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New Dignity in Church Life Policies Focus on Clergy Illness and Clergy Parental Sabbatical


New Dignity in Church Life Policies Focus on Clergy Illness and Clergy Parental Sabbatical

Two new Dignity in Church Life Policies were presented to General Synod in Wexford today (Friday May 12).

Details of the Clergy Permanent Health Insurance Policy and the Clergy Parental Sabbatical Policy were outlined to members by Mike Johnston.

Since 2015 under the current Clergy Illness Policy, clergy who are members of the closed Defined Benefit Clergy Pensions Fund have been able to avail of the ill–health provisions set out in Chapter 14 of the Constitution but there is no ill–health protection for clergy who are not members of that pension scheme. The Clergy Permanent Health Insurance policy seeks to address this lack of cover by making this new policy applicable to clergy who are members of the Clergy Defined Contribution pension schemes.

Mr Johnston explained the guidelines under which the scheme will operate.

The Clergy Parental Sabbatical Policy introduces three new sub–policies to support clergy on the birth or adoption of a child:

–          Maternity sabbatical of up to 26 weeks,

–          Paternity sabbatical of up to two weeks,

–          Adoptive sabbatical of up to 26 weeks.

During these periods of time the member of the clergy will continue to receive their full stipend and allowances and continue to live in the glebe house. The diocese will arrange cover during the period of the sabbatical and the RCB will reimburse the diocese from the Clergy Ministry Protection Fund.

Mr Johnston said that the RCB would be preparing policy and guideline documentation for inclusion in the Dignity in Church Life folders and would provide clergy briefings over Zoom prior to implementation of the policies in July of this year.

“I acknowledge that some dioceses have already provide a level of support similar to these policies but I believe that these new church wide policies will bring these benefits across all dioceses,” he said adding his thanks to all involved in creating the policies and the RB staff for their work in drafting them.

The full speech can be found here

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