The Church of England has announced plans to give clergy employment rights for the first time.
Many clergy said they felt their jobs were under threat
Among the proposals, priests employed on temporary contracts would have access to tribunal and legal protection from unfair dismissal.
They will also get the right to redundancy payments and holidays.
The union which represents many clergy, Amicus, says they still will not have as many rights as other workers because they have no contracts.
Traditionally clergy have been regarded as office holders rather than employees answerable to God rather than an earthly employer.
This convention has meant they had no rights to employment tribunals.
Where Anglican clergy once had security of tenure, increasingly their jobs are limited to seven year contracts.
A recent survey found almost one in two members of the clergy thought their job was under threat.
Many told Amicus in December they felt they had been treated unfairly or dishonestly.
Under the new recommendations, priests would generally be granted secure jobs until retirement
As well as access to tribunals they would get the right to annual and parental leave.
But clergy will continue to be office holders so will not have formal contracts of employment.
Chris Ball, of Amicus, said if they claimed a breach of contract had taken place the remedies open to them would therefore be limited.
"As office holders, they will not have contracts of employment. In a breach
of contract, clergy will have no remedy other than if their rights are covered
under Section 23."
But of the chance to use employment tribunals, he said: "It's really tremendous
news. It's a huge change."