Leaves, time off and retirement

If your work situation changes because of COVID-19, your pension could be affected. Learn about your options if you take a leave, have your hours reduced, are temporarily laid off or change your retirement plans.


Note: all leaves are subject to Income Tax Act limits.

Will deadlines be extended?

No, deadlines remain the same. If you’ve had a delay in getting required documents, contact us. We may ask you to provide information regarding the cause of the delay.

What if I already submitted my pension application, but I’ve decided to work longer?

Contact us in writing as soon as possible using My Account Message Centre.

Can I retire early because of COVID-19?

Earliest retirement ages haven’t changed. If you do retire early, you may receive a reduced pension.

If I take a COVID-19 leave under the Employment Standards Act (ESA), what does that mean for my pension?

It depends on if you take an unpaid leave or a leave with full pay:

  • If you take an unpaid leave, you have the option of buying service for the period of your absence. Leaves taken under the ESA are shared-cost leaves – if you choose to buy service for such a leave, both you and WorkSafeBC will pay a portion of the purchase cost.
  • A leave with full pay does not count as leave because both you and WorkSafeBC are still contributing to the plan.

If you take an approved unpaid leave that isn’t covered by the COVID-19 leave under the ESA, you may be able to buy service for this period – it will be treated as general leave and both you and WorkSafeBC will pay a portion of the purchase cost. This may apply, for example, if you’re self-isolating to follow general social distancing guidelines.

If I’m temporarily laid off, what does this mean for my pension?

If you’re laid off (rather than being on a leave of absence), you won’t be able to buy service for this period.


External link for leaves or time off

Government of B.C. Employment Standards