Banner of father holding child on shoulders - time for a minivan article

Time for a minivan? Your pension and your children

Having a child is a life‐changing event that brings new responsibilities. It's a good time to consider some work and pension‐related issues.

Top up your pension

When you take time off work to look after your child, you won’t be receiving your regular salary or contributing to your pension. This will affect your current income and your pension when you retire. Remember, your pension is calculated based on your years of pensionable service and the average of your five highest years of salary. The more pensionable service you have, the greater your pension.

Although you normally accumulate pensionable service by working and contributing to BC’s Public Service Pension Plan, you can also buy back service for an approved maternity, parental or adoption leave under the Employment Standards Act (ESA).

When you apply to buy back service, the cost is calculated using the length of your leave, employee and employer contribution rates, and your full-time-equivalent salary. You’ll be responsible for paying your employee share, and your employer will pay its share.

You must meet pension plan rules criteria and timelines to buy service. The Income Tax Act has its own rules as well.

If you wish to continue making pension contributions while on an ESA leave, you must apply within 30 days of starting your leave by completing a form and submitting it to your employer.

If you are making a lump-sum payment, you must apply to buy service for a leave within five years of the end of that leave or before you end your job with the employer that granted the leave, whichever comes first. Sign in to My Account and use the personalized purchase cost estimator to see how much buying your service might cost.

Returning to work part time?

If you return to work part time after a leave, you'll start contributing to the plan again. Your pension contributions and pensionable service will be adjusted to reflect your part-time salary.

Not coming back to work?

If you decide not to return to work after a leave and want to buy service, you must apply while you're still on leave and before you end your job.

Protecting your beneficiaries

Your pension may provide some financial security for your family when you die. If you have a spouse, they are automatically your beneficiary and will receive your pension benefit. If you have a child, you may want to name them as an alternate beneficiary in case your spouse also dies or to provide for your child on your death.

If you have a spouse and wish to name your child as a primary beneficiary, your spouse will have to give up their right as beneficiary of your pension. If your child is under age 19, you can name a trustee for your beneficiary to manage the pension on your behalf.

You may wish to speak with a legal professional about your will, your pension options and protecting your family.

Time for a minivan - image of a father building bird house with his sonsPlanning for your new future

Having a child is one of life’s most significant and exciting events. As with other major changes in your life, it’s wise to take a few moments to review your financial situation; you may wish to consult an independent financial adviser about your options.