posts, read 173,348 times
Reputation: 97
Why can't you apply until your severance runs out? In my state (not Indiana) you are supposed to apply as soon as possible , even if you have received or will receive any severance pay.
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:48 PM
 
7,685 posts, read 7,976,101 times
Reputation: 10231
Wayne,

Does IN have any One Stop Centers? They have them in CA and other states. People who have been laid off go there for resume assistance and job searches, but they also have staff that can assist you and reps from UE to answer your questions.

That beats sending an email or waiting on the the phone.

I don't know for sure but I would think employing that many people would get you covered.

Good luck.
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:56 PM
 
1,097 posts, read 830,360 times
Reputation: 1501
They can opt out. Number of employees doesn't matter. It is a federal law, though states have challenged it.

See this article from Ethics Daily

Any Unemployment Insurance for Non-Profits? on EthicsDaily.com (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache2Dx-I4qUR4J:www.ethicsdaily.com/news.php%3FviewStory%3D13805+church+exemption+to+U nemployment+insurance&cd=16&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&cl ient=firefox-a - broken link)
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Old 09-21-2010, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
13,615 posts, read 17,264,553 times
Reputation: 6308
A church of this size is a big business and must have a professional administrator and accounting staff. Someone there certainly knows whether they have paid into the public system or have a private policy. Contact the Moderator, Administrator, Board of Deacons, or all of them. You are entitled to know where you stand. When my company laid off 100 people, they told everyone to apply for unemployment immediately and that they wouldn't contest it. It was part of the termination/exit meeting process.

A church that has 40 full-time and 20 part-time employees is paying probably close to $5-$7 million a year in salaries and benefits at minimum. Truly a shame if they haven't been protecting their employees by paying into the UI system. Would have cost them perhaps no more than $15-$20k a year. They may be exempt, but that doesn't mean they couldn't participate if they wished. I don't think the answer is going to be a good one here.

Last edited by Ariadne22; 09-21-2010 at 08:02 PM..
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Old 09-22-2010, 12:32 AM
 
Location: Staten Island, New York
3,203 posts, read 3,190,595 times
Reputation: 2786
Apply now. Severance shouldn't matter unless it's a salary continuance.
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