Last revised: February 2009
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If you receive a layoff notice, you may also be able to “bridge” to an unreduced retirement option, depending on your circumstances. (See the fact sheet Pension options when your employment ends).
Who is covered
Pension bridging requires a special provision in your collective agreement. In the Ontario Public Service (OPS), a bridging option is currently available to OPTrust members who are declared surplus and are covered by the Central Collective Agreement between OPSEU and Management Board of Cabinet. Bridging is also available to eligible employees in the OPS who are affected by a divestment.
Other OPTrust members may have access to a bridging option under their own collective agreements. In these cases, the terms of the bridging option may vary depending on the specific language in each agreement.
If you receive a layoff notice and think you may be eligible for pension bridging, please contact your employer, union representative or OPTrust. Your employer must agree to this option for you to be eligible.
HOW BRIDGING WORKS AND DETERMINING YOUR ELIGIBILITY
Pension bridging allows eligible members
to continue earning pension credit between
the date they receive their surplus notice
and the date they would have qualified for
an immediate unreduced pension. This is
done by combining:
- your surplus notice period
- the period represented by your
severance payments, and
- an unpaid leave of absence of
up to two years.
During this “bridging period” OPTrust
continues to receive pension contributions
and you continue to earn credit in
the Plan – allowing you to reach your
nearest unreduced retirement date.
If you are eligible, your bridging period
will first make use of your surplus notice
period (normally 6-months) plus the
period represented by your severance payments when converted to a paid
leave of absence (varies based on your
length of service). If these two periods
are not enough for you to qualify for an unreduced pension, an unpaid leave (to a maximum of two years) is used to
make up the difference.
To qualify for this option, at the end of the bridging period, you must be eligible for
an immediate unreduced pension from OPTrust.
YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS DURING THE BRIDGING PERIOD
During the bridging period, your OPTrust pension contributions are paid as follows:
- Surplus notice period: During your surplus notice period, your contributions will be deducted from
your pay. Your employer will pay matching contributions based on OPTrust’s employer contribution
- Unpaid leave of absence: For this period, you can make arrangements with your employer to pay
your share of pension contributions on your behalf by deducting them from your severance pay.
- Paid leave of absence representing your termination payments: During this paid leave of absence,
your pension contributions will be deducted from your earnings, and matched by your employer.
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