Break In Service
There may be times in your work history when your employment under the Plan is interrupted by a Break in Service. Several Plan provisions deal with this situation.
21. What is a Break in Service?
If you experience two consecutive Break Years, you will incur a Break in Service.
22. What is a Break Year?
If you fail to complete at least 100 Hours of Service in any Plan Year, you will incur a Break Year.
23. Are there any exceptions to this provision?
Yes. A Break Year will not be charged to you for any Plan Year in which you:
- were totally disabled or involuntarily unemployed (to a maximum of three years),
- were on an approved leave of absence under the Collective Bargaining Agreement; or
- were in the armed forces of the U.S.A. provided you timely return to Covered Employment upon discharge and comply with all the provisions of the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
Furthermore, if you do not earn enough Credited Service in a Plan Year to avoid a Break in Service and the reason you are absent from Covered Employment is because of your:
- spouse’s delivery of a child,
- adoption of a child, or
- caring for your child immediately following birth or adoption,
you will be given Credited Service for the hours you lost but only for the purpose of not being charged with a Break Year. If you are already protected against a Break Year for the Plan Year in which the absence starts, the hours you miss will be applied to the following Plan Year, but, once again, only for the limited purpose of not being charged with a Break Year for that Plan Year. Plan Years protected for you in this way will be considered not to exist for you and will not operate to interrupt a period of “consecutive Break Years” for the purpose of a Break in Service.
24. What happens if I experience a Break in Service when I am not vested?
If you are not vested, you will forfeit your Credited Service and benefit accruals that were earned prior to your Break in Service.
25. Can any Credited Service and benefit accruals that I lose because of a Break in Service ever be reinstated?
If you incur a Break in Service after December 31, 1986 when you are not vested, and return to Covered Employment sometime after that, and earn at least 100 Hours of Service in one Plan Year, your Credited Service and benefit accruals that were forfeited will be reinstated if the number of consecutive Break Years that you incur is less than five (5) or the number of years of Credited Service that you had at the time of the break, whichever is greater.
26. What happens if I experience a Break in Service when I am vested?
If you are vested at the time of the Break in Service, you are entitled to receive, at pension age, the benefit associated with the Credited Service and benefit accruals you have earned (called a Deferred Pension Benefit). However, the amount of benefit to which you will be entitled will be “frozen” at the level of benefits in effect before your Break in Service. You will be considered a participant in the Plan on Deferred Pension Status.