Green for Ordinary Time

Fee Guidelines

These guidelines are issued jointly by
Church Music Dublin and
the Advisory Committee on Church Music of the Episcopal Commission for Liturgy

Recommendations 2017

The rates below are guidelines, not directives. The qualifications and ability of the musician, what is expected of him/her, 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.

The recommendations relate to amateur musicians.  Here ‘amateur’ indicates musicians who may be professionally qualified and who earn their  living principally outside the world of music.  Higher rates would be appropriate for musicians who earn their living principally by performing and/or teaching music.

When a the musician is engaged on a ‘contract of service’ / ’employed’ basis, the employer should note its legal responsibilities in relation to taxation, social welfare, health and safety and employer’s liability insurance.  Go to the ‘Appointment Procedures‘ page for guidance as regards determining a worker’s employment status. 

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 a local agreement exists whereby 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 pay 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 sizeable additional cost in the future.

The value of regular in-service training cannot be over-emphasised. Musicians, both early in their careers and later, 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 avail themselves of opportunities to attend courses and should provide financial assistance towards the cost. The suggested fees are appropriate for those who regularly attend courses and training relevant to their work as church musicians.

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 be appropriately recognised in monetary terms.



Issued by Church Music Dublin and

the  Advisory Committee on Church Music of the  Episcopal Commission for Liturgy.

Normal weekly duties


Fee for 48 Sundays

[see (b) below]

Band A

One Service / Mass, no choir


Band B

One Service / Mass, choir with a Sunday rehearsal


Band C

One Service / Mass, choir with a weekday rehearsal


Band D

Two Services / Masses, no choir


Band E

Two Services / Masses, choir with a Sunday rehearsal


Band F

Two Services / Masses, choir with a weekday rehearsal


The amounts above are the minimum suggested fees in 2017 for trained and competent church musicians who undertake regular in-service training.  Factors such as level of qualifications, length of service, responsibility for a junior choir and the amount of administrative work involved should also be taken into consideration. Higher rates will usually be appropriate for musicians who earn their living primarily by performing / teaching music.

*These fees relate to a combined organist/choir director position. Where the positions are shared between two people as choir director and organist, it is suggested that each should receive 75% of the appropriate fee with the implication that the total cost to the parish will be 50% higher than the rates above.


Where a church has an appointed organist it is normal practice to pay him/her the appropriate fee when the marriage couple/family wish to engage an organist of their choice.  The implementation of this principle requires flexibility so as to avoid misunderstanding and unfair criticism of musicians. It is recommended that each church should have a worked out policy in this matter, agreed in advance between clergy and musician.

The minimum suggested fee is €230, but should be higher when the musician is required for a rehearsal or when music has to be purchased or learned.

The minimum suggested fee is €125 for one service.  Travelling expenses, 50c per km, may be paid where appropriate.


(a) Fees should be reviewed annually by reference to pay inflation and national pay agreements.
(b) Church musicians should be entitled to at least four Sundays off each year and the parish should pay the deputy for those Sundays. The responsibility for finding a deputy should be primarily that of the musician.
(c) Musicians should be allowed two Sundays sick leave in any one year, for which period the parish will meet the cost of a deputy.
(d) The minimum suggested rate for deputy work is €76 for the first service on any day and €51 for each subsequent service.
(e) A written contract should be entered into, outlining the terms and conditions of service and listing the duties, including the festivals other than Sundays, for which the musician is required.
(f) Additional payment should be made for duties over and above those set out in the contract.
(g) Church authorities should reimburse expenses incurred by church musicians – such as choir music, postage and stationery – within an agreed budget.
(h) Church authorities should encourage and expect musicians to attend appropriate courses (in music, liturgy, theology, etc.) in Ireland and elsewhere at least once every three years and should contribute towards the cost, recognising the benefit accruing to both the parish and the musician from continuous professional development.

These guidelines may also be downloaded from the National Centre for Liturgy website.