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Taking time off work

Sometimes you need to take a break from work, but that time away may affect your pension. We can show you how to keep your retirement on track.

Types of leaves

Planning to study, travel or stay home with your baby? If you take more than five consecutive days off, you don't contribute to your pension while you're not working. You can make up for the gap in your service and salary by paying for your time off — this is called a buyback.

Types of leaves you can pay for

  • These types of leaves make up more than 70% of the buybacks we see. You can also pay for maternity leave extensions if they're approved by your employer.

  • During your career, you may need to ask your employer for time off. When your absence lasts more than five consecutive school days, you can pay for the time you're away.

  • Sometimes teachers become students again. If you take time away for academic upgrading, you can pay if your absence lasts more than five consecutive school days.

  • As long as it's approved by your employer, you can pay for time away to take care of a loved one or deal with one of life's curve balls.

  • If you taught in another province, you may be able to transfer your credit to Ontario Teachers'. Because we're such a robust pension plan, sometimes transferred credit isn't enough to pay for equivalent credit in our plan. If there is a shortfall of funds, you may be able to top up all or part of the difference.

    We have transfer agreements with teachers' pension plans in every province and territory. Rules and deadlines apply. Contact us to discuss your situation.

Types of leaves you can’t pay for

  • Employer-approved absences of five or fewer consecutive school days don't affect your pension. Your employer continues to deduct pension contributions for the time away.

    Short leaves may be for things like personal days, religious holidays or for when you run out of sick days.

  • Sometimes called a deferred salary or x/y leave, this is an agreement between you and your employer. You agree to defer a portion of your salary over a certain period. For example, in a 4/5 leave, you defer 20% of your salary for four years, and then collect that deferred salary in the fifth year while you're away.

    Your employer continues to deduct pension contributions while you're on a deferred salary leave. They report service and salary based on your contract prior to the arrangement. There's no impact to your pension.

  • If you move from full-time to part-time work, you can't make up the difference or top up with a buyback.

Participating in another pension plan during a leave can affect your taxes. If you're in this situation, call us at 1-800-668-0105.