These guidelines are issued jointly by
Church Music Dublin and
the Advisory Committee on Church Music of the Episcopal Commission for Liturgy
(as amended by the Executive Committee of Church Music Dublin on 7th December 2020)
First issued in 1996, these recommendations 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 rates are minimum amounts recommended for those who earn their living principally outside the world of music. Higher rates would be appropriate for those whose principal living is earned through music, and for musicians with significant experience or qualifications relevant to their work.
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.
MINIMUM REMUNERATION FOR CHURCH MUSICIANS – 2020
Issued by Church Music Dublin and
the Advisory Committee on Church Music of the Episcopal Commission for Liturgy.
|Normal weekly duties||Annual|
|Band A||One Service / Mass, no choir||€3,505|
|Band B||One Service / Mass, choir & Sunday rehearsal||€4,662*|
|Band C||One Service / Mass, choir & weekday rehearsal||€5,853*|
|Band D||Two Services / Masses, no choir||€5,853*|
|Band E||Two Services / Masses, choir & Sunday rehearsal||€7,536*|
|Band F||Two Services / Masses, choir & weekday rehearsal||€9,113*|
The amounts above are the minimum suggested remuneration in 2020 for trained and competent church musicians who are appointed to church positions and who undertake in-service training from time to time. Higher rates will usually be appropriate for musicians who earn their living primarily by performing / teaching music. Factors such as level of qualification, length of service, responsibility for a junior choir and the amount of preparation time and administrative work involved should also be taken into consideration.
*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 preparation time and administrative work done by each, as well as time spent in rehearsals and services. 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.
The minimum suggested fee for deputy and occasional work is €80 for the first service on any day and €53 for each subsequent service. When significant travel is involved, the cost of fuel and bus/train/taxi fares should be reimbursed..
Weddings and Funerals
When organ music is required at weddings and funerals, the appointed 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. The implementation of this principle requires flexibility. It is recommended that each church should have a clear policy, agreed in advance between clergy and musician.
The minimum suggested fee for a wedding is €240 plus, where appropriate, travel expenses, and should be higher when the musician is required for a rehearsal or when it is necessary to buy or learn music..
The minimum suggested fee for a funeral is €140 for one service plus, where appropriate, travel expenses.
(a) A written contract or letter of appointment should always be provided, outlining the terms and conditions of service and listing the duties, including the festivals other than Sundays, for which the musician is required.
(b) The above rates should be reviewed annually by reference to pay inflation and national pay agreements.
(c) Church musicians should be given at least four Sundays leave each year, the parish paying the deputy. The responsibility for finding deputies should be primarily that of the musician.
(d) Musicians should be allowed up to two Sundays sick leave in any one year, for which period the parish will engage and pay a deputy.
(e) Additional payment should be made for duties over and above those set out in the contract.
(f) Church authorities should reimburse expenses incurred – such as choir music, postage and stationery – within an agreed budget.
(g) 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.