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.

Retiring early

Earliest retirement ages haven’t changed because of COVID-19. If you do retire early, you may receive a reduced pension.

Employment Standards leaves

If you take an unpaid leave, you have the option of buying service for the period of your absence. Leaves taken under the Employment Standards Act (ESA), including the new COVID-19-related leave, 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 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.

Leave because of non-compliance with a mandatory vaccine policy

Section 52.12 of the ESA entitles you to unpaid COVID-19-related leave in certain circumstances, but non-compliance with a vaccine mandate is not one of those circumstances. If you are on leave for this reason, the leave is considered a general leave.

If the leave is unpaid, you will not earn pensionable or contributory service but may be eligible to buy service.


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 leave and time off

Government of B.C. Employment Standards

Related content for leave and time off

Taking time off work and buying service

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