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You are a member of the RREGOP

Plan concerned: The RREGOP


Important

The content of this page does not take into account the legislative amendments made to the RREGOP.

Here are answers to questions often asked by people who took time off without pay during their working career.

Click on the topic of your choice:

 

Impact of an Absence Without Pay on Your Public-Sector Retirement Pension

A few years ago, I took a leave of absence without pay. Will this affect my public-sector retirement pension when I retire?

It depends on the period and the length of your absence.

If, since 1 January 2002, your leave of absence lasted 30 consecutive calendar day This link will open in a new window. or less, or if you took a part‑time leave equal to 20% or less of the regular working time of a full-time employee, then you contributed to your public-sector pension plan the same as if you had been working. Your leave of absence will therefore not affect your pension when you retire and the period will automatically be credited as service to your pension plan.

However, if you took your leave of absence before 1 January 2002, or if, after 31 December 2001, your leave lasted more than 30 consecutive calendar days or was taken part time at a rate of over 20% of the regular working time of a full-time employee, you did not contribute to your public-sector pension plan during your leave. The days you were absent without pay will therefore not be included in the calculation of your retirement pension, except if you apply for what is called a Buy-Back of Service.

 

Advantage of Buying Back Service

Is it advantageous to buy back periods of absence without pay?

Yes. Your public-sector retirement pension is calculated, among other things, on the basis of the number of years of service credited to your account at the time of your retirement. Therefore, if you are entitled to buy back certain periods of absence, you could have them credited to your pension plan. This would increase the amount of your retirement pension. It is important for you to know that only the buy-back of certain periods of absence can allow you to retire earlier.

Note: If you have accumulated almost 38 years of credited service, you should evaluate if it would be worthwhile to buy back service. For further information in this regard, contact the public-sector pension plan administrator at your present place of work, generally in the human resources department.

Are purchased days of absence without pay considered days of membership in my public-sector pension plan?

Yes. The purchased days of absence without pay are used both to determine your eligibility for a pension and to calculate the amount of that pension.

Is it true that an incomplete year of service for calculation purposes can be credited as a full year of service for pension eligibility purposes?

Yes. This provision is intended only to people who were participating in the RREGOP or the PPMP on 1 January 2000, or started participating after that date.

Subject to certain limits provided for in the Income Tax Act, your public-sector pension plan automatically credits you (at no cost) with a full year of service for eligibility purposes if, during a given year, your situation is one of the following:

  • you work part time;
  • you work only part of a year;
  • you are absent without pay during part of a year or for a whole year.

Note: As a rule, this provision applies to years of service performed since 1 January 1987. However, for employees and casual employees in the public service sector, the education sector and the health and social services sector who are not on a recall list, the provision applies only to years of service performed since 1 January 1988.

Example:

Max is a member of the RREGOP and has a full-time job. In 2007, he took a 6-month leave of absence without pay. At the end of 2007, the RREGOP credited Max with a full year of service for eligibility purposes and half a year of service for calculation purposes.

In 2010, I took a 6-month leave of absence without pay. Why do I have to buy back that period of absence without pay when my public-sector pension plan automatically credited me with a full year of service for 2010 at no cost?

It is important to note that your public-sector pension plan credited you with a full year of service for pension eligibility purposes, not for calculation purposes. Therefore, if you want 2010 to be recognized as a full year of service for pension calculation purposes, it is to your advantage to buy back your leave of absence without pay.

To find out more about the way your retirement pension will be calculated, click on the following link:

 

Part-Time Work

If I work part-time, can I buy back the days during which I do not work?

No. In order to buy back a period of service or a period of absence without pay, we must consider that you have a covered work for your regulated employer during that period.

When you work part-time, you work for your employer only on the days included in your work schedule. Therefore, you cannot buy back the days during which you do not work.

Example:

Jerry holds a part-time job where he works 3 days a week (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). Since he works for his employer only for those 3 days, he cannot buy back the other 2 days (Thursday and Friday) because they are not included in his work schedule.

However, if Jerry were absent without pay during the days included in his work schedule (Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday), he would have the right to buy back those days of absence without pay.

 

Days of Absence Resulting From a Strike, Lock-Out or Suspension

Is it possible to buy back days of absence resulting from a strike, lock-out or suspension?

Yes. You can buy back all types of absences without pay, regardless of whether they were authorized, voluntary or justified.

 

Parental Leave

I took a leave of absence without pay following my maternity leave. Can I get it credited to my public-sector pension plan?

First, for the purpose of your public-sector pension plan, the leave of absence without pay you took following your maternity leave is called a Parental Leave.

The rules determining whether or not this type of leave can be credited to your pension plan depend on whether you held regular or casual employment at the time your parental leave ended. Briefly, the rules are as follows:

  • You were a regular employee when your leave ended.
    • If your maternity, paternity or adoption leave ended before 1 January 1991, your parental leave was treated as an absence without pay. Therefore, you can have it credited to your pension plan by buying back the service.
    • If your maternity, paternity or adoption leave began after 1 January 1991, special rules apply to your parental leave. For further information in this regard, click on the following link:

 

  • You were a casual employee in the public service sector, the education sector or the health and social services sector without being on a recall list when your leave ended.
    • If your maternity, paternity or adoption leave ended before 1 January 1988, you cannot have your parental leave credited to your pension plan.
    • If your maternity, paternity or adoption leave ended after 31 December 1987, but before 1 January 1991, only your parental leave that occurred after 31 December 1987 can be credited to your pension plan, provided you buy it back. For further information in this regard, contact the public-sector pension plan administrator at your place of work, generally in the human resources department.
    • If your maternity, paternity or adoption leave began after 1 January 1991, special rules apply to your parental leave. For further information in this regard, click on the following link:

 

  • You were a casual employee on a recall list in the health and social services sector when your leave ended.
    • If your maternity, paternity or adoption leave ended before 1 January 1987, you cannot get your parental leave credited to your pension plan.
    • If your maternity, paternity or adoption leave ended after 31 December 1986, but before 1 January 1991, only your parental leave that occurred after 31 December 1986 can be credited to your pension plan, provided you buy it back. For further information in this regard, contact the public-sector pension plan administrator at your place of work, generally in the human resources department.
    • If your maternity, paternity or adoption leave began after 1 January 1991, special rules apply to your parental leave. For further information in this regard, click on the following link:

 

Absences for Sickness, Leave of Absence for Family and Parental Obligations and Compassionate Care Leave

You have to leave work because of an illness, or to fulfill family or parental obligations.

The Act Respecting Labour Standards provides that you can benefit from a period of absence without pay while preserving your employment relationship in case of an absence for health reasons or accidents as well as for family or parental obligations. The Act also provides that you can benefit from a compassionate care leave, that is, an unpaid leave of absence to take care of a family member or to provide long-term care, as well as an absence without pay in case of a tragic event such as a criminal act, the disappearance of a child or the suicide of a loved one.

You must contact your employer to obtain a period of absence without pay. He can also inform you about continuing to pay your contributions to your public-sector pension plan during your absence or buying back that absence.

Note that the cost of the buy-back of such an absence corresponds to the cost of an absence without pay. However, for a compassionate care leave in progress on 1 January 2012 or starting after that date, the cost of the buy-back for the period following 31 December 2011 corresponds to the cost of a parental leave. For more information on the subject, click on the following links:

  • Life events > Absences > Absences without pay > You are a member of the RREGOP > The cost of a buy-back of service
  •  Life events > Absences > Absences for the birth or adoption of a child > Parental leave > You are a member of the RREGOP and your maternity, paternity or adoption leave was in progress on 1 January 1991 or began after that date > The cost of a buy-back of service

For more information about those types of absences, we invite you to visit the website of the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) This link will open in a new window..

 

How to Buy Back Service

What do I have to do to buy back absences without pay?

First, we must receive your application while you are still a member of your public-sector pension plan. As a rule, you cannot buy back periods of absence after you have left your job, even if you left it to retire.

To purchase periods of absence without pay, you must first meet with the public-sector pension plan administrator at your present place of work, generally in the human resources department. He or she will help you fill out the form Application for Buy-Back (727A).

Then you must ask each of the employers concerned by the periods you wish to buy back to fill out the form Attestation of a Buy-Back Period (728A) to confirm the information you entered in your Application for Buy-Back (727A) form.

Once those forms are completed and signed, you must send them to us. If your application is incomplete or not signed, if a document is missing or if an old version of a form is used, we will return the documents to you. You will then have to send us your application, completed as requested so it can be processed. We will calculate the cost of your buy-back using the date your application is received.

After studying your file and if the periods in question are indeed purchasable, we will send you a buy-back proposal, which you are free to accept or turn down. The proposal will stipulate the cost and payment terms of the buy-back and will be valid for 60 days.

Please note that if we do not receive the acceptance of this buy-back proposal within 60 days from the date of the proposal, your buy-back application will be deemed never had been made.

Do I have to buy back all of my absences without pay?

No. When we calculate the amount of your pension, it will automatically add to your years of service the number of days of absence without pay, up to a maximum of 90 days if those periods occurred before 1 January 2011.

For periods of absence that occurred since 1 January 2011, only the periods related to parental leaves (maternity, paternity or adoption) will be automatically added to your years of service, for a maximum of 90 days.

Note that the total days of absence added automatically cannot exceed 90 days, both for absences before or after 1 January 2011.

Those days will be recognized in full for calculation of the pension. They will also be recognized for eligibility to benefits if they occurred before 1987, since the days of absence that occurred since 1987 are already recognized for eligibility.

Therefore, there is no point in buying back your first 90 days of absence without pay since we will credit them to you at no cost. If you request it, we will subtract those 90 days from the purchasable service offered in the buy-back proposal you received. However, if your 90-day bank is used for a buy-back of service you can no longer benefit from it for the calculation of your pension.

Furthermore, the parental leave that you can buy back must have been taken while you were participating in the RREGOP or the PPMP.

Since I started working, I have taken a total of 120 days of absence without pay. As the public-sector pension plan will credit me with 90 days at no cost for the calculation of my retirement pension, can I only buy back the remaining 30?

Yes. When you apply for your buy-back, you can ask us to use the 90-day bank to credit you all or part of your absence without pay at no cost if applicable. We will exclude them from the proposal we send you.

Is there a deadline for filing my buy-back application?

Yes. As a rule, we must receive your application while you are still a member of your public-sector pension plan. However, since the cost of buying back a period of absence without pay is determined on the basis of your annual pensionable salary and your age on the date we receive your application, it is to your advantage to file your application as soon as possible.

 

Cost of Buying Back Service

How much does it cost to buy back a period of absence without pay?

It is important to note that the cost of purchasing a period of absence without pay is calculated differently according to whether we receive your buy-back application within 6 months following the end of that period of absence or more than 6 months after the period ended:

  • If we receive your application within 6 months following the end of your absence, the cost to purchase this period will be 200% of the total contributions you would have paid had you been working during that period, or 100% of the total contributions in case of parental leave.
  • If we receive your application more than 6 months after your absence ends, the cost to purchase this period will be established on the basis of your annual pensionable salary on the date your application is received. A percentage is applied to the salary. This percentage varies according to your age, the period being purchased and your pension plan.

    The cost of your buy-back must be at least equal to 200% of the contributions you would have paid for the period covered by the buy-back in case of an absence without pay which started after 31 December 2007, or 100% of the contributions, in case of a parental leave.

 

You can quickly and easily obtain the approximate cost of the buy-back you are contemplating using the following calculator:

 

Calculator

 

Useful Forms

Fill out these forms to buy back an absence without pay:

 

Useful Link

 

To Learn More About Your Public-Sector Pension Plan