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Break in Service
The Plan is intended to provide you with a pension if you earn your living while working for employers that contribute to the Plan over a major portion of your working years. The Break in Service rules will help you keep your Years of Vesting Service, Pension Credits, and Bonus Credits if your Break in Service is not permanent. It is important for you to understand the Break in Service rules, especially how a Break in Service becomes permanent and how to prevent that from happening.
If your right to a pension is not vested and you leave your employment or reduce your hours, you can lose the right to a pension benefit under the Plan. For each year you do not work at least 435 hours, you have a one-year Break in Service. You can repair a one-year Break in Service by returning to work in Covered Employment and working at least 435 hours in the next Plan Year.
If you have fewer than six Pension Credits, less than the five Years of Vesting Service required for the Normal Retirement Age Pension, and five consecutive one-year Breaks in Service, you have a permanent Break in Service and lose the Years of Vesting Service, Pension Credits and Bonus Credits that you accumulated before your Break in Service. If you have six or more Pension Credits earned prior to incurring a Break in Service, you will not have a permanent Break in Service until your consecutive one-year Breaks in Service equal the full number of Pension Credits (excluding Bonus Credits) or Years of Vesting Service that you had earned prior to the Break in Service.
However, if you return to work before you have a permanent Break in Service (the greater of five years or full Pension Credits earned before the Break in Service), and work at least 435 hours in a Plan Year, you will be credited with the Years of Vesting Service, Pension Credits, and Bonus Credits you earned before you left Covered Employment.
If you had a Break in Service before June 1, 1976, you should check with the Pension Department of the Fund Office to determine how that Break in Service may affect your pension benefits.
Paul Left work in Covered Employment on May 31, 2007. At the time, he was 30 years old and had 2 Years of Vesting Service, 2 Pension Credits, and ¼ Bonus Credit. If Paul does not return to Covered Employment and work at least 435 hours in a Plan Year by June 1, 2012 (within five years), he will have a permanent Break in Service.
If Paul returns to work in Covered Employment after June 1, 2012, he will be considered a new participant with no Years of Vesting Service, no Pension Credits, and no Bonus Credits.
However, if Paul returns to Covered Employment before June 1, 2012 and works at least 435 hours in a Plan Year, he will be a participant with 2 Years of Vesting Service, 2¼ Pension Credits, and ¼ Bonus Credit.
Break in Service Rules Do Not Apply to Some Situations
The Break in Service rules do not apply if you are not working in Covered Employment because:
You are in military service, provided that you return to work within two years following your discharge from service; or
Your absence is an approved leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
You may receive Vesting Service and Pension and Bonus Credits when you serve in any of the uniformed services of the United States and then return to work. Generally, if you return to work within two years of the date of your release from active duty, you:
Will not have a Break in Service; and
Will earn Vesting Service and Pension and Bonus Credits for the time you were in the military.
To be eligible to earn Vesting Service and Pension and Bonus Credits for your military service you must:
Notify your employer that you have been called to service;
Leave service under honorable conditions (do not receive a dishonorable discharge); and
Report back to work or apply for reemployment within two years after you complete your active duty, or be unable to report back to work due to a total and permanent disability or death that occurred during active duty.
If you meet these eligibility requirements, you may be credited with 40 hours for each week that you were absent from Covered Employment and serving in the uniformed services of the United States. If you have any questions regarding military service or your return to work after military service, you should call the Pension Department of the Fund Office.
Maternity/Paternity and Family and Medical Leave
You may be granted up to 501 hours of service in the year of your maternity or paternity leave taken for pregnancy, for the birth of a child or for the placement of a child in connection with adoption to prevent you from having a Break in Service because of maternity or paternity leave. If you already have 501 or more hours during the first calendar year of your leave, you may be granted up to 501 hours of service in the year immediately following your parental leave to prevent you from having a Break in Service because of maternity or paternity leave.
You may be granted up to 12 weeks of service for leave you take under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to prevent you from having a Break in Service because of such leave. You must be entitled to the FMLA leave and your leave must be approved by your employer.
FMLA leave includes absences from work because of:
The birth, adoption, placement with you for foster care or adoption of a child;
The care of a seriously ill spouse, parent or child; or
Your serious illness.
Temporary Disability Due to Injury and Illness
You may receive Vesting Service and Pension and Bonus Credits for periods in which you do not work due to either an occupational or non-occupational disability. In order to receive Vesting Service and Pension and Bonus Credits, you must collect Weekly Income Benefits from the Chicago Laborers’ Welfare Fund. You may be paid up to 26 weeks for your period of disability and then granted up to 1,040 hours in a Plan Year to prevent you from having a Break in Service. Refer to the Chicago Laborers’ Welfare Fund Summary Plan Description for more information about this benefit.