Buying service for a leave

Learn about your options for buying service during or after a leave of absence.

Which leaves you can buy

A leave of absence is an employer-approved absence from work. It can include general and shared-cost leaves under a collective agreement or the Employment Standards Act (ESA).

  • If you take an unpaid or partially paid leave, you can buy service for the time you were not contributing to the plan.
  • If you take a leave with full pay, you continue to earn service and do not need to buy it. Your pension contributions continue during a paid leave.

Your cost and purchase options for buying a leave depend on whether your leave is ESA approved.

ESA-approved leaves

  • Maternity
  • Parental/adoption
  • Family responsibility
  • Compassionate care
  • Critical illness or injury
  • Leave respecting disappearance of a child
  • Leave respecting death of a child
  • Leave respecting domestic or sexual violence
  • Bereavement
  • Jury duty
  • COVID-19-related
  • Personal illness or injury

Only a person who gives birth can buy service for maternity leaves. Either parent can buy service for parental leaves. Any adoptive parent can buy service for adoption leaves.

Other leaves

Leaves not listed above are not covered by the ESA. These are referred to as “general” leaves. The kind of leave you take affects the purchase options you have when buying service.

Although this list is regularly updated, you should consult your employer or the ESA for the most up-to-date leaves and information.

References to the ESA in this Buying service for a leave guide also apply to members working for federally regulated employers covered by the Canada Labour Code. Contact your employer for more information.

Layoff periods

You can buy service for a period of layoff as a general leave of absence if:

  • The layoff started on January 1, 2020, or later
  • The layoff is temporary
  • You maintained an employment relationship with your employer during the layoff

You have five years from the end of your layoff period to apply for your purchase, or 30 days after ending employment, whichever comes first.

External link to employment standards

Government of B.C. Employment Standards