GCFA Board Acts Regarding the 2021 General Church Apportionments and Department of Labor Guidelines
Friday, March 27, 2020
GCFA Board Acts Regarding the 2021 General Church Apportionments and Department of Labor Guidelines for Staffing
Nashville, TN – The Board of Directors of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) met by Conference Call on March 27 to discuss general Church apportionments for 2021.
It is the Disciplinary responsibility of GCFA to present a quadrennial budget for the General Conference to approve. Specifically, the total budget is set by the General Conference establishing formula used to calculate general Church apportionments. The General Conference also establishes how the total budget will be allocated among (and within) the general Church funds. The budget covers a four-year period that begins on January 1 of the year following the General Conference. Thus, the current quadrennial budget runs through December 31, 2020, and budget to be proposed to the 2020 General Conference would have begun on January 1, 2021. Because of unprecedented actions being taken around the world in response to the COVID-19 virus, the 2020 General Conference has been postponed until 2021, and there is not a new general Church budget to go into effect on January 1, 2021.
GCFA has found no guidance in The Book of Discipline or in decisions of the Judicial Council on how to proceed when the General Conference has not met before the start of the next quadrennium. However, GCFA believes that it is clear that the General Conference has the sole authority to establish the apportionment formula and allocations used to calculate the apportionments for general Church funds. In other words, GCFA does not believe it has any authority to alter prior actions taken by the General Conference in relation to general Church apportionments. As a result, the GCFA Board elected to continue to use the apportionment formula and allocations adopted by the 2016 General Conference. Using this approach, 2021 apportionments to the annual conferences will reflect the last General Conference actions related to general Church apportionments.
In a previous communication, the GCFA Board announced that it would present a reduced budget to the 2020 General Conference which includes a reduced base rate. That proposal would still be taken to the General Conference to get approved. Once the General Conference meets and adopts the base rate, apportionment formula and allocations for 2021-2024, GCFA would adjust the apportionments. The annual conference Treasurers and Bishops will receive a separate email further explaining in detail the formula and relaying the decisions of the Board.
In its deliberations, the Board recognizes the challenges ahead for the whole church – including annual conferences, local churches, and general Church agencies – but finding no precedent for these actions, elected to continue with the directives from the 2016 General Conference.
In a separate action, the Board voted to submit a declaratory decision request to the Judicial Council regarding its decision on general Church apportionments for 2021.
The Board also heard a report related to the Families First Corona Virus Response Act (FFCRA). On March 19, 2020, the President signed the Act into law. FFCRA was created to ensure the safety of American workers. The FFCRA requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
In general, employees of private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees, and certain public sector employers, are eligible for up to two weeks of fully or partially paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons, and may be eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of partially paid expanded family and medical leave to care for the employee’s child.
The GCFA Legal and Human Resources Departments are working collectively to ensure agencies, annual conferences and local churches are able to implement the FFCRA and comply with its regulations. A FFCRA FAQ has been posted on GCFA’s website. A webinar is currently being developed. The Department of Labor will be releasing regulations on the FFCRA in early April. As information is released, GCFA will continue to update the FAQ and will be announcing the FFCRA webinar soon!