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  #1  
Old Jan 18, '12, 8:25 am
Catholic EC Catholic EC is offline
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Default Need some advice

Recently I have performed some work for a Catholic Parish in the next town which is my own parish's sister parish. Both parishes are served by the same preist, share CCD instruction. and other parish functions. At my own parish when I have performed work generally I just charge for materials at my cost and donate labor, mostly if they are small little tasks I do not charge at all. Our pastor has indicated to me that he does not exspect me to do things for free but is grateful for what I do.

At the sister parish I spent about three quarters of a day there fixing a number of different issues they had. I have not sent a bill out yet but I have printed one out. On my invoice I charged for materials at my cost and I cut my usual labor rate in half.

I am wondering if this is being fair? I am struggling with if I should cut my labor rate more.
I need to pay my own bills, but I want to be generous to this parish and to God.

I am ashamed to admit a part of me is afraid that members of this parish may think that I am too expensive even though I have discounted my labor and not marked up my material or that they may feel I am not being fair to them because I havent fully charged my home parish. I also know that I have an obligation to my family to provide for them, also an obligation to pay creditors.

I do contribute financially to my own parish as well as volunteer to teach CCD and volunteer with other parish events.

This time of year work is slow and I must do my best to provide.

Please your insights are welcome
  #2  
Old Jan 18, '12, 9:01 am
Pfaffenhoffen Pfaffenhoffen is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catholic EC View Post
Recently I have performed some work for a Catholic Parish in the next town which is my own parish's sister parish. Both parishes are served by the same preist, share CCD instruction. and other parish functions. At my own parish when I have performed work generally I just charge for materials at my cost and donate labor, mostly if they are small little tasks I do not charge at all. Our pastor has indicated to me that he does not exspect me to do things for free but is grateful for what I do.

At the sister parish I spent about three quarters of a day there fixing a number of different issues they had. I have not sent a bill out yet but I have printed one out. On my invoice I charged for materials at my cost and I cut my usual labor rate in half.

I am wondering if this is being fair? I am struggling with if I should cut my labor rate more.
I need to pay my own bills, but I want to be generous to this parish and to God.

I am ashamed to admit a part of me is afraid that members of this parish may think that I am too expensive even though I have discounted my labor and not marked up my material or that they may feel I am not being fair to them because I havent fully charged my home parish. I also know that I have an obligation to my family to provide for them, also an obligation to pay creditors.

I do contribute financially to my own parish as well as volunteer to teach CCD and volunteer with other parish events.

This time of year work is slow and I must do my best to provide.

Please your insights are welcome


For me you are being generous and fair.
But maybe listening to others is better as I am not American.
  #3  
Old Jan 18, '12, 9:20 am
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triumphguy triumphguy is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice

You are entitled to a fair recompense for your work. If you don;t charge a fair amount, then the parish will begin to expect that it does not have to pay a fair amount, and will not expect the parishioners to abide by one of the precepts of the Church, which is to provide financial support for the church.

1st Timothy 5:18
For the scripture saith: Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn: and, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
  #4  
Old Jan 18, '12, 9:28 am
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Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice

Listen to your priest. He told you he does not expect you to work for free.
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  #5  
Old Jan 18, '12, 9:30 am
Jesusismyfriend Jesusismyfriend is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice

God wants us to be generous, but He does not want us to give out of guilt or obligation. H ewould rather you gave a little money and want to, than for you to give more than you can afford if you might come to resent it eventually. Give as much as you feel you can give.
  #6  
Old Jan 18, '12, 9:35 am
Catholic EC Catholic EC is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by triumphguy View Post
You are entitled to a fair recompense for your work. If you don;t charge a fair amount, then the parish will begin to expect that it does not have to pay a fair amount, and will not expect the parishioners to abide by one of the precepts of the Church, which is to provide financial support for the church.

1st Timothy 5:18
For the scripture saith: Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn: and, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
I guess I never thought of it from that perspective, Thank you for you response. It will help me to dicern on this matter. And thank you to the first person who responded that too will help me discern this matter.
  #7  
Old Jan 18, '12, 9:50 am
pablope pablope is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catholic EC View Post
Recently I have performed some work for a Catholic Parish in the next town which is my own parish's sister parish.
At the sister parish I spent about three quarters of a day there fixing a number of different issues they had. I have not sent a bill out yet but I have printed one out. On my invoice I charged for materials at my cost and I cut my usual labor rate in half.

I am wondering if this is being fair? I am struggling with if I should cut my labor rate more.
I need to pay my own bills, but I want to be generous to this parish and to God.

I am ashamed to admit a part of me is afraid that members of this parish may think that I am too expensive even though I have discounted my labor and not marked up my material or that they may feel I am not being fair to them because I havent fully charged my home parish. I also know that I have an obligation to my family to provide for them, also an obligation to pay creditors.

I do contribute financially to my own parish as well as volunteer to teach CCD and volunteer with other parish events.

This time of year work is slow and I must do my best to provide.

Please your insights are welcome


Here is what I would have done if I was in your situation:

When you submit a bill, you also submit an itemized cost or list of items...material plus labor with the bill.

My suggestion is to submit the cost, with your normal labor rate....and in your bill, put a note....say, Material billed at cost......and labor is $xxxxx.00, and will offer a XX% discount...then a summary of total billing to the parish.

This way, they could see what the actual cost is and you are discounting the cost.
  #8  
Old Jan 18, '12, 10:14 am
Gem Gem is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice

There is nothing wrong with donating your labor to your home parish. It's just like putting money in the basket.

But you don't owe free labor to any and all churches, even sister churches, especially during what would normally be a work day. Like you say, you gotta eat.

Like others said, donate in total an amount you are comfortable with, considering the needs of your family.
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  #9  
Old Jan 18, '12, 11:36 am
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triumphguy triumphguy is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by pablope View Post
Here is what I would have done if I was in your situation:

When you submit a bill, you also submit an itemized cost or list of items...material plus labor with the bill.

My suggestion is to submit the cost, with your normal labor rate....and in your bill, put a note....say, Material billed at cost......and labor is $xxxxx.00, and will offer a XX% discount...then a summary of total billing to the parish.

This way, they could see what the actual cost is and you are discounting the cost.
Good idea!
  #10  
Old Jan 18, '12, 6:35 pm
Bartolome Casas Bartolome Casas is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice

Catechists are important. You need to eat. If they don't pay you enough, you will sooner or later not be there to provide them with expert catechesis at all. So, I say charge them what you need to charge them in order for you to pay your bills. That, to me, is what is fair. If they don't want to pay that, well, so be it. That means they don't want or appreciate expert catechesis. Then you will do other things or do catechesis for others.

But, in general, I think someone like you have to take care that as many people as possible can SEE the VALUE of what you are providing. Perhaps you are already doing that. I once knew a professor who trained teachers who always said that if you don't make sure that you get credit for doing something, it is just the same as if you didn't even do it. Well, of course God sees everything, so that professor was a little bit off the mark. But you have to make sure those paying your fees see things too.

Well, good luck. I think parish-based expert catechists should be paid well. Catholics, both young and old, really know so little about their Faith. Listening to Catholic radio and watching Catholic TV doesn't really seem to help that much, for some reason.
  #11  
Old Jan 19, '12, 6:48 pm
Sunbreak Sunbreak is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice

Here's my thoughts.

I agree with others that you are entitled to compensation for your labor, especially if you are working most of the day. It's your choice if you want to donate labor.

You don't owe any donation to a neighboring parish. You are already generous with your own parish.

I think maybe in the future it might be a good idea to let the parish (pastor) know that you will charge for labor and your labor charges up front so there will be lesser chance of misunderstanding after the job is done and you've presented an invoice. You could always reduce the total after the job is done if you choose, but at least they will expect to pay something and not be surprised.
  #12  
Old Jan 19, '12, 10:06 pm
Ancient1 Ancient1 is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice

You are not clear in your own mind whether you are a VOLUNTEER or a CONTRACTOR.

This is compounded by your volunteering in other areas (CCD) and by some inconsistent past behavior at the other parish, ie: charging only for materials. You also confuse yourself by the issue of paying your own bills, that is not the problem of the parish. The conflict is additionally compounded by your guilt over asking "too much" and your fear of "what people will think." All of the above are ego-related and irrelevant to the matter at hand, your compensation for work.

The conflicted feelings are normal because you are in a conflicted situation that almost invariably some day will lead to a complaint from someone in one of those 2 parishes. You are being more than fair, but you need to be businesslike too in your approach. For now, you must proceed trying to get these various odd pieces in a logical working relationship to one another in your role in the parish. So, are you a professional or are you a volunteer? It's a matter of getting straight and then BEING CONSISTENT with the priest on what your JOB/ROLE is.

Most professionals that I've seen who do work for the parish simply charge their regular rate, less a "courtesy discount" of anywhere from 15-25% Maybe more. Usually these are folks doing the work because they are parishioners or just Catholics and want to help, and so do it at a price break. If you want to work for free, then you will always have to work for free, as you are establishing yourself as a volunteer not a professional. Be consistent and a difference in the bill by a bit won't matter to the parish management.
  #13  
Old Jan 20, '12, 7:44 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Need some advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartolome Casas View Post
Catechists are important. You need to eat. If they don't pay you enough, you will sooner or later not be there to provide them with expert catechesis at all. So, I say charge them what you need to charge them in order for you to pay your bills. That, to me, is what is fair. If they don't want to pay that, well, so be it. That means they don't want or appreciate expert catechesis. Then you will do other things or do catechesis for others.

.
OP does not say he is a catechist, sounds like a professional consultant or one of the trades. Catechists in this country are paid very seldom, although the bishops have said the person who administers parish catechetical programs should be paid, and there are national standards on the professional qualifications for that job (DRE) although no set salary schedule.

agree with PP that your status as either a volunteer or contractor should be established, preferably in writing, with the pastor or parish administrator.

our diocese discourages paid parish staff (secretary or bookkeeper for instance) from also doing volunteer work at the same parish (catechist for example) for several reasons. For one thing, there is a fear that the secretary who is injured while volunteering may then file a workers comp claim, or that the liability exposure of the parish if she is guilty of any wrongdoing will be greater since the standard employees are held to is stricter. Yes, these are the kinds of factors that influence such decisions on the part of pastors.

Part of the dilemma is how "joint" parishes--more than one under the same pastor-- are administered in your diocese. I go with the first poster who said talk to the priest and get it straight.

we usually go to parishioners first for professional or trade services, to patronize them (as they often advertise in our bulletin) and most of them present an invoice which is either discounted, charges for materials and parts only, not labor, or is forgiven entirely. When this is signed it serves as a receipt for the part of the service that is now a charitable deduction for them, and we have a record of what services were done and by whom.
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