Employment and Membership Dates
When completing the Membership Enrolment, employers must provide the employee’s continuous employment date and his or her plan membership date.
Note: OPTrust does not use the continuous service date for pension administration purposes.
Continuous Employment Date
The continuous employment date is the first day of the employee’s most recent period of unbroken employment – whether in a permanent/classified, contract/unclassified, or seasonal position. Employers must provide this date when completing the OPTrust Membership Enrolment form.
The continuous employment date is separate from the plan membership date, which is the date when a member joins the Plan. The continuous employment date is also separate from the continuous service date, which may be adjusted to reflect periods of prior service that pre-date the continuous employment date.
Important! The continuous employment date is used by OPTrust to determine whether the enrolling member is eligible to buyback a period of prior non-contributory service. The employer must enter the correct continuous employment date on the Membership Enrolment form (OPTrust1005) so that OPTrust can provide the member with an automatic buyback quote at enrolment. Please see Buybacks at Enrolment for more information.
Continuous Service Date
Employers use the continuous service date to calculate seniority, entitlement to severance payments and entitlement to benefits such as vacation for permanent/classified employees. The continuous service date is not directly linked to the member’s credit in the OPSEU Pension Plan, which can vary as a result of contract/unclassified service, leaves of absence, buybacks, transfers, part-time work and other factors.
An adjustment to the continuous service date does not affect the member’s eligibility to purchase credit for periods of past service under the Pension Plan. Upon enrolment, a member may apply to buy back any prior service, including non-credited government service. Strict application timelines must be met.
Plan Membership Date
The plan membership date is the first day of the employee’s most recent period of unbroken membership in the Plan. This may be different from an employee’s continuous service date and/or continuous employment date. The plan membership date is not directly linked to credit earned in the Plan, which may vary due to unpaid leaves of absence, part-time work, buybacks, transfers and other factors.
Examples: Continuous Employment and Plan Membership Dates
The relationship between the continuous employment date and the plan membership date may vary depending on the employee’s circumstances.
Example 1: Sunil starts working in a classified position with the Ministry of Transportation on July 1, 2014 with no prior service. July 1, 2014 is therefore his continuous employment date. Because enrolment in the Plan is mandatory for permanent employees, July 1, 2014 is also Sunil’s plan membership date.
Example 2: Barbara joins the Ministry of Natural Resources as an unclassified employee on May 1, 2014. Barbara later decides to enrol in the plan voluntarily, starting September 1, 2015. Barbara’s continuous employment date is therefore May 1, 2014, while her plan membership date is September 1, 2015.
When OPTrust receives Barbara’s Membership Enrolment form from her employer, we use both dates to determine how much non-contributory service Barbara is eligible to buy back. In this case, we would mail her a cost quote for purchasing credit for her 16 months of service between May 1, 2014 and August 31, 2015.
Note: OPTrust no longer uses the “pension credit date” in calculating a members’ credit or entitlement.