RCO & MU highlight employment best practice with new contract template

RCO & MU highlight employment best practice with new contract template

The Royal College of Organists (RCO) and Musicians’ Union (MU) have published a new specimen contract for the employment of organists in places of worship.

The new specimen contract has been designed to provide guidance and support for organists who are offered roles within any worship environment without any contract document being provided or available on request.

It can also be used by organists as a best practice point of comparison with any contract document that is provided, in order to highlight any areas of potential concern.

RCO Chief Executive Sir Andrew Parmley said: “We know that a great many organists are employed in places of worship without any contract document ever having been provided or even discussed.

“Regardless of religion or denomination, this is typically - but by no means always - in smaller settings where perhaps the infrastructure isn’t in place to manage this simple but important requirement.

“By providing this specimen contract we are aiming to help all parties quickly and simply arrive at a solution which ensures best practice and then lets the focus return to where everyone wants it – on the music and the music making.”

MU Assistant General Secretary Phil Kear added: “In the music sector generally, goodwill and best intentions are all too often – and completely wrongly – considered a suitable substitute for a proper contract.

“A contract provides essential security and protection for the working musician, and is the absolute and indispensable bedrock of an effective employment relationship. And, as we believe this specimen document shows, the process need not be an especially onerous one.”

The RCO/MU specimen contract has been produced to support the widest possible range of roles, religions and denominations, but it is also provided in an editable format which allows for any adjustments which might be required to suit individual appointments. Guidance notes are also available to highlight key features and considerations.

The new template joins a suite of contract documents and guidance notes published by the two organisations and freely available to all organists on the RCO’s content hub iRCO (free registration required for non-member guest users).

These cover employment of organists in places of worship, in teaching roles, and for one off or repeat performances. The resources also include general advice from the MU on contract matters, and details of the joint membership offer whereby RCO members can join the MU for 50% of the usual subscription rate. MU members are entitled to employment advice from a lawyer, including employment contract advice, at no added cost.

Visit i.rco.org.uk/organists-contracts for details.

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