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.