Taking a leave of absence: Royal Canadian Mounted Police pension

During the course of your career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), you may decide to take an unpaid leave of absence (leave without pay) for personal or other reasons. You can find more information about leave without pay and how it can affect your pension entitlements in the Leave without pay information package.

Listed below are some common questions and answers that will help you understand how your pension and insurance benefits may be affected.

Do you continue to contribute to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pension Plan during periods of leave without pay? How much do you contribute?

You are required to pay back the first three months of your leave without pay. After that period, you may choose to count or not to count the balance of your leave without pay as pensionable. You don't have to pre-pay contributions required under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act prior to or during your period of leave. For more information, refer to the Leave Without Pay Information Package.

The amount you contribute to the RCMP Pension Plan depends on the type and duration of your leave.

In most cases, the contribution rate for the first three months of a period of leave without pay is at "single" rate, meaning that you are only required to pay your share of contributions.

For your period of leave after the first three months, you will be required to pay contributions at either "single" or "double" rate (your share plus the employer's share). Further information on contribution rates for specific types of leave without pay can be found in the Leave Without Pay Information Package.

Can you choose not to count your period of leave without pay for pension purposes? What if you change your mind?

You may choose not to count periods of leave without pay after the first three months. This option must be made within the prescribed timeframes and while you are still employed. Further information is available in the Leave Without Pay Information Package.

Even after you've chosen not to count your leave without pay, you can, at a later date, change your mind and request a service buyback. The cost, however, will be higher because the calculation of the required contributions will be based on your salary at the time of the election and interest will be charged. Please refer to the Service buyback package for more information.

Are there limits on how much leave without pay may be counted for pension purposes?

Yes. The Income Tax Act places a maximum of five years restrictions on the total periods of leave without pay that can be treated as pensionable during your career. However, you may also be credited with an additional three years of leave without pay for parenting purposes. More information on the tax implications is available in the Leave Without Pay Information Package.

What payment options are available for your contributions?

You can make lump sum payments for your pension contributions at any time by personal cheque, postal money order, or bank money order. Otherwise, your pension contributions will be recovered by salary deductions when you return to work. It is also possible to pay for a leave without pay period using funds transferred from your personal RRSP. More detail is provided in the Leave Without Pay Information Package.

Are you still covered under your other insurance benefit plans during a period of leave without pay?

You are eligible to continue your coverage under the RCMP Group Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment plans while on a period of leave without pay (LWOP).

Coverage under the Disability Insurance Plan is mandatory for all active members and will, therefore, continue while you are on a period of LWOP. For information on your continuing coverage and to make arrangements for remitting premiums, please contact Morneau Shepell at 1-800-661-7595.

You are also eligible for continued coverage under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) and Public Service Dental Care Plan (PSDCP). Please contact RCMP National Pay Operations for details on how to either continue or cancel your coverage under these plans at 1-866-729-7293.

The following links provide a summary of the conditions and reasons for which your coverage may be continued:

Do you continue to pay your service buyback payments while on leave without pay?

Yes. Service Buyback payments must be made on an on-going basis during the period of your leave without pay. If payments are not made on a semi-monthly basis, you will have different options to repay your default payment; however, the amount to be paid back will include interest. Contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre to learn how your payments should be made.

Do periods of leave without pay count as service in the force?

Yes. You receive service in the force credit for all periods of service with the RCMP, including leave without pay.

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