By Richard West, UNA Labour Relations Officer
Members of the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) have the right to purchase inclusion in the pension plan for up to five years of leaves of absence, not counting three maternity leaves.
It is usually good value for members to do this at least for their first year of leave because by doing so they will require the employer to pays its share. In addition, the purchase adds to the number of years of pensionable service used to calculate the employee’s pension upon retirement.
The cost of purchasing LAPP coverage for time spent on leave is calculated based on the regular percentage of LAPP contributions the member would have paid at their normal hours of work and rate of pay.
After the first year of leave purchased by a member, for which the employer is required to pay its share, the employee will have to pay both portions for the second and subsequent years. This can also be a good value for members, but a cost and value analysis should be done. In addition, it is possible to buy a portion of a yearly leave.
Leaves of absence for pension purposes include normal leaves recognized under Article 22 of United Nurses of Alberta’s Provincial Collective Agreement, including:
- General Leave
- Bereavement Leave
- Maternity Leave
- Adoption/Paternity Leave
- Court Appearance
- Personal Leave
- Terminal Care Leave
- Military and Public Affairs Leave
In addition, they also include time spent on on Short Term and Long Term Disability.
Members who have taken leaves that span more than a single calendar year may choose to delay the purchase until after the entire year has ended.
Members who are resigning or retiring may purchase leave outside the normal time frames, but the application to purchase the leave must be made before the employee’s employment ends and must be paid within 30 days of the costing.
Leave-of-Absence notices for LAPP members who took leaves in 2016 have not yet been processed as a result of computer problems that led to the April 30 deadline being missed. Notices of leaves available for purchase should be received by members during August this year, after which there will be a 90-day period during which members can choose to purchase this service. There will be no additional costs to members as a result of the processing delay.