Leaves of Absence

Pensionable service is a key factor in determining your pension. Taking a period of leave without salary (e.g. maternity or parental leave) will create a gap in your pensionable service and, therefore, affect your future pension amount.

Under MEPP, you have the option of buying back service for periods of leave. You can make these payments during the leave or wait until you return to work. You might be able to use funds from a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or other retirement savings tool, to pay for your buyback.

You can purchase up to three years of maternity or parental leave, and up to a maximum of five years of any other kind of leave. Additional years of maternity or parental leave can be applied to this five year amount.

Note: Only the first year of leave is cost-shared between employer and employee in MEPP; that is, your employer pays their share of contributions -- with interest, and you pay the employee share. With any additional leave in MEPP, you are responsible for paying both the employee and employer share.

The Process to Buy a Leave

If you are considering buying a leave, contact your employer's human resources department.

Once your employer has confirmed with us that your leave of absence can be purchased, you will be sent a Buyback Proposal. This information package will help you make an informed choice about your purchase options.

To purchase your leave of absence, your employer must let us know by the earlier of:

  • 90 days from the date you are sent your Buyback Proposal; or
  • April 30th of the year following the year in which your leave ended.

Paying for Buybacks

How to Purchase Your Buyback

There are several payment options to suit members’ needs.

Payment(s) must be made according to the schedule shown on your Buyback Proposal; however, if you prefer to avoid paying interest, you can pay for the entire buyback in one payment. You can also transfer funds from an RRSP or LIRA by using Canada Revenue Agency's T2033 form.

You can even take a break from making payments should you go on another period of leave.

Buyback Considerations Before You Leave The Plan

Paying for a Buyback When You Leave Your Employer

If you should leave the Plan while still making payments towards a leave of absence, you will have 90 days to complete the buyback. If you do not complete this purchase within 90 days, the service will be prorated—that is, only the amount of service you have paid for will be credited to you.

If, while on a leave of absence (but before commencing buyback payments), you should leave your employer or move to a position where you are no longer eligible to contribute to MEPP, you may still purchase the leave. In this case, be sure to inform your employer immediately if you intend to purchase the service as they must report the leave period to us within 30 days of the day you stop contributing to the Plan.

Can I Pay for Less Than the Whole Amount?

If you have a set amount you wish to pay towards your buyback, or should your financial situation change before you are finished paying, only the service you paid for will be prorated.

For example, if the cost of buying one year of service was $10,000 and you decided to stop making payments after paying $5,000, you would receive the service credit for the partial year.

How Leaves Affect Combined Pensionable Service (CPS)

If you are purchasing a leave of absence where a CPS relationship is in place, there are certain impacts you should take into consideration.

More on how leaves affect CPS

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