Employer responsibilities - unpaid leaves of absence
Here's what you need to do when a PSPP member goes on an unpaid leave of absence.
- How to report a leave of absence that lasts 31 or more calendar days
- Impact of not reporting unpaid leaves of absences to OPB
- What happens when an unpaid leave absence lasts 30 calendar days or less?
- How to report leave amendments or extensions
- How to pay the employer matching portion of the required contributions
- How to incorporate service earned during a leave of absence into a pension adjustment (PA)
If you're unfamiliar with leaves, we've prepared an overview of how unpaid leaves of absence are treated in the PSPP. It is important to note that the treatment of leaves depends on whether the leave lasts 31 or more calendar days.
How to report a leave of absence that lasts 31 or more calendar days
If a member goes on a leave that lasts 31 or more calendar days:
Submit an unpaid leave of absence transaction through OPB's employer portal.
Please submit a leave of absence transaction before it starts. Once we receive the transaction, we'll send the member a costing.
We understand that leaves sometimes start suddenly; therefore, we can also prepare costings on an expedited basis. Members can request expedited LOA costings by contacting OPB's Client Care Centre at 1-800-668-6203.
For your convenience, we've provided you with links to a OPB's employer portal, instructions on how to submit an online transaction and some resources to help you submit the transaction correctly:
Impact of not reporting unpaid leaves of absences to OPB
Where possible, please submit a leave of absence transaction through the employer portal before the unpaid leave starts. Once we receive the transaction, we'll provide the member with a quote for the cost of contributing during the leave.
Important: OPB cannot provide a quote until you submit the transaction through the portal.
If for some reason, the member isn't given the opportunity to contribute during the leave, the only option available to the member to get pension credit for this period would be to apply to buy back the pension credit when they return to work.
However, it may be costlier for the member to buy back the service than it is to contribute during the leave as their salary may have increased in the meantime, which may also cost the employer more if the buyback cost must be matched by the employer.
What happens when a member takes an unpaid leave of absence that lasts 30 calendar days or less?
The Plan requires that contributions continue to be paid during leaves that are 30 days or less. A leave of absence transaction is not required.
Please ensure the outstanding contributions are paid in the pay period following the member's return to work. If the member needs more time to repay the outstanding contributions, please contact our Data Management team using the employer portal's secure message tool.
How to report leave amendments and extensions
If you need to change the originally reported leave type or leave period, please submit an amendment through the portal.
If a member's leave extends beyond the maximum allowed for that specified leave type, see job aid (PDF), you must report the extension as a second, separate leave transaction through the portal. Since the second leave type you'll report depends on the situation, we've prepared examples of the scenarios you're mostly likely to encounter:
Example 1 – Extension of a pregnancy/parental/adoption leave
If the member, with your authorization, extends their pregnancy/parental/adoption leave beyond the specified maximum, please submit a second leave transaction reporting the extension as a special leave.
Example 2 – Extension of an illness leave
If the member no longer qualifies to remain on an illness leave, but is unable to return to work, please submit a second leave transaction reporting the extension as a special leave.
Example 3 – Extension of an ESA family leave
If the ESA family leave extends past the specified maximum, please submit a second leave transaction reporting the extension as either a special leave or a different ESA family leave, if they qualify.
Important: The portal will automatically split leave periods that extend beyond the legislative maximum for the selected leave type into two separate leave transactions. The transaction created for the extended period is automatically set up as a special leave but can you can select a different leave type if needed.
How to pay the employer's matching portion of the LOA cost
For all matched leaves except the SUB period for pregnancy/parental/adoption leaves where the member pays contributions using their SUB allowance
During a leave of absence, members can, depending of the length of the leave, elect to pay contributions on a quarterly basis or in one lump sum payment.
If the employer is required to match the contributions, we'll invoice you for the employer's portion of the contributions in the month after we receive the member's payment.
Please ensure you pay the employer contributions (by cheque or electronic funds transfer) within 2 weeks of receiving our invoice.
Important: If you remit all contributions (regular, LOA, buybacks, LTIP) in one lump sum payment, please email a payment breakdown of the contribution types along with the electronic remittance/payment advice to Camelia Gugiuman, Revenues Administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For pregnancy/parental/adoption leaves where the member pays contributions using their SUB allowance
If your organization provides Supplementary Unemployment Benefits (SUB allowance) to members on pregnancy/parental/adoption leaves and the member is going to pay contributions using their SUB allowance, please continue to remit contributions as if the member was at work during the SUB allowance period.
15 days prior to end of the SUB allowance period, we'll send the member a costing for the contributions from the end of the SUB allowance period to their return to work date. We'll invoice you if the member makes any payments.
How to incorporate service earned during a leave of absence into a pension adjustment (PA)
If a member contributes to the Plan during their leave of absence, you'll have to adjust their annual pension adjustment (PA) to include the credit they earned during the leave. See Pension Adjustments for further details.