Short-term disability benefits and your pension
Learn how a short-term disability leave might affect your pension.
If you are unable to work due to illness or injury, you may be entitled to receive benefits under a short-term disability plan.
Benefits under a short-term disability plans are full or partial pay that you receive from your employer, an insurance company or a benefits trust when your illness or injury:
- Is not work related (and therefore not covered by WorkSafeBC)
- Does not yet qualify as a long-term disability
These benefits are sometimes called “paid sick leave” or “weekly indemnity benefits.”
How benefits under a short-term disability plan affect your pension
When you receive disability benefits for time away from work, your pension may be affected. It depends on who pays the benefits and, if an insurance company or benefits trust is paying them, whether your employer considers your short-term disability leave to be pensionable service.
Contact your employer if you are not sure how your disability benefits are paid or to see if your employer considers your time away from work on a short-term disability leave to count as pensionable service.
If your employer has reported your service and deducted pension contributions from any short-term disability benefit payments in the past, they must continue to do so.
Disability benefits paid by employer
If your employer pays your disability benefits directly to you, they will automatically report your service and deduct pension contributions from your benefit payments. Your pension will continue to increase while you are receiving benefits under a short-term group disability plan.
Sign in to My Account to confirm your service and salary. If you still have questions, contact your employer to ensure the contributions (on your behalf) have been made.
Disability benefits not paid by employer
If your employer doesn’t pay your disability benefits directly to you (for example, if your benefits are paid by an insurance company or a benefits trust), you may or may not continue to accumulate service in the pension plan.
If your employer considers your short-term disability leave to be pensionable service, you will accumulate service.
However, if your employer does not consider your short-term disability leave to be pensionable service, you will not accumulate service. This will affect your pension because your pension is calculated based on your years of pensionable service, along with the average of your highest five years of salary.
You may increase your pensionable service by buying service for your time on short-term disability leave.