NR GROUP QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON SEVERANCE PAY
Severance has changed in the new collective agreement! While there are many FAQ related to severance since 2011, there are specific questions related to consequences of payments options with regards to terminable allowance. If you don’t have a copy of the collective agreement that expires on 30 September 2014, use this one:
Q1: How is the number of weeks regarding years of service calculated?
A1: The Severance (article 19) clause speaks to continuous employment, and is often confused with continuous service :
- Continuous employment: means one or more periods of service, as defined in the Public Service Superannuation Act with allowable breaks only as provided for in the terms and conditions of employment applicable to the employee [i.e. the collective agreement].
- Continuous service: means an unbroken period of Public service employment. Continuous service is broken when employment ceases between 2 periods of Public Service employment for at least one compensation day.
Admissibility of any prior periods of term, casual or indeterminate public service employment (in any classification) and military or RCMP service, and the allowable breaks, in the determination of continuous employment (not the same as service) are defined in www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=15772§ion=text#secA.5 .
Periods of part time employment are calculated as per article 40.13.
Special working arrangements (pre-retirement and income averaging leave) counts as full time employment see: www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?section=text&id=15774
If in doubt, contact your pay office for explanations / corrections. If you still disagree, contact a PIPSC steward for recourse.
Q2: Does severance calculation include maternity leave, medical leave and bought back time?
A2: Yes and NO.
Yes: all leave with pay; leave without pay for 3 months or less; maternity leave; and, parental leave are specifically included in continuous employment as specified in the articles 14.06, 17.03(g), and 17.06(g) of the collective agreement. Except for illness, any leave without pay longer than 3 months is excluded as per article 14.06.
NO: bought back time is not employment in public service and does not count. Military service is addressed in A1 above.
Q3: How the rate of pay is determined?
A3: The annual rates of pay are negotiated and found in Appendix A of the collective agreement in effect at the time of any payment. Rates of pay never include any allowance. For a description of the 2011 settlement refer to www.pipsc.ca/portal/page/portal/website/groups/nr-eals/pdfs/nrdetails.en.pdf
Q4: How the weekly rate of pay is determined?
A4: As defined in clause 2.01 of the collective agreement, The weekly rate of pay is the annual rate of pay divided by 52.176. For payment option 19.06(b) the rate of pay will be the one applicable at the time of leaving the public service. For cash-out, option 19.06(a) and (c), the rate of pay on 25 January 2012 is found on line A of the appropriate table in Appendix A of the collective agreement that expires on 30 September 2014.
Q5: Are there different rules for protecting severance pay from taxation when you retire vs taking it now?
A5: Other FAQ speaks of deferring the severance payment until retirement, to benefit from a special RRSP contribution, which is not affected by your RRSP cap, see Income Tax Interpretation Bulletin IT-337R4 on severance (Retiring Allowances)
Q6: If a NR member is considering leaving the public service after 1 October 2012, will there be a significant increase in the value of severance?
A6: Yes, if a NR member leaves his severance in place and then resigns or retires after 1 October, 2012, the payout on retirement would reflect the 100% roll in of TA. Remember that the change of severance negotiated under this new collective agreement refers only to severance on voluntary leave or retirement, but does not affect the severance pay out on death or lay-off.
Q7: What happens if an NR member is laid off after 1 October, 2012?
A7: Should a NR member be laid-off after 1 October 2012, the number of weeks used to calculate severance will be reduced by the number of weeks cash-out at the lower pay rate of 25 January 2012 if the member has exercised option 19.06(a) or (c). Remember that the change of severance negotiated under this new collective agreement refers only to severance on voluntary leave or retirement, but does not affect the severance pay out on death or lay-off.
Q8: How does cashing in severance now affect my chances of future alternation?
A8: No impact.
Q9: If Al, an unaffected employee with 25 years, alternates with Ben, an opting employee with 16 years, and takes the TSM. Does Ben have 25 years worth of severance credited for future use?
A9: They switch “positions” so Ben becomes unaffected and Al receives 52 weeks of transition and 25 weeks of severance because resignation is considered laid-off for the purpose of severance. Ben continuous employment for severance is unchanged, that is, if Ben is laid-off 7 years later, 26 weeks of severance or if retiring 7 years later, 16 weeks of payout. In both of these examples the number of weeks is reduced by any numbers of weeks paid under option 19.06(a) or (c) at the 25 January 2012 weekly rate of pay as per A7 above.