The majority of evangelical leaders are in organizations that offer some paid family leave for their employees, according to the April Evangelical Leaders Survey. Seventy-six percent said their organizations offer parental leave for mothers, 58 percent offer parental leave for fathers, and 84 percent offer paid leave for family medical emergencies. Only 8 percent indicated that their organizations do not offer paid family leave.
“The Bible affirms both family and work life,” said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). “For many evangelical leaders, that translates into how their ministries consider family leave policies. And many want to do more for families, particularly for families who welcome a new child.”
First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, offers parental leave for mothers and fathers as well as paid leave for family emergencies. Bishop Timothy Clarke explained, “We see this as part of our ministry to our staff and a witness as well.”
While some organizations have detailed structures for employees, others offer customized help on a case-by-case basis.
Michael Henderson, lead pastor of New Beginnings Church in Matthews, North Carolina, said they offer paid leave on a case-by-case basis, but seek to be generous. “If it’s a medical emergency or family emergency, we have paid employees up to six months while recovering,” he said.
Several other leaders noted that their organizations utilize a “bank” for paid time off that can be used in a variety of situations. For some, the bank is available for those who have depleted their vacation and sick time but face an illness or emergency, allowing them to take an additional number of days off upon request.
The University of Northwestern – St. Paul (UNWSP) allows employees to bank a certain number of hours per year. They can also donate extra paid time off hours to the bank for those who need additional time for medical emergencies. Alan Cureton, UNWSP president, said, “This donation process has been overwhelmingly positive, for both the donors and recipients.”
The April Evangelical Leaders Survey findings complement a January 2019 study from The Center for Public Justice and Seattle Pacific University on family-supportive practices in the sacred sector. That study found that the majority of sacred sector organizations offer their full-time employees some paid time off for family care. On average, men and women receive four to six weeks paid time off after the birth of a child. However, to do so, employees typically exhaust all sick, vacation and disability insurance as well as any formal paid family leave.
The Evangelical Leaders Survey is a monthly poll of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals. They include the CEOs of denominations and representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations including missions, universities, publishers and churches.