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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, click here to go to 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 1976. 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. Certain periods of time will not be counted as a period during which a Break in Service has occurred.
 
It is important to note that the following 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.
 
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; or
  • Disability prior to 1972, regardless of cause, that is not self-inflicted for up to a four-year period, provided you return to Covered Employment before the end of the four-year period; or
  • Failure to earn Years of Pension Credit after you have a Vested right to a pension; or
  • If you retire after June 18, 1971, failure to earn Years of Pension Credit because of continuous employment as a carpenter in the following situations will not be counted as Breaks in Service PROVIDED THAT you return to work with an Employer who contributes to the Pension Fund and you earn at least 2 Years of Pension Credit in any 3 consecutive calendar years following such continuous employment (the three-year period cannot be preceded by a Permanent Break in Service):
i)        Outside the jurisdiction of the Locals in the Regional Council; or
ii)      With any Government Agency, Mill or Specialty Shop; or
iii)    As a Superintendent employed by an Employer, by a Specialty Shop, or by a corporation or individual who employs no other carpenters or individuals engaged in doing work of the character falling within the jurisdiction of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; or
iv)   As a full-time instructor, within the jurisdiction of the Regional Council, in a public school, private trade school licensed by the State of Illinois or post-secondary educational institution registered in the State of Illinois, or as an Employee of an Employer, if limited to instructing in the use of that Employer’s products used in the trade, if that instruction is sanctioned by the Regional Council.
  •      Employment with any Union affiliated with the Regional Council or employment with any State, National or International labor organization with which the Regional Council is affiliated; or
  •      Employment as an elected or appointed public official of a municipal, state or national government or subdivision thereof.
Can I Have a Break in Service if I Miss Work Due to Childbirth, Family Illness or Military Service?
There are also other exceptions to the Break in Service rules. The following non-work periods are not counted in determining Breaks in Service: 
  • Childbirth or Adoption. After January 1, 1985, absence from work due to childbirth, adoption, placement for adoption or infant care may not cause a Temporary Break in Service within certain limits.
  • Family and Medical Leave. Any leave of absence granted by an employer, up to 12 weeks, that qualifies under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will not cause a Temporary Break in Service. FMLA allows you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for your serious illness, after the birth or adoption (or placement for adoption) of a child, or to care for your seriously ill spouse, parent or child.
  • Military Service. Periods spent in qualified military service (in accordance with applicable federal law) will not cause a Temporary Break in Service. You must make yourself available for work in Covered Employment within 90 days after discharge or within 90 days after recovery from a service-connected disability in accordance with the terms of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).
How Do I Know Whether I May Be About to Have a Permanent Break in Service?
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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