Establishing an Assigned Work Week (AWW)
The following information is intended to provide you, the Employer, with information on establishing an assigned work week (AWW) for an employee. For most employees, it is easy to determine whether the AWW averages 12 hours or more per week and to determine whether they are eligible to contribute to the public service pension plan. For some employees, however, it can be more difficult to establish an AWW as they are never required to work the same number of hours per week; some have irregular employment patterns; some work more than the established AWW and some less.
The pension status of an employee is determined based on the hours of work established at the time of hiring. It is therefore important for the employer to ensure that hours of work be clearly established at the time of hiring. An employee who is hired with no assigned hours of work is considered to be employed on an "as required" basis. In general, an employee hired on an "as required" basis does not contribute under the public service pension plan. There are, however, some types of employment situations that can meet the requirements for participation under the public service pension plan as explained below. In order to contribute to the public service pension plan, an employee must also meet all the other contributory requirements.
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- Employees with Regular Employment Patterns
- Employees with Irregular Employment Patterns
- Employee Works more than Established Assigned Work Week (AWW)
- Employee Works less than Established Assigned Work Week (AWW)
- Changes to the Assigned Work Week (AWW)
Employees with Regular Employment Patterns
For most employees, it is a simple matter to determine whether the Assigned Work Week (AWW) averages 12 or more hours per week. Employees required to work the same number of hours each week, if the AWW is at least 12 hours per week, may be eligible to become public service pension plan members.
Employees with Irregular Employment Patterns
- Some employees work different hours each week. If the hours worked are consistent over a set period, for example, an employee who works three days one week (at 7.5 hours per day) and two days the next week (at 7.5 hours per day), works an average of at least 12 hours per week (18.75 hours), the employee may be eligible to participate in the pension plan.
- Certain employees may work one week on, one week off, or a longer pattern such as one month on, one month off. As long as the average number of hours worked over the periods is at least 12 hours per week, the employee may be eligible to become a public service pension plan members.
- Some employees are hired to work "at least X number of hours per week". The hours specified are considered to be the "assigned hours of the position" for pension purposes, even though the employee may work in excess of the specified hours. If there are at least 12 hours of work assigned, the employee may be eligible to participate. Coverage and contributions will be based on the assigned number of hours regardless of the number of hours worked.
- The appointment document indicates "required to work at least 12 hours per week".
- The employee works a varying number of hours per week (but at least 12 hours).
- For PSSA purposes, the Assigned Work Week (AWW) is 12 hours.
- There are also some unique employment situations in which the employee’s hours of work are determined over a specified period, but the hours worked vary from week to week (i.e. "as required"). If there is a definite predictable pattern to the work requirements, the employee may be eligible to participate under the pension plan. Where the employee works varying hours and meets the requirements for becoming a plan member, the hours of work should be averaged over the repeating pattern of employment. If there is no repeating pattern, the hours should be averaged over a three-month period.
- Week 1: AWW 20 hours
- Week 2: AWW 10 hours
- Week 3: AWW 15 hours
- Week 4: AWW 11 hours
- Week 5: pattern repeats
- Hours are averaged over the four-week period (14.0 hours).
Employee Works more than Established Assigned Work Week (AWW)
When an employee works more than the AWW established for pension purposes, the excess hours are not considered as pensionable service. That is, if a full-time or part-time employee works additional hours, his contribution to the plan is calculated based on the pre-established AWW only. Any hours in excess of the AWW are treated as overtime hours. For example, if the employee is assigned to work at least 12 hours per week, contributions to the plan will be based on 12 hours per week even if the employee ends up working for 20 hours per week.
Employee Works less than Established Assigned Work Week (AWW)
When the employee works less than the AWW that has been established for pension purposes, the hours not worked are pensionable and any outstanding contributions must be recovered for those hours. For example, if an employee is hired to work a 20-hour AWW and he ends up working 15 hours per week, contributions are required for the full 20 hour work week.
Changes to the Assigned Work Week (AWW)
Human Resources (HR) offices should monitor closely the number of hours the employee has been assigned to work and the number of hours he actually works. When there is a change in the pattern of hours worked, the AWW should formally be changed (with management approval) to reflect the new required hours. This will ensure that the employee is credited with the appropriate pensionable service under the public service pension plan with effect from the date the AWW has been formally changed. The change should not be made retroactively.
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