Buying back your mat leave: is it for you?
September 24, 2014
Anyone who has taken an approved maternity (mat) leave in the past five years can buy back that credit in the pension plan for their time away from work. Last year, more than 5,000 members went on mat leave.
Buying back a mat leave is a big financial decision. However, if it is carefully planned, it can help increase your future pension and improve your earliest possible date of retirement with an unreduced pension.
We recently sat down with three members who spoke to us about their buyback experiences.
"When I was deciding whether or not to buy back my mat leave, someone tried to convince me to invest it in the stock market. But buying back was the right thing to do. I felt that I didn't know how else I could get a guaranteed monthly salary when I retire, with paying this little amount out. It felt like a big amount at the time, but when you look at years down the road and now looking back, it was a small amount I put in to reap the benefits now."
– Sandy Doble, retired teacher
"You are not thinking about retirement when you go on mat leave. There's too many things to think about, especially when you are a first-time mom. But now that I have a family, it is really important for me to spend as much time as I can with them. If I buy back my mat leave and retire as planned, I'll be younger and can put more energy into my family."
– Vesna Sofkoska, active teacher
"I bought back my second maternity leave as well. In planning for that, there was a lot of financial pressure. But when we learned about the flexibility of making the buyback payments, I was able to relax and know that I was going to have those years with my kids while at the same time pay back my leaves."
– Tara Merritt, active teacher
Three things you need to know about buying back your mat leave
- You have five years from the time your leave ends to pay for your buyback.
- You can pay for your buyback in installments or in a lump sum.
- You can use one or a combination of these methods to pay for your leave:
- Personal funds
- Transfer of funds from an RRSP
Sign in to iAccess Web, our secure member website, and click on the "My Buybacks" section to learn more about buying back your mat leave, including costs and how it will affect your pension.