A new form of tenure for clergy office holders called common tenure came into effect on 31 January 2011.
As a result, thousands of clergy will acquire rights more akin to those in an employment setting as well as responsibilities to develop in their ministry while maintaining their status as office holders. The legislation ensures compliance with the employment rights in the Employment Relations Act 1999.
Priests in charge, team vicars, curates and some chaplains automatically transferred on 1 February. Freehold clergy such as bishops, archdeacons, incumbents (rectors or vicars), team rectors and cathedral clergy have the choice as to whether they transfer from freehold to common tenure. All new appointments will now be covered by common tenure.
Common tenure comes as a result of the Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure 2009. It confers right such as an entitlement to a written statement of particulars which sets out the terms of the particular appointment; proper entitlement to time off, including maternity, paternity and other forms of leave; access rights to a grievance procedure and a right of appeal to an industrial tribunal in certain circumstances.
Common tenure also confers obligations that encourage accountability and responsibility in ministry such as participation in ministerial development reviews (CARM), continuing professional development (CME), requirements around sickness and health and a capability procedure.
As a result of the legislation, vicars and rectors will continue to have formal legal ownership of their parsonage house while other office holders will acquire the right to accommodation ‘reasonably suitable for the purpose’ and the ability to object to changes to the accommodation.
If you have any queries, please e-mail or call your archdeacon.