Taking a leave of absence—Regular Force enrolled on or after March 1, 2007
During the course of your career with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), you may decide to take an unpaid leave of absence (leave without pay) for personal or other reasons.
You may want to know
How does leave without pay work for pension purposes?
Only service during which you contributed to your pension or later bought back counts as pensionable service.
Canadian Force service
The only service without pay that counts as Canadian Forces (CF) service is Leave Without Pay (LWOP) for maternity and parental reasons.
Do I contribute to the pension plan during my leave without pay?
No. You are not required to contribute to the pension plan while you are on LWOP. However, your period of LWOP is considered pensionable service and when you return to work, the contributions owing for that service will be withheld from your pay in addition to your contributions for your current service.
The repayment period is equal to the period of your LWOP and you have the option to make a lump sum payment towards the amount owing at any point before the repayment period ends.
You will receive a letter from the Government of Canada Pension Centre outlining the amount owing and the deadline by which contributions have to be paid.
Are there limits on how much leave without pay may be counted for pension purposes?
Yes. The Income Tax Act places restrictions on the total amount of LWOP that can be treated as pensionable during an individual's career and the maximum permitted is 5 years. However, you may also count an additional three years of LWOP for maternity or parental reasons.
The Government of Canada Pension Centre will notify plan members in writing when they reach the Income Tax Act limit.
Am I still covered under the Supplementary Death Benefit plan while I am away on leave without pay?
Yes. You remain covered under the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) plan and contributions for the full period of leave without pay (LWOP) are owed upon your return to work.
What are my payment options for pensionable leave without pay contributions?
The pension contributions owing for your period of LWOP will be withheld from your pay when you return to work. However, if you would like to pay the full amount owing in the form of a lump sum payment, you can avoid having the contributions withheld from your pay as long as you do so within 30 days of your return to work. Otherwise, you have the option of making a lump sum payment towards the balance owing at any time before the repayment period ends. Lump sum payments can be made by:
- personal cheque, postal or bank money order payable to the Receiver General for Canada. Send your payment, together with a Payment Transmittal Form (CF-FC 570)
When sending a lump sum payment you must provide details on the payment by stating if it is for pension contributions or a service buyback payment.
The receipt issued from the Government of Canada Pension Centre will be your tax receipt. Include it with your tax return to claim the deduction of pension contributions to a registered pension plan.
- by direct transfer of funds from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to the Regular Force Pension Plan; using the Canada Revenue Agency Direct Transfer (T2033) form. Send your completed T2033, together with a Payment Transmittal Form (CF-FC 570), to the address indicated on the transmittal form
Can I choose not to contribute to the pension plan for my period of leave without pay?
You must contribute to the pension plan in respect of the first three months of your service without pay. However, you may choose not to contribute for the portion of the period that exceeds the initial three months. Contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre or complete the Surrender of Right to Count Pensionable Service Without Pay (CFSA 106) form if you do not wish to contribute for the period that exceeds the initial three-months of your LWOP. You must complete the form within 90 days of your return to work and the Government of Canada Pension Centre must receive the form within 30 days of your having completed it.
If you do not advise the Government of Canada Pension Centre, you will automatically begin paying for your service without pay when you return to work and are again required to contribute to the pension plan.
Once you have surrendered your right to count your service without pay in excess of the first three months as pensionable, contributions are no longer payable in respect of that service. However, the initial three months of your LWOP remain to your credit as pensionable service and contributions are payable for that service. It should be noted that an option not to count a period of LWOP as pensionable service cannot be made after you have released from the CAF.
Remember, if you do not exercise your option within 90 days following your return to work, pension contributions will be payable for your entire period of LWOP.
If I choose not to contribute to the pension plan for my leave without pay, can I later buy it back?
Yes. If you decide to buy back the service within one year of your return to work, the cost of buying back will be calculated based on the contributions that you would have made had your LWOP been paid service plus simple interest at the rate of 4%.
However, if you buy back the service later, the cost will be greater because it will be calculated based on your rate of pay when you choose to buy back and you will be required to pass a medical exam.
If you surrendered your right to count your service without pay as pensionable and, having changed your mind, you would like to count that service as pensionable after all, you must complete an Election to Pay for Prior Pensionable Service (CFSA 100) form and forward it to the Government of Canada Pension Centre.
You can choose to buy back only a portion of the service, if you wish.
What types of leave without pay can be counted as pensionable service?
Leave without pay (LWOP) that can be counted towards your pensionable service includes:
- maternity and parental reasons
- personal reasons:
- on enrolment
- spousal accompaniment
- academic, technical or subsidized training; etc.
What documents do I need to send in to the Government of Canada Pension Centre for my leave without pay?
A copy of your child's Birth/Baptismal Certificate or Adoption Certificate should be provided to the Government of Canada Pension Centre for the following types of LWOP:
- maternity leave
- parental leave
Please contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre if you have any questions regarding the required documents.
- Date modified: