Guidelines issued by Church Music Dublin and
the Advisory Committee on Church Music to the Roman Catholic Council for Liturgy.

First issued in 1996, these recommendations are guidelines, not directives. The qualifications and competence of the musician, what is expected of them, the ability of the choir, and the amount of administrative work involved are among the matters which should be considered when applying the guidelines to the local situation. The scales are revised from time to time in line with remuneration in other sectors.

When appointing musicians, parish authorities are strongly advised to consult the Code of Practice on Determining Employment Status prepared by the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Social Protection and the Workplace Relations Commission. The most recent version was published in July 2021. There is further information on this subject on the Appointment Procedures page. 

It can be very helpful and will avoid difficulties arising, if there is an agreed understanding between clergy and musicians as regards choosing music for the liturgy, fees for weddings and funerals, the use of the organ for teaching and other matters.

In some cases the musician either accepts no payment or donates it back.  While of enormous benefit, this generosity distorts the cost of running the parish.  It is suggested that in such cases the parish should transfer the appropriate level of fee into a separate fund as, when the present musician leaves, it is probable that the successor will have to be paid.  This procedure will establish a realistic payment level for the post and will avoid a sudden additional cost in the future.

The value of regular in-service training cannot be over-emphasised. At all stages in their careers, musicians benefit from continuous professional development. They bring back to the local church fresh approaches and ideas to support their work.  Clergy and parish committees should encourage and expect their musicians to attend relevant courses and should provide financial assistance towards the cost.

Church authorities should find these guidelines useful in determining an appropriate  payment level.  Church Music Dublin emphasises that it is essential that the value of music in the worship of the Church and the musician’s training, skill and commitment are appropriately recognised in monetary terms.

With effect from 1st January 2024

Normal weekly Duties


Band A

One Service / Mass, no choir


Band B

One Service / Mass, choir & Sunday rehearsal


Band C

One Service / Mass, choir & weekday rehearsal


Band D

Two Services / Masses, no choir


Band E

Two Services / Masses, choir & Sunday rehearsal


Band F

Two Services / Masses, choir & weekday rehearsal



(a) The rates for 2024 include a 6.1% uplift, being the increase applied in January to the minimum stipend for clergy of the Church of Ireland.

(b) The amounts above are guidelines and are the minimum suggested remuneration for trained and competent church musicians whose main employment lies outside the field of music and who are appointed to church positions on a contract of service. It is for each parish to determine what to pay their musicians by reference to local circumstances.

(c) Higher rates will usually be appropriate for musicians who earn their living primarily by performing / teaching music. Factors such as hours worked, qualifications and expertise, length of service, responsibility for a junior choir and the amount of preparation time and administrative work involved should also be taken into consideration.

(d) The rates relate to situations where one person works as both organist and choir director. Where two persons are employed to share these responsibilities, the parish should recognise the amount of spent in rehearsals, services and administration. It is recommended that each should receive at least 75% of the relevant rate, with the implication that the total cost to the parish will be at least 50% higher.

(e) The annual rates cover attendance on up to seven occasions in addition to regular Sunday Services / Masses, e.g. Christmas (3), Holy Week (2), Confirmation (1) and one other.

(f) A written contract or letter of appointment should always be provided, outlining the terms and conditions of service and listing the duties, including festivals other than Sundays, for which the musician is required.

(g) Additional payment should be made for duties over and above those set out in the contract.

(h) Statutory annual holiday and sick pay arrangements should apply in the case of contracts of service. In other cases, musicians should be given at least four Sundays leave each year, the parish paying the deputy.

Occasional Work; Weddings and Funerals

(i) The minimum suggested fee for deputy and occasional work is €106 for each service.  When significant travel is involved, out-of-pocket expenses should be reimbursed.

(j) The minimum suggested fee for a wedding is €275, for a funeral, €175, increased where appropriate, in recognition of travel, rehearsals and if music needs to be learned.

Other Guidelines

(k) When organ music is required at weddings and funerals, the resident organist should be given first refusal and, if available, is entitled to receive the appropriate fee when the marriage couple / family wish to engage a different organist.

(l) All rates should be reviewed annually by reference to external benchmarks.

(m) Church authorities should reimburse expenses incurred – such as choir music, postage and stationery – within an agreed budget.

(n) Church authorities should encourage and expect musicians to attend relevant courses (in music, liturgy, theology, etc.) and should contribute towards the cost, recognising the benefit accruing to both the parish and the musician from continuous professional development.