Office of the Superintendent - Pension Commission

Joining a Pension Plan


The main objective of The Pension Benefits Act (the act) is to protect employees' rights to the benefits that are promised under private pension plans.  The following are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Manitoba's pension laws.  You should refer to the act for further information on Manitoba's pension laws.  To find out the details of your particular pension plan (the terms of your plan may be more generous than required by the act), you should contact the plan administrator.

NOTE: Descriptions of the various pension plan options and terms discussed in these answers can be found at the bottom of the page.

If I am a full-time employee, when am I required to join my employer's pension plan?

Compulsory membership for full-time employees: When a company has a pension plan for a class of employees, the plan must state the date when full-time employees in that class must become members of the plan.

This date:

  • cannot be more than 30 days after the employee has completed the minimum period of continuous employment required for that class
  • cannot exceed two years of continuous employment

If I am a part-time employee, when am I required to join my employer's pension plan?

Compulsory membership for other employees: When a company has a pension plan for a class of employees, the plan must state the date when part-time employees in that class must become members of the plan. This also applies to employees who would become a part of the class if they were working full-time. This date cannot be more than 30 days after the employee has:

  • completed the minimum period of continuous employment stated in the plan for that class and cannot exceed two years and
  • met other conditions stated in the plan, which must be one of the following:
    • 1. The employee has completed, in each of two consecutive calendar years, not less than the number of work hours stated in the plan and cannot exceed 700 hours.
    • 2. The employee's work has earned, in each of two consecutive calendar years, not less than the percentage of the Year's Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE), specified by the plan. It cannot exceed 35 per cent.
    • 3. The employee has:
      • completed, in each of two consecutive calendar years, not less than the number of work hours stated in the plan and not more than 700 hours or
      • ii.) earned, in each of two consecutive calendar years, not less than the percentage of the YMPE stated in the plan and not more than 35 percent

For example:

Jane started working part-time for a new employer two years ago. She worked 750 hours per year, earning $7,500 in each year. Under the company's pension plan, an employee must join after completing two years of continuous employment and working at least 700 hours in each year. She is eligible to join immediately.

Who is exempt from becoming a member of a company pension plan?

A pension plan may exempt several groups, but must allow them to join the plan voluntarily, if they meet eligibility requirements.

  • Students who are attending a recognized educational institution on a substantially full-time basis.
  • Employees hired before January 1, 1984, or before the pension plan was set up, whichever is later.
  • Members of religious groups whose articles of faith don?t allow them to join a pension plan.
  • Plan members receiving a pension income, who return to work for the same employer, or for another employer who is covered by the same pension plan.

Can a company allow me to join a plan before the date allowed under the legislation?

Yes, the requirements for joining a pension plan are legislative minimums, but a plan may allow employees to join earlier.

If my employer has no pension plan, does the new legislation mean one must be set up now?

No, this legislation only applies to an employer who already has a pension plan in place.

For information on joining your pension plan, contact your plan administrator.

If you have more questions about the act or regulations, contact the Office of Superintendent - Pension Commission at (204) 945-2740 in Winnipeg; 1-800-282-8069, extension 2740 toll free; or go to www.gov.mb.ca/labour/pension.

Definitions

Year's Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE) is the term used to refer to employment earnings on which the Canada Pension Plan contributions and benefits are calculated.

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