The Scientology Money Project

$104,721 Per Year: If Sea Org Members Were Paid According to Minimum Wage Requirements in Los Angeles

1. Minimum wage in Los Angeles is $13.25 per hour.

2. The first four hours of overtime on any workday is calculated at $19.87 per hour. This is the “time and a half” hourly rate. Overtime is defined as all hours worked beyond eight hours.

3. All overtime hours that exceed 12 hours in a day must be paid at double pay. This is $26.50 per hour. However, all work hours that exceed eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work must be paid at double time. Double time pay is $26.50 per hour.

4. Assume a 110 hour Sea Org seven-day work week.

5. A 110 hour work week equals seven consecutive days of 15.7 hours each.

6. Based upon the foregoing, the minimum wage paycheck in Los Angeles for a 110 hour work week would be calculated as follows:

A. Straight Time: 56 hours @ $13.25 = $742.00

B. Time and a Half: 24 hours @ $19.87 = $476.88

C. Double Time: 30 hours per week @ $26.50 = $795.00

D. Total Gross Pay Per Week: $2,013.88

E. Total Annual Gross Pay at 52 weeks: $104,721.76

This is the true legal and financial value of Sea Org labor under minimum wage guidelines in Los Angeles County for a 110 hour workweek of seven consecutive days. For specific details please refer to the California Dept of Industrial Relations Webpage on Overtime Rules.

More Math: 110 hours per week over 52 weeks = 5,270 hours of work per year for a Sea Org member.

$104,721.76 divided by 5,270 hours of work = $19.87 per hour pay on an averaged basis.

$19.87 should be the hourly wage for all Sea Org workers — particularly given the fact that they receive absolutely no benefits, no savings plan, no pension plan, etc. and must pay for their own personal expenses items. For example, Scientology does not pay for feminine hygiene products for female Sea Org members. Birth control for married couples in not paid for. Toothpaste, shampoo, and soap are not paid for. When an Org does not hit its gross income target in a given week, all Sea Org members in that Org are not paid at all. Worse, they are fed rice and beans for lunch and dinner.

Conclusion: Sea Org members are engaged in a billion year exercise in futility and self-torment for working as “religious volunteers” for a “stipend” each week of about $50 for a 110 hour work week. Some weeks Sea Org are not paid at all. Sea Org members also receive room and board in substandard living conditions. The Sea Org is slave labor and a lie. Sea Org members are basically forfeiting $2,000 a week in exchange for nothing except abuse, lower conditions, and being screamed at constantly.

One crucial item: American Sea Org members pay virtually nothing into the US Social Security system. When they reach 65 years of age there is no safety net and little or no Social Security check each month. The horror stories older former SO members have told me of being 65 years of age, or older, with no income and little or no Social Security income are horrific. Their story is brutal: Old and poor with nothing to show for having slaved away in the Sea Org. There is no pension in the Sea Org. The staff contract Sea Org members signs takes away all rights to pay and pension and instead provides a stingy little “stipend.” In America, religious volunteers can take vows of poverty, are not entitled to pay, and are not protected by secular workplace protections. Sea Org are hit especially hard due to the extraordinary greed and malice of Scientology whose policies do not allow for old age or pensions.

Here is an excerpt of the staff contract Sea Org members sign whereby they forgo $104,721 per year in income if they work in Los Angeles. Kiss that money goodbye forever:

To Recap: The Sea Org does not legally exist.

There is no health care plan.

Sea Org members get little or no Social Security when they reach age 65.

There is no pension plan for Sea Org workers.

There is only abuse.

Recommended Reading: Why no one should ever join Scientology’s ‘Sea Org’

An Alternative: Working two full time jobs at minimum wage would be 80 hours per week at $13.25. This brings in $1,060 per week or $55,120 per year gross income. This path would allow you to get your life back on track. You’re already working long hours so at least get paid the minimum wage for working. Moreover, an 80 hour work week cuts your present work week by 30 hours. You can also arrange your work schedule so that you have one or two full days off per week.

Why are Sea Org members sacrificing their lives and financial well-being to enrich Scientology?

If you’re in the Sea Org why are you still reading this? Blow and get out. Make a better life for yourself. Tell Scientology to stick its unenforceable “Freeloader Bill” in a dark place. You don’t have to pay a Freeloader Bill and Scientology can’t make you. “Volunteers” do not have to reimburse the costs of training. However, Scientology’s greed knows no limit and so it threatens Sea Org who want to leave with a massive Freeloader Bill in order to terrify them into staying. It is fraud and the intentional infliction of mental cruelty.

Here is the Sea Org staff contract in which Sea Org members sign away all their rights. Note: Hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the document:

5 replies »

  1. Dear Sea Org member—

    Today is Sunday, a day for rest and relaxation. First was an hour church service. Next I drove my car to deliver diapers (donated by church members) to a needy family. The needy family lives in a decent two-bedroom townhome with a garage. (The needy family has a car too.)

    Then I met 8 adult and kid family members at a restaurant. The bill was about $200, but it was a birthday celebration and we could afford it, even though we have ordinary incomes.

    Now I’m sitting on my deck watching hummingbirds at the nectar feeder.

    Come on out, dear Sea Org member. Life is good out here. We help one another. We enjoy family and friends…and nature.

    Come. A car and your own housing are not out of reach. Relax and watch hummingbirds. You deserve to!

  2. What this cult gets away with in the name of religion – well, it’s beyond criminal….it’s evil and sadistic.
    Not only does Miscavige not pay taxes, he gets slave labor to boot. Unbelievable!

  3. The abuse makes my blood boil but also brings me to tears for those who feel trapped.

  4. I have often thought that Sea Org members who leave should be ready with an invoice for services they’ve rendered over the years, minus room and board that they can slap down on the table when they receive their ridiculous Freeloader Debt bill.

    The room and board should be calculated using the average amount an equal sized crummy local rented room or apartment would cost, divided by the number of people sharing the space with you. The SO kitchen staff are proud of the minuscule amount spent per person, per day, on food so it’ll be easy to find and add those figures.

    You should refuse to pay for any training that was needed for your position, as that type of training is usually free at regular jobs. I can see being charged for auditing, but not when you co-audit with another SO member!

    Also, any required books that were purchased because they were needed for your position should be put on your “SlaveLabor/SlumLord” (SL/SL) invoice, along with any duplicates of books, tapes, CDs, etc that you were coerced into buying to increase stats. The second e-meter was definitely unnecessary, so be sure to wipe out that “debt.”

    Any money you just plain donated should be returned to you since they never should’ve solicited it in the first place, per Ron’s policy about an even exchange being paramount and also his opinion that fundraisers are just plain wrong for Scientology. (Can someone help me out with the correct Policy Letters and/or Advices? Thanks!)

    Anything you had to purchase in order to do your job that would typically be provided by LEGAL employers can be plopped onto your SL/SL invoice.

    By the end, hopefully your invoice will be just about equal to their bill (even though sadly neither of them can be legally enforced – remember that tidbit if they start threatening you with legal action!)

    You can now walk away without worries of how you’re going to try to pay your debt down while also trying to support yourself “flipping burgers” (the ultimate Sea Org threat). Good News! You will make far more flipping burgers and if you can work full time they might offer a benefits package with things like health & dental insurance and maybe even a 401k type plan (retirement savings account) and you’ll be contributing to your Social Security fund as well. Don’t be afraid to take a burger-flipper job – I’ve heard from many ex-members who used it as a stepping stone to incredible employment at places people are actually excited to go to work each day. You will also be meeting new people who might be future friends, roommates or even romantic partners.

    You’ve just been gifted a do-over. Enjoy the next part, when you really start living and thinking for yourself. That’s worth a grand celebration or two!!


    Question for Ex SO folks; do any of you think that maybe Ron would’ve slightly raised your weekly paychecks if he hadn’t gone into hiding, therefore insulating him from the rising cost of living expenses over the years? I understand that keeping the pay low was a way of exerting power, and that’s only gotten worse with the new lil elf-in-chief.

  5. I am glad that the lawyers had not advanced that far when I signed my SO contract.

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