• rjlynch210
    Posts: 23
    Just curious what the procedure is in your own Parishes... I've recently started at a new full time position (about 7 months ago) mid-size parish 2,500 families... I've been told that I need to personally pay out of my pocket anytime someone covers for me for anything, and that the Parish will not pay for it.So say I want to take a weekend, It'll cost me $400 to do so! Other places even when I was not full time the parish always paid for subs. Experiences?
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,055
    That's crazy talk. There needs to be some sort of a budget (not necessarily a large one) for the parish to compensate musicians who cover for you while you are away. This is unequivocally standard practice.
  • rjlynch210
    Posts: 23
    It's not a poor parish by any means.
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    Do you have paid vacation in your contract?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • rjlynch210
    Posts: 23
    G, yes 2 paid weeks.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,001
    That includes 2 weekends.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Crazy indeed.

    See if the pastor will entertain any more conversation on this subject.

    My place is not nearly as large, and is not affluent by any means. And I typically take one full weekend a year and maybe a Saturday here and there (not often) throughout the year off for which the parish pays my sub.

    I suppose if I started taking a weekend mass or two each month off I'd be paying out of my own pocket. But a few times a year? No way.
    Thanked by 1rjlynch210
  • Ah, no. For your 2 paid weeks of vacation (or emergency sick time) it would be professionally unethical to make you pay for your substitute. This is not a grey area at all; B&W. Unethical.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,001
    Office people (office and business managers eg) might not easily understand this, because they think vacation time is mon-fri, but clergy will.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    And if they don't, just start looking. I can't even imagine what other insanity there is at such a place.
  • The other option is to cultivate volunteer subs from within the parish. However, this takes time and the results may be unsatisfactory to the pastor, unless he is pleased with the financial savings -- understood to be on the PARISH's end.
    Thanked by 2rjlynch210 CHGiffen
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,593
    Chant sung a capella that weekend it is.

    Seriously though... Call the HR office at the Chancery and ask if this is acceptable.

    Then come to the CMAA Colloquium and go to my lecture and realize that in the future you should have gotten EVERY SINGLE DETAIL POSSIBLE in writing.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,593
    Though if you do have a serious choral program, them singing a capella is an option. I'm going to be away from the Cathedral next Sunday. I hired an organist for the televised Mass, but for the rest of the Masses it's just not worth it for that expense from my budget. A substitute organist is going to play a prelude, a postlude and 2 hymns... It's probably a worthwhile expense for television, but for the 11am Solemn Mass that is mostly a capella? A schola of men can certainly sing well by themselves.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,001
    Btw, it's probably not a good idea to say, all the people on the musicasacra forum agree with me :).

    On the other hand, is there in fact a useful way to "manage up" regarding the industry standard on hr issues?
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    Yes, I concur with everyone else. That's crazy for you to have to pay out of the meager pittance you already endure for serving the Church to get a sub when, lets say you're sick, much less spend time with your family for something.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,545
    On the other hand, is there in fact a useful way to "manage up" regarding the industry standard on hr issues?


    Maybe AGO or NPM have something in their guidelines about this. Appeal to that as industry standard, even if the rest of the contract looks different than what those organizations suggest, you could say "Look, these things are what's normally expected. We're maybe not in line with this or that, so you could at least throw me a bone with a budget for subs once in awhile." Appeal to that, or just appeal to reason. 2 weeks paid vacation in the contract, if taken consecutively, is going to include 2 weekends. How did they expect to handle those masses? If the director has to pay out of pocket to keep those weekend liturgies covered, then they are not paid vacation.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Btw, it's probably not a good idea to say, all the people on the musicasacra forum agree with me :).

    Spot on, Kathy, I never agree with me.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Ive had to pay a sub for the cantor from my own wage, but the parishes I work for employ enough musicians to cover absences. If you pay, you have total control of the personnel, which might not jibe with the whole fingerprinting protocols in effect.
    Anyways, for that kind of money, I'd never take a vacation. Our business offices want have all possibilities covered, so musicians aren't really stuck forking out their own pay to hire subs, while letting the sheriff give the nod to any of your candidates.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,001
    I'd already be frustrated that you only get 2 weekends :)

    I've always thought 4 weekends minimum for any full-time church job. Let's face it, those are the only 4 weekends out of 52 in the year that a church musician has a chance to be "normal". 2 weekends will lead to burn out, 6 might lead to wanting to give up on the career :)

    Seriously, though, they need to pay up. This is why people don't work for the Catholic Church. I honestly think someday God will make clergy answer for these sorts of things; we could have so much more beauty in the liturgy if people would exercise common sense (even when we're talking about a parish paying for subs!)
  • Here's a little prayer to help console you through the mess.

    "The Choirmaster's Poem"
    (anon. 20th century)

    The Choirmaster stood at the pearly gates
    His face was worn and old,
    He stood before the man of fate
    For admission to the fold.
    "What have you done," St. Peter said
    "To gain admission here?"
    "I've been a Choirmaster, sir," he said
    "For many and many a year."
    The pearly gates flew open wide
    Saint Peter touched the bell.
    "Come in," he said, "and choose your harp
    You've had your share of hell."
  • TCJ
    Posts: 623
    At my last job, I could take off whenever I wanted so long as I gave advance notice (and also within reason), but I had no problem getting about four weeks (including weekends) off. The catch was that I didn't get paid vacation. I also had to find substitutes for any time I took off, but the church would pay for them. Personally, I found my situation reasonable, but I certainly wouldn't have if I had been expected to pay for those subs!

    If the continue to insist on that, could you just choose not to get subs at all? Problem solved!
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    The parish should pay for subs for your two paid weeks of vacation. It's reasonable to expect that this would include two weekends. If they don't want to pay subs, they go without music those two weeks. Vacation is vacation. Of course, on your end, you need to show that you are reasonable, too, and will not nickel and dime them every time you want to take a random personal day.

    I've never had a problem with this. In fact, I rarely use all my vacation time in any calendar year, because the job is so flexible. I hope reasonable minds prevail in your situation.

    Be chill. (And get it in writing!)
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    Resurrecting to say that my Parish just informed me that I'm in the same situation as the OP. I just tried to take one Mass off this weekend and, when I asked how to submit for the vacation time, was told that my vacation time only covers my office hours - not Mass times. So it would cost me $400 to take a weekend off. What's worse is that I THOUGHT this was the case until a recent staff meeting when we went over vacation procedures and I was told there WAS a budget for substitute musicians.... Now that I'm trying to use it, it apparently doesn't exist.
  • I have to hearken back to RJC's comment earlier. Forcing any employee to pay for their own substitutes is unheard of and scandalously unethical. That a parish would hold fast to that policy even when it is brought to the leadership's attention would be more than enough for me to start looking for another job. Any place that cannot see the injustice of that policy likely has problems in other areas, too.
  • donr
    Posts: 940
    Personally, I would tell them its unacceptable and that you have found a replacement. You are taking vacation and if they want music for the Mass they will pay him/her, If not there will be no music for Mass.
    It may mean the near end of your position or it may teach them that its not acceptable.
  • A vacation is a vacation: re-creative paid leave from one's work (all of it!). You are being had. Um, perhaps one might suggest that the next time the clergy take a vacation they will be told that it is only for 'office hours' and that they are expected to fulfill their normal mass duties (or else pay any subs out of their own pockets). I wonder just how this would go over!

    Paid leave (vacation) with subs paid by the parish is a universal. You should perhaps begin a search for a position within this universe?
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Gavin
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,735
    Last time I checked, withholding the just wage of the worker was still on the list of sins that cry to Heaven.
    Thanked by 2Liam AndrewK
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    I particularly like the comparison to clergy vacation. That's a very good point. And yes, there are plenty of other problems with this particular institution.
  • kenstb
    Posts: 358
    What is the policy within your diocese with respect to this? If a musician plays for the mass, the parish receiving the service is required to pay him/her for their work. In fact, vacations for staff are supposed to be paid. Do you have an actual contract with the parish, or were you relying on the word of the pastor? I can't imagine that the local ordinary would be okay with such an arrangement.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,404
    Musicians in the average Catholic parish are not employees in the modern sense, but rather indentured servants at best. Some mere slaves.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • kenstb
    Posts: 358
    Actually, most of us are independent contractors. As a result, we are responsible for our own taxes, etc. Musicians are not required to pay their substitutes out of their own pockets.
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    Situations like this make me somewhat happy that I am currently paid per diem.

    But...if you are salaried and get "two weeks vacation," then either the church pays for a sub, or there will be no music. Or.... you could hire the worst organist who is currently unemployed (and from my experience the pool of unemployed organists is already generally pretty terrible ;-) ) and see if next time the church will cough up some more money to get someone "more qualified." ;-)
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,404
    Ken, in my area most are employees, like the house-keeper and secretaries; Some I know have even been reprimanded by their employers for "moon-lighting" when subbing for Funerals.
  • kenstb
    Posts: 358
    I am sorry to see that musicians are being treated in this way, Salieri. I don't see the problem with subbing at funerals as long as it doesn't interfere with regular duties. In my area (NYC) many organists supplement their income in this manner and it isn't a problem.