Leaves, time off and wage changes
If your work situation changes because of COVID-19, your pension could be affected. Learn about your options if you take a leave, have your hours reduced, are temporarily laid off or receive temporary pandemic pay.
Note: all leaves are subject to Income Tax Act limits. Read Taking time off work and buying service for more information.
Will deadlines be extended?
No, deadlines remain the same. If you’ve had a delay in getting required documents, contact us. We may ask you to provide information regarding the cause of the delay.
If I take a COVID-19 leave under the Employment Standards Act (ESA), what does that mean for my pension?
It depends on if you take an unpaid leave or a leave with full pay:
- If you take an unpaid leave, you have the option of buying service for the period of your absence. Leaves taken under the ESA are shared-cost leaves – if you choose to buy service for such a leave, both you and your employer will pay a portion of the purchase cost.
- A leave with full pay doesn’t count as leave because both you and your employer are still contributing to the plan.
If you take an unpaid leave approved by your employer that isn’t covered by the COVID-19 leave under the ESA, you may be able to buy service for this period – it will be treated as general leave. This may apply, for example, if you’re self-isolating to follow general social distancing guidelines. You’ll be required to pay the full cost of the purchase of service.
If my hours are reduced, what does this mean for my pension?
You may be eligible to buy the service for the difference between your normal (full-assignment) hours and the hours you actually work. According to the Canada Revenue Agency, all the following must apply:
- You must have been employed by your employer for at least three years
- You may only purchase a period of reduced pay that occurs after those three years
- You must have been working your normal (full-assignment) hours sometime before your hours were reduced
If you choose to buy this service, it will be treated as general leave. You’ll be required to pay both your share and your employer’s share of the cost.
If I’m temporarily laid off, what does this mean for my pension?
If you’re laid off (rather than being on a leave of absence), you won’t be able to buy service for this period.
I’m a front-line worker eligible for temporary pandemic pay from the provincial government. Will my pension be affected?
Receiving BC COVID-19 temporary pandemic pay won’t affect your pension.
Because this temporary pandemic pay will be paid as a lump sum, it isn’t considered part of your pensionable salary. Pensionable salary is the portion of your salary used to calculate your pension contributions, highest average salary and purchase-of-service costs.
For more information about BC COVID-19 temporary pandemic pay, contact your employer.