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Public Service > Employer General > COVID-19 FAQ


COVID-19 Update

Chances are, someone else is wondering the same things as you. Weíve collected information on what youíre thinking about.

Information is divided into categories: operations, pension administration and employee information.

Operations

Serving you during COVID-19

In these changing times, we continue working to serve you.

Pension Corporation is open for business. The majority of our team is working remotely. We are responding to requests and answering calls as promptly as possible — your patience is appreciated.

To support physical distancing, we have done the following:

  • Closed our reception.
  • Began hosting May and November Employer Council virtually. Stay tuned to the Employer Newsletter and visit the Employer Council section of the secure website for more information.
  • Cancelled site visits.
  • Started offering virtual learning Ė webinars and online courses. Visit the Employer Education section of the secure employer website for more information and to take appropriate education.
  • Stopped accepting paper documents at this time to minimize delays, errors and ensure the safety of our staff. If you have documents or paperwork to send us, please use Message Board and email. You can fax a completed Purchase of Service application, including your authorization in Part B, to the plan at College 250 953-0412, MPP 250 953-0421, PSPP 250 953-0425 TPP 250 356-8977 and WSBC 250 953-0433.

Reminder: Your employees should use My Account Message Centre to communicate with the plan; they can submit all their documents and paperwork, including forms. Encourage your employees to sign up for My Account, if they havenít already. If they cannot get access, they should contact the plan.

Pension administration

Making pension contribution remittances

Remitting contributions is required under the Pension Benefits Standards Act. Any exception to this requires a regulatory change from the provincial government. Please continue to remit employee and employer contributions on time.

Reduced work schedules and pay

If your employees continue to be employed and remain members of the plan, their contributions cannot be suspended. Once a contributor, always a contributor.

They may be eligible to buy the service for the difference between their normal (full-assignment) hours and the hours they actually work. According to the Canada Revenue Agency, all the following must apply:

  • They must have been employed with you for at least three years
  • They may only purchase a period of reduced pay that occurs after those three years
  • They must have been working their normal (full-assignment) hours sometime before their hours were reduced

If an employee is interested in buying this service, they can use the personalized purchase cost estimator to run an estimate. If they want to buy back this service, they need to complete the Purchase of Service application. Because we have stopped accepting paper documents at this time to minimize service impacts and ensure the safety of our staff, fax a completed Purchase of Service application, including your authorization in Part B, to the plan at College 250 953-0412, MPP 250 953-0421, PSPP 250 953-0425 TPP 250 356-8977 and WSBC 250 953-0433.

Reminder: Your employees should use My Account Message Centre to communicate with the plan; they can submit all their documents and paperwork, including forms. Encourage your employees to sign up for My Account, if they havenít already. If they cannot get access, they should contact the plan.

Buying service for temporary layoffs

For TPP, if your employee has been placed on a recall list, they may eligible to buy service for the period of time theyíre away from work Ė it will be treated as a general leave. They will be required to pay the full cost of the purchase.

Note: service purchases are subject to Income Tax Act limits.

If an employee is interested in buying this service, they can use the personalized purchase cost estimator to run an estimate. If they want to buy back this service, they need to complete the Purchase of Service application. Because we have stopped accepting paper documents at this time to minimize service impacts and ensure the safety of our staff, fax a completed Purchase of Service application, including your authorization in Part B, to the plan at College 250 953-0412, MPP 250 953-0421, PSPP 250 953-0425 TPP 250 356-8977 and WSBC 250 953-0433.

Reminder: Your employees should use My Account Message Centre to communicate with the plan; they can submit all their documents and paperwork, including forms. Encourage your employees to sign up for My Account, if they havenít already. If they cannot get access, they should contact the plan.

For College, MPP, PSPP and WSBC, if your employee is being laid off, they cannot buy back this service.

Buying service for COVID-19-related leave

If an employee takes COVID-19-related leave under the Employment Standards Act (ESA), they have the option to buy service for this time. Like other leaves taken under the ESA, it will be a cost-shared leave. If your employee decides to purchase the service, you are required to pay the employer portion of the purchase cost.

COVID-19-related leave covered under the ESA states an employee may take leave if they are unable to work because:

  • They have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are following the instructions or an order of a medical health officer, or the advice of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or registered nurse.
  • They are in quarantine or self-isolation in accordance with an order of the provincial health officer, an order made under the Quarantine Act (Canada), guidelines from the BC Centre for Disease Control or guidelines from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
  • You have directed them not to work to prevent the employeeís exposure to others.
  • They need to provide care to an eligible person, including care because of school, daycare, or similar facility closures.
  • They are outside of BC and cannot return because of travel or border restrictions.
  • Other situations that may be prescribed in the future.

The employee may be on leave for as long they are experiencing one of the circumstances above.

For details about COVID-19-related leaves, please consult the Employment Standards Act.

If an employee takes an unpaid leave that isnít covered under COVID-19 leave in the ESA, they may still be able to buy service for this period; it will be treated as general leave.

Note: service purchases are subject to Income Tax Act limits.

If an employee wants to buy back this service, they will need to complete the Purchase of Service application. Because we have stopped accepting paper documents at this time to minimize service impacts and ensure the safety of our staff, fax a completed Purchase of Service application, including your authorization in Part B, to the plan at College 250 953-0412, MPP 250 953-042, PSPP 250 953-0425 TPP 250-356-8977 and WSBC 250 953-0433.

Reminder: Your employees should use My Account Message Centre to communicate with the plan; they can submit all their documents and paperwork, including forms. Encourage your employees to sign up for My Account, if they havenít already. If they cannot get access, they should contact the plan.

Pensionable service for employees receiving B.C. COVID-19 temporary pandemic pay

This temporary pay, which is being paid as a lump sum, isnít pensionable. Like all pensionable salary exclusions, donít take any pension contributions from this temporary pay and donít include in your payroll report.

Hiring retired employees

If your employee is receiving a pension from the same plan, then do not re-enrol them in the plan or deduct contributions.

For PSPP, an employee may not return to work within 30 days of their pension effective date in a position that requires they participate in the plan. If they do, they are not eligible to receive their pension and must start contributing to the plan.

For TPP, an employee may not return to work before their first pension payment is made. If they do, they are not eligible to receive their pension and must start contributing to the plan.

If they are receiving a pension from another plan, then regular enrolment rules apply.

Going paper-free

Since April 2020, your employees have been given the option to go paper-free when they register or sign in to My Account.

Choosing paper-free communications allows your employees to receive digital notifications when important pension information is available online. It also makes it easy for them to keep track of all their important pension information in one secure place. You can help your organization by encouraging your employees to go paper-free. Doing so saves both money and time associated with paper distribution

Signing up for paper-free communications is simple, and your employees can change their preferences at any time. Those who are already registered for My Account and have not yet opted in can sign in, confirm their contact information and select ďyesĒ to go paper-free. Those who have not yet registered for My Account can choose to opt in as part of their registration.

Memberís Benefit Statement and Report to Members

The Pension Benefits Standards Act requires that each of your employees who are plan members receives their Memberís Benefit Statement (MBS) and Report to Members within 180 days after the planís fiscal year-end.

If you distribute pension information to your staff directly, youíll see a list of employees who have opted to go paper-free on the employer report that accompanies your MBS and Report to Members package. You will not be responsible for distributing these documents to those employees. If we distribute them digitally to your staff on your behalf, you will see a cost reduction.

If you have not arranged for the MBS and Report to Members to be mailed directly to your employees, BC Mail Plus will deliver them directly to you by

If you have not arranged for the MBS and Report to Members to be mailed directly to your employees, BC Mail Plus will deliver them directly to you by

  • CPP—mid-February, 2021
  • MPP and TPP—mid-June, 2020
  • PSPP and WSBC—mid-September, 2020

Provide the package to your employees by

  • CPP—February 27, 2021
  • MPP and TPP—June 29, 2021
  • PSPP —September 27, 2021

Doing more in My Account

To sign up, your employees will need their Person ID number, which is found at the top right-hand corner of their recent MBS. If they cannot get access, they should contact the plan.

In My Account, they can:

  • View their MBS—near the end of May (MPP and TPP), January (CPP) and August (PSPP and WSBC)
    • click Reports > Benefit Statements
    • choose the year
    • view the MBS as a PDF, or print it
  • Calculate their pension estimates using the personalized pension estimator
  • Apply for their pension online—itís eight easy steps

Employee information

Employee pension information

There is a COVID-19 updates section on the plan website that provides your employees with information and answers to their questions.

Reminder: Your employees should use My Account Message Centre to communicate with the plan; they can submit all their documents and paperwork, including forms. Encourage your employees to sign up for My Account, if they havenít already. If they cannot get access, they should contact the plan.

Resources

  • Employment Standards Act Ė on BC Laws website
  • Leaves covered under the Employment Standards Act reporting instructions — on the Reporting Instructions page of the secure employer site
  • Employer Instruction Manual (new Employment Standards Act leaves information — on the home page of the employer site
  • Hot Topics webinarEmployment Standards Act leave — on the Register for a webinar or workshop page of the secure employer site
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