What does it cost to get a Church Employee Handbook?

What does it cost to get a Church Employee Handbook?  Many wonder how much they should pay for a church employee policy manual.  That price really depends on which of the following three paths you choose to follow:

  • Do-it-yourself (template)
  • Consulting company (custom designed)
  • Lawyer (legally strong but not customized)

1. Do-it-Yourself Path: Many consider buying an employee handbook template online, which can cost from $50 to $750 or more.  A decent one will cost you at least $350.  The features such a template must have are:

  • Does the template include state-specific sections?  Many regulations differ by state, such as overtime, discrimination laws, jury duty, vacation pay, etc.
  • Does the template include size-specific sections?  Some regulations differ also by size, including FMLA, Pregnancy Leave, Sick Leave, etc.

Even if the church employee manual template you purchase is a decent one, expect to invest 100-140 work hours into research, editing, and customizing.  You will need to become familiar with your state’s labor laws to make sure the final handbook complies to state laws.  Most templates are purchased online.

It is best to avoid the cheaper templates, since it’s doubtful that they are up-to-date or reflect all the law variances that could affect your policies. But even with a quality template, you will face the need to research what applies to your particular ministry.

Cost to you for a DIY church employee handbook: about $350, plus 100+ work hours.

2. Consulting Company path:  This is the best value for most organizations.  Hire a consulting company to create your Church Employee Handbook.  The consulting company will conduct an interview to determine your current employee policies and survey what will be required considering your ministry mix, location, and size.  Pricing starts at $1,500, so it initially costs more than the DIY path, but in reality it will save you both time and money.  See the links below for more information.

Another bonus in having the consulting expert do the work: they can add customized policies that address your particular mix of ministries, like food handling in a cafe, driving a church bus, working with volunteers, or other unique duties performed by church employees.

Cost to you: About $1,500 to $3,000, plus a few hours reading through the various drafts.

Learn more about Church Employee Handbooks.

3. Attorney-approved Path:  This route is by far the most expensive for an organization.  Hiring a Labor Lawyer to design an employee handbook can cost $5,000 to $9,000 or even more.  Is it worth the price?  Yes, if your ministry is one that’s concerned about a  high-risk for lawsuits.   Be sure to find a lawyer who focuses on employer needs, since many labor lawyers make their money representing employees suing their employers.

Cost to you: Average about $7,000, plus a few hours to review what was created.

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