What types of service you can buy

Learn about the types of service you can buy to potentially increase your future pension.

Buying service for a leave of absence

During your career, you might take a leave from work – such as a maternity, parental, education or general leave.

A leave of absence will affect your pension. During an unpaid or partially paid leave, you are not making your regular contributions to BC’s Public Service Pension Plan and therefore not accumulating pensionable service.

We calculate your pension using a formula based on the average of your five highest years of salary and your years of pensionable service. The more years of pensionable service you have, the greater your pension will be when you retire.

Leave of absence with partial pay

During a leave with partial pay, your pension contributions and pensionable service are adjusted to your salary. For example, if you receive half your regular pay during a leave, you will make half your regular pension contributions and accumulate half your regular pensionable service.

You may be eligible to increase your pensionable service by buying the difference between your leave of absence with partial pay and your normal assignment.

Unpaid leave of absence

During an unpaid leave, you do not contribute to the pension plan or accumulate any pensionable or contributory service.

However, you may be able to buy service for the time you took off work on an approved unpaid leave. You can buy service for an approved unpaid leave if:

  • You were an active member when you took the leave
  • You buy the entire leave period, unless the purchase makes your service exceed 35 years in total or 12 months in a calendar year
  • You apply to buy service for the leave within five years of the end of your leave or before you end your job with an employer participating in the plan, whichever comes first

Will my employer share the costs of buying service?

Your employer will pay its share of the cost for leaves covered under the Employment Standards Act, and you must pay your share. If you buy service for the following leaves, you and your employer will share the cost based on current contribution rates:

  • Family responsibility
  • Bereavement
  • Compassionate care
  • Jury duty
  • Pregnancy/maternity
  • Parental/adoption
  • Disappearance of child
  • Death of child
  • Critical illness or injury leave
  • Leave respecting domestic or sexual violence

If you are buying service for a general leave:

  • Your employer will pay its share if the leave is under 30 calendar days
  • You are responsible for paying both the employee and employer share if the leave is more than 30 calendar days

Lifetime maximums

Income Tax Act rules allow you to buy the following lifetime maximums:

  • Five cumulative years of general leaves
  • Three cumulative years of maternity, parental or adoption leaves

Not returning to work after a leave

If you decide not to return to work after a leave and want to buy the service, you must apply while still on leave. We will calculate the cost for you to buy this service once your employer confirms your last day of work.