SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES ON INTERNSHIP
If a pastoral vacancy occurs in a congregation to which an intern has been assigned, an automatic review of the assignment occurs. If the vacancy occurs before the internship begins, the intern will usually be re-assigned. If the vacancy develops after the internship begins, every effort will be made to continue the internship by seeking to find alternate forms of supervision either with the assistance of an interim pastor or a neighboring pastor, or, on rare occasions, taking advantage of supervisory expertise that may be exercised by lay people within the congregation.
Workman's Compensation benefits are State regulated. The congregation is encouraged to inquire about any obligations surrounding coverage for the intern.
Family and Medical Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act is federally regulated. Currently the regulation states that an employee is eligible if the employer employs 50 or more employees and the employee must have worked at least 12 months in the past year for the employer. This would mean most interns are not covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act. An extended illness or leave of the intern can become problematic for an experience of such relatively short duration as an internship. In such situations a careful balance must be maintained assuring fairness to the student as well as to the parish. When questions arise with respect to such situations, the following guidelines can apply.
- Congregations having sick leave policies for its paid staff should seek to apply that same policy to the intern.
- In the absence of an operative sick leave policy, the following is offered to the intern and the congregation as counsel and advice.
- Definition: For the purposes of this policy, "sick leave" may be granted for any intern absent from duty because of accident or illness, including any illness resulting from pregnancy or childbirth.
- Short term illness - up to two weeks - shall not affect the stipend or housing arrangement.
- Long term illness or disability - more than two weeks - may necessitate adjustments as negotiated by the Contextual Learning, the intern, and the congregation. A long term illness extending beyond a month may necessitate a review of the internship by Contextual Learning.
- Internship Requirement: An extended sick leave may interfere with the intern's ability to meet the one-year requirement of the ELCA and the seminaries. There is normally some flexibility allowing for negotiation for an absence of a maximum of three months. For instance, an intern may surrender his or her vacation time or negotiate a reduction of stipend or even waiver of stipend if that seems appropriate. On occasion, interns are able to fulfill a portion of their pastoral duties by working part-time, permitting them to achieve some of their educational goals. The internship requirement should be fulfilled with a balance of integrity and compassion for one who is ill.
- Parental Leave Policy: Standard policy following the birth of a child while on full-time internship is six consecutive weeks of leave for a mother, and four consecutive weeks for a father, divided as follows:
• 2 weeks paid leave (mother only)
• 2 weeks standard paid vacation time (mother or father)
• 2 weeks unpaid leave (mother or father)
• Housing support continues during this time.
Note that parental leave includes the paid vacation time required as standard for all internships. Understanding the limited duration of pastoral internships, these are to be considered reasonable, if basic, amounts. Congregations may choose to accommodate additional parental leave, in consultation and agreement with the intern, Luther Seminary, and the intern's Candidacy Committee.
Note: When pregnancy occurs prior to the start of internship, the internship plan will be reevaluated by all parties. Intern, site, seminary, and candidacy committee will together determine the suitability and timing of the internship.