Purchase of Service
If you are an active member of the Public Service Pension Plan and meet the eligibility criteria you can purchase service for periods when you didn’t make contributions to increase your pension. There are two types of service available:
- When you were on a leave of absence without pay
- For periods of non-contributory service, such as time limited employment (co-op, articling student or internship programs) or auxiliary employment
Purchasing a Leave of Absence
Types of leave
The following leaves of absence without pay can be purchased. The current employer will pay their portion of the contributions if the leave was with them and was for
- Maternity and parental*
- Pre-placement adoption
- General leave of 30 calendar days or less
- Compassionate care leave*
- Leave respecting disappearance of child*
- Leave respecting death of child*
- Critical illness or injury leave (Family Caregiver benefit for adults/children)*
- Leave respecting domestic or sexual violence*
- To volunteer for a Cuso International project
* Effective May 1, 2020, an employee on an Employment Standards Act (ESA) leave has the option to make continuous pension contributions monthly throughout their leave. You must decide within the first 30 days of the leave and complete a Purchase of Service Application form and submit it to AskMyHR.
The employer will complete Part B and send the application form to Pension Corporation for processing. The Pension Corporation will send you a statement of cost monthly for your portion of the contribution. If payment is missed at any time during the leave, then the continuous contribution option ends but you get to keep the service that has already been purchased. At the end of the leave, you can purchase the remaining service as a lump sum.
There is still the option to purchase the service within 5 years of the end of the leave period as a lump sum payment.
If eligible to purchase other leaves, like those that reduce work schedules, or leaves of absence without pay longer than 30 calendar days, you must pay both the employee and employer portions.
Purchasing leave & deadlines
You may be able to purchase a leave of absence if
- You were an active member when you took the leave
- You apply before your employment ends with the employer with whom the leave occurred
- The leave ended on or after April 1, 2002
- You apply within five years of the end of the leave
Non-contributory service is when you work for a Public Service Pension Plan employer but do not make pension contributions.
The employer will pay the employer portion of the contributions if
- The service was with the current employer
- The service immediately preceded the date you began to contribute to the pension plan
- There has been no termination between the period being purchased and the date of application
If eligible, you can purchase other time-limited, non-contributory service periods such as co-op work terms, personal service contracts, or articling or internship programs, but you must pay both the employee and employer portions.
Purchasing non-contributory service
You may be able to purchase non-contributory service if
- You are an active plan member, which means you are enrolled in the plan and making contributions or
- You are on an approved leave of absence or receiving long term disability benefits
- The service was with your current Public Service Pension Plan employer
- You cannot purchase the service if you waived enrolment under the enrolment provisions on or after April 1, 2000
You must apply within five years of your first contribution to the plan or before your employment terminates, whichever comes first. If your employment ends after becoming a member and then are re-hired, you cannot buy service that occurred before the termination.
Transferring Between Plan Employers
If the service you wish to purchase was with another Public Service Pension Plan employer, that employer decides whether or not to pay their contributions.
If you end your employment with the province to work for another plan employer, you are responsible for both the employee and employer contributions.
Cost to Purchase Service
The cost is based on your full-time equivalent salary and the employee and employer contribution rates on the date you apply. If you apply to make continuous pension contributions during an ESA leave, the cost is based on your full-time equivalent salary and the employee contributions had you been at work. Estimate your cost and the potential increase to your pension by logging into MyAccount.
How to Apply
Complete a Purchase of Service Application, then scan and submit it through AskMyHR by selecting "Myself > Submit a Form or Document > Benefits Forms/Application". You will receive a statement from the Public Service Pension Plan with the cost and options for payment.
You are responsible for paying the BC Pension Corporation the full amount by the due date listed on your statement. You can pay by
- Cash (cheque, money order, bank draft or electronic funds transfer [EFT])
- Direct transfer from an existing RRSP in your name*
- A combination of the two above
* If you transfer RRSP funds from a financial institution, confirm that you’ve transferred the exact amount owed. Make sure service fees are not deducted from the payment.
Purchasing a leave increases your pension and affects your taxes. You may wish to speak with a qualified financial planner before deciding to purchase service.