One family pays its Family Council President a salary comparable to that of the company President and CEO. The underlying theory is that both roles are equally important to the successful continuity of the family enterprise.
Another family has a young cousin that spends 20 hours/week on family council matters, but will not accept a salary. Her perspective is that she is not working actively in the business, but gains tremendous financial rewards from the business. She sees her participation in the Family Council as a way of ‘earning’ those financial benefits.
In another case, a family with a California-based retail business began paying Family Council members a small salary after years of intensive, unpaid work on family council activities. Instead of having a positive result, this practice led to widespread bad feelings. Family members that had worked on family council activities in the past – with no compensation – felt unfairly treated. If the current family council really cared, they reasoned, they wouldn’t accept any financial compensation for this service. Tensions in the family were heightened until the practice was discontinued.
So, once again, we are faced with a situation that has no clear ‘right’ answer. Paying a salary for Family Governance service is an individual decision, and each family will approach it differently.
It would be fascinating to hear your experiences on this matter – what is working for you?