Inflation and salaries

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The General Council on Finance and Administration board approved adjustments to salaries for bishops and agency staff in response to two years of inflation.

The Consumer Price Index increased 8.5 percent between July 2021 and July 2022. But inflation is also a global challenge.

Based on projections from leading economists and a Payscale survey, the GCFA board voted for a 4% pay increase for all United Methodist bishops in 2023.

The pay hike will increase costs to the denomination’s Episcopal Fund by about $400,000. This comes as the Episcopal Fund reserves have grown by $1.4 million because of COVID-related travel restrictions as well as vacancies in bishops’ offices.

Bishops’ salaries vary by region. In 2023, U.S. bishops each will make $175,595. In Africa and the Philippines, the bishops will each make $86,299. The European and Eurasian bishops’ salaries will range from $61,334 to $136,721.

The board also approved a 4% increase in grants for episcopal office staff this year. Annual conferences typically cover at least some of the office-staff costs.

The recommendation is to increase the office allowance by 4% this year.

The Council of Bishops has scheduled elections for U.S. bishops on Nov. 2-5 this year. Newly elected bishops take office on Jan. 1. The Philippines Central Conference also plans to elect three new bishops at a special session on Nov. 24-26.

The GCFA board also approved a 5% increase for the salary structure of the 10 agencies supported by general church apportionments. This does not mean everybody gets a pay hike.

“Depending on the responsibilities of an employee, the salary structure presents a minimum and maximum for each person in a position that may be paid,” said the Rev. Anthony Tang, chair of the board’s Committee on Personnel Policies and Practices. “But it does not determine how much they are paid.”

Both bishops and agency staff will also see increases in the costs of their United Methodist-sponsored health benefits next year.

Return to main story, Grappling with mixed news on giving, church exits

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