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What Is a Break in Service?
A Break in Service occurs if you fail to earn at least ¼ Year of Pension Credit during specified numbers of calendar years.

It is very important to understand that there are Breaks in Service that can lead to loss of Pension Credit and Vesting Service and there are also Breaks in Service that affect the computation of your pension benefit amount. This section discusses Breaks in Service that can lead to loss of Pension Credit and Vesting Service. For information on Breaks in Service that can affect the computation of your pension benefit amount, please see the PENSION BENEFIT AMOUNTS tab.  

Once you are vested you cannot lose your Years of Pension Credit or Years of Vesting Credit. However, prior to becoming vested, the following Break in Service rules govern the loss of Pension Credit and Vesting Credit.
 
There are two types of Breaks in Service, Temporary Breaks in Service and Permanent Breaks in Service. In general, if you have a Permanent Break in Service, you lose your status as a participant under the Plan and your accumulated Years of Pension Credit and Years of Vesting Service are canceled.
 
Note: Break in Service and loss of credit rules differ prior to 1975. For more detailed information, contact the Pension Department or consult your Summary Plan Description booklet.

When Do I Have a Temporary Break in Service?
You have a Temporary Break in Service in any calendar year that you do not earn 500 Hours of Vesting Service or ¼ Year of Pension Credit.  However, a Temporary Break in Service is repairable if, before incurring a Permanent Break in Service, you earn ¼ Year of Pension Credit.  

When Do I Have a Permanent Break in Service?
You incur a Permanent Break in Service if you have 5 or fewer Years of Vesting Service and you incur 5 or more consecutive Temporary Breaks in Service. 

You also incur a Permanent Break in Service if you have more than 5 Years of Vesting Service but are not Vested and you incur consecutive Temporary Breaks in Service that equal or exceed your number of years of Vesting Service. If you incur a Permanent Break in Service, any Years of Pension Credit and Years of Vesting Service are lost.
 
Are There Any Exceptions to the Break in Service / Loss of Credit Rules?
Yes. In specific circumstances, periods of time may not be counted as a period during which a Break in Service has occurred.
 
The following periods of time will be considered exceptions, if your failure to earn Years of Vesting Service or Years of Pension Credit was caused by:
 
  • Retirement under the Plan; or
  • Disability, regardless of cause, for up to a 4-year period, provided you return to Covered Employment before the end of the 4-year period; or
  • Employment with the Chicago Regional Council or any affiliated local union, or employment with any affiliated state, national or international labor organization; or
  • Employment as an elected or appointed public official of a municipal, state or national government or subdivision thereof; or
  • A period of absence in which you did not earn at least one-quarter pension Credit because of lack of available work in Covered Employment between June 1, 1975 and December 31, 1976, so long as you returned to work and earned at least one Year of Pension Credit between January 1, 1975 and December 31, 1977; or
  • Continuous employment of at least 2 consecutive calendar quarters:

o      with a contributing employer in non-covered employment under a collective bargaining agreement of the Council, or as a millman under a collective bargaining agreement of any affiliate of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters;
 
o        with a governmental agency as a millman;
 
o        as a superintendent or other managerial employee for a contributing Employer; or
 
o        as a self-employed person in the millwork or related industries provided that you return to Covered Employment and earn at least 2 additional years of Aggregate Pension Credit in a 3-consecutive-calendar year period which is not preceded by a permanent break in service; or 
 
  • Service in the Armed Forces of the United States for up to 5 years, if you return to work or seek work in Covered Employment within 90 days after discharge or as otherwise required by federal law; or
  • On or after January 1, 1985, absence from work because of childbirth, pregnancy, adoption, or infant care, up to 501 hours of service in the year the absence starts or, if not required in that year to prevent a break in service, in the following year; or 
  • Any leave of absence granted by your employer up to 12 weeks that qualifies under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will not be counted as a break in service for purposes of determining eligibility and vesting.
 It is important to note that these exceptions only apply to Breaks in Service that can lead to loss of Pension Credit and Vesting Service. These exceptions do NOT apply to Breaks in Service that can affect the computation of your pension benefit amount.
 
How Will I Know When a Permanent Break in Service Will Occur?
Try your best to understand the Plan Rules and review your annual statements carefully.
 
Each year the Fund Office mails you a “Statement of Earned Pension Credits” to the latest address on file. This report will warn you if you are about to incur a Permanent Break in Service. If you disagree with the information shown on the statement, you must provide the Trustees with satisfactory evidence that one of the exceptions above applies to you.    
 
Always notify the Fund Office of a change in your address so you will not miss important mailings!
 

 

 

 
 

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