Leaves of Absence

Paid Leaves of Absence

During paid leaves of absence, contributions must be deducted from pensionable pay and remitted to OPTrust, just like regular contributions.

Unpaid Leaves of Absence

For pension purposes, there are two categories of unpaid leave periods: 30 days or less and over 30 days. In addition, there are two types of leaves: statutory leaves authorized under the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and other leaves authorized by an employer.

Leave Periods

30-Day or Less

If a member has been granted a leave of absence from employment that is 30 calendar days or less in duration and receives no salary during the leave, the member and employer shall each pay their required contributions for the period of the leave upon the member’s return to work, or at termination if the member does not return to work.

Contributions are mandatory for all leaves of 30 days or less, including statutory leaves even if the member elects in writing not to contribute.

Over 30 Days

You must inform OPTrust when a member is on an unpaid leave of absence that is expected to last more than 30 calendar days, including the type and the expected end date

Types of Leave

Statutory Leaves

The most common statutory leaves are pregnancy, parental, family medical and family caregiver. Other less common pensionable leaves are organ donor, critical illness, child death, crime-related child disappearance, domestic or sexual violence and emergency leaves.

All contributions for statutory leaves that are more than 30 days in duration are mandatory unless the member elects in writing not to contribute. Members are required to make a written election to contribute or not contribute by completing a Leave of Absence Election (S1025) form. The form should be submitted to OPTrust prior to the leave or as soon as possible after the leave begins.

If OPTrust does not receive the member’s written election not to contribute or if the member elects to contribute but does not, OPTrust will provide you with a deduction schedule for remitting the mandatory leave contributions upon the member’s return to work.

Discretionary Leaves

Other leaves include any unpaid leave that is approved at your discretion that is not covered by the ESA or related to a disability. Examples include personal leave, educational leave or extended parental leave. You do not contribute for these types of leaves.

Illness / WSIB Leave

Contributions for unpaid illness and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) leaves are optional. If the member contributes during the leave, you must pay your required contributions.

Long Term Disability

If you offer a long-term income protection plan (LTIP) to your employees, you are required to provide a copy of the LTIP plan to your Pension Partner for review.

If OPTrust determines that your LTIP plan is similar to the long term income protection plan under Part III of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006, the LTIP provisions of OPTrust Select will apply with respect to any disabilities occurring after your plan participation date.

LTIP Provisions (where applicable)

If an OPTrust Select member is determined by you to qualify for LTIP benefits, you will contribute the required member contributions on behalf of the member and the required employer contributions until the earliest date at which the member:

  • ceases to be disabled
  • turns 65, or
  • ceases to be a member of OPTrust Select.

The contributions are mandatory if the member qualifies for LTIP, whether or not the member actually receives benefits paid by the insurance carrier. For example, a member may receive benefits from WSIB directly instead of under your LTIP plan. If this member would otherwise qualify for LTIP benefits, you are still required to pay the employee and employer contributions.

The contributions will be based on the pensionable pay immediately before the disability date, and if the disability period extends into a subsequent calendar year, the pensionable pay on which the contributions are based is increased by the maximum cost of living adjustment (COLA) applicable to OPTrust Select pensions in pay for that calendar year. This is true whether or not the member would have received a pay increase and whether or not the COLA is actually applied. The increase is subject to an annual maximum of 8%.

Leave Contributions - Summary Chart

Type of Leave Member Contributions Employer Contributions Remitting Contributions
With pay Mandatory Mandatory Remitted by you during leave
Unpaid ≤ 30 days Mandatory Mandatory Remitted by you upon member’s return to work*
Unpaid > 30 days - Statutory Mandatory, unless member opts out in writing Mandatory, unless member opts out in writing OPTrust will invoice you as applicable
Unpaid > 30 days - Discretionary Optional None Arranged between the member and OPTrust
Unpaid > 30 days - Illness or WSIB Optional Mandatory, if member contributes OPTrust will invoice you as applicable
Long Term Illness Protection Mandatory, paid by you Mandatory Remitted by you during leave

*You are required to remit contributions at termination if the member does not return to work.