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Questions about Bill 124? Visit our News section and Bill 124 FAQs in both the working members and retired members sections.

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.

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.


What you can buy back

  • 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 it 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 off for academic upgrading, you can pay for it if it 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.

What you may be able to buy back

  • You may be eligible to purchase credit if you aren’t on a leave but have reduced your normal hours of work because of childcare or disability. You must apply to have these types of arrangements recognized under the plan and meet all the requirements in the applicable category.

  • If you taught in another province, or contributed to another registered Ontario pension plan, you may be able to transfer your credit to Ontario Teachers'. Because we're such a robust pension plan, sometimes transferred funds aren't enough to cover equivalent credit in our plan. If there’s 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, and many major Ontario pension plans. Rules and deadlines apply.

What you can't buy back

  • Employer-approved time off for five or fewer consecutive school days doesn'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 permanently from full-time to part-time work, you can't make up the difference or top up with a buyback. This differs from reduced workloads due to childcare or disability because those periods are temporary reductions to your normal hours of work. Only reduced workloads for childcare or disability reasons may be eligible for a buyback.

Contact us if you're:
  • working in education during a leave, which can impact your buyback and pension benefits
  • participating in another pension plan during a leave or reduced workload, which can affect your tax treatment