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Information about COVID-19 related leaves or layoffs

What happens if I can’t work because of a COVID-19 related leave or layoff?

The scenarios below apply to you if your employment changed as a result of the measures taken to address COVID-19.

This page provides information on the following types of leaves:

  • Non-statutory and statutory leaves of absence
  • Periods of reduced pay and layoffs
  • Paid sick leave and short term disability.

Note: standard purchasing timelines will apply, unless another timeline is set out by the Plan.


Non-statutory and statutory leaves of absence

Non-statutory leaves

If you are a member, and are on an approved unpaid leave (that is not a statutory leave under employment standards legislation), you have the opportunity to purchase all or a portion of a non-statutory leave when you return to work based on your deemed earnings (in other words, your earnings if you had not been on a leave) during the period of the leave. Employers do not make contributions for non-statutory leave purchases.

If you make the purchase within six months from the date you return to work: You pay 100% of the cost of the purchase based on the contributions that would have been made by both you and your employer in respect of the period being purchased.

If you make the purchase more than six months after you return to work: You pay 100% of the cost of the purchase based on the contributions that would have been made by both you and your employer in respect of the period being purchased. The amount of benefit credited in respect of the leave will be calculated using the purchase adjustment factor, based on how close you are to your normal retirement date.

How to pay: You can only make this purchase using funds from a registered retirement savings vehicle.

Statutory leaves

If you are a member and on statutory leave as defined under the employment standards legislation in your jurisdiction of employment, you and your employer must continue to contribute to the Plan for the duration of the leave unless you choose to exclude this leave from your pensionable earnings and service. If you choose not to contribute during the period of the leave, you still have the opportunity to purchase the leave when you return to work based on your deemed earnings during the period of the leave, as further explained below.

Please note that the treatment of periods of statutory leaves under the CAAT Plan has not changed as a result of COVID-19 – what constitutes a statutory leave depends on the applicable employment standards legislation in effect at the time of the leave. Employers are responsible for reporting whether an employee is on a statutory leave based on applicable employment standards legislation. We note that in response to COVID-19, various jurisdictions have expanded the categories of statutory leaves under their employment standards legislation – these may or may not apply to you.

If you make the purchase within six months from the date you return to work: You and your employer will share the cost of the purchase based on the contributions that would have been made by both in respect of the period being purchased.

If you make the purchase more than six months after you return to work: You pay 100% of the purchase amount, calculated using the purchase adjustment factor based on how close you are to your normal retirement date.

How to pay: If you purchase this period within six months after you return to work, you can make the purchase using cash funds or funds from a registered retirement savings vehicle. If you make the purchase more than six months after you returning to work, the purchase must be made using funds from a registered retirement savings vehicle.


Periods of reduced hours or pay

Periods of layoff:

As a member you are considered to be on a period of layoff in the Plan when you meet the definition of layoff in your jurisdiction of employment. So long as recall rights exist, and you have not chosen to retire or transfer your benefit out of the Plan, you will be eligible to purchase the period of layoff when you return to work.

If you are fully laid off, you can purchase the entire period of layoff when you return to work.

If you are partially laid off and receiving a reduced amount of earnings from your employer (if applicable in your jurisdiction of employment), both you and your employer will continue to make required contributions on your actual earnings during the period. When you return to normal hours or pay, you have the option to purchase the difference between your actual earning and deemed earnings for the period.

Purchases in respect of periods of layoff fall under the Non-Statutory Leave purchasing process.


Paid sick leave and short term disability

When you continue to receive earnings (or a percentage of earnings) from your employer in respect of a period of leave due to illness.

Both you and your employer will continue to make contributions to the Plan based on your actual earnings received  during the leave.

Note: Purchases are subject to Income Tax Act maximums

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The CAAT Plan's member services team are available to answer any questions you may have.