- Generally, you earn one “Year of Vesting Service” for each calendar year in which you work at least 1600 hours in covered employment.
- You become fully (100%) vested when you have five Years of Vesting Service.
- Once fully vested, your right to your pension benefit cannot be taken away.
Once you have five Years of Vesting Service (without a permanent Break-in-Service) you have earned the right to a pension and are a fully vested participant.
Generally, to earn one year of Vesting Service, you must perform 1600 hours of covered employment in a calendar year. To earn a partial year of Vesting Service, you must be credited with a minimum of 400 hours of covered service in a calendar year. Unless certain circumstances apply, you will have a Break-in-Service if you work less than the required minimum hours in a calendar year. Your Years of Vesting Service are equal to the lesser of:
- the number of actual Years of Participation in the Plan; or
- the number of years and quarters (rounded to the next lower quarter) determined by dividing your total vesting hours of service by 1600.
The chart below shows how Years of Vesting Service are generally credited:
|Number of Hours worked during the Plan Year||Years of vesting Service credited|
|0 – 399||No credits|
|400 – 799||.25 (1 quarter)|
|800 – 1,199||.50 (2 quarters)|
|1,200 – 1,599||.75 (3 quarters)|
|1,600 or more||1.0 (4 quarters)|
EXAMPLE #1 OF YEARS OF VESTING SERVICE CALCULATION
Bob worked 1,658 hours in his first year, 1,702 in his second, 1,697 his third, 565 in his fourth and 1,178 his fifth. This is a total of 6,800 hours in five years. If we divide 6,800 by 1,600, the result is 4.25 Years of Vesting Service. Bob is not yet fully vested.
EXAMPLE #2 OF YEARS OF VESTING SERVICE CALCULATION
Suppose instead, Bob worked 1,658 hours in his first year, 1,702 in his second, 1,697 his third, 1,645 in his fourth and 1,706 his fifth. This is a total of 8,408 hours in five years. If we divide 8,408 by 1,600, the result is 5.25. Because his actual five years of participation is less, he is credited with five Years of Vesting Service. Since he has five Years of Vesting Service, he is fully vested, and his right to receive a Pension when he reaches Normal Retirement Age cannot be taken away.
A Vesting Hour of Service is each hour of employment for which you are paid or entitled to payment for:
- performance of duties in covered employment;
- a period of time during which an employee normally would have been engaged in covered employment, or contiguous non-covered employment, but during which no work was performed due to vacation, holiday, illness, incapacity, layoff, jury duty, military duty or leave of absence, up to a maximum of 501 hours, except that:
- military service is not limited to 501 hours;
- periods during which you received weekly accident and sickness benefits from the Electrical Welfare Trust Fund are limited to a maximum of 40 hours per week limited to thirteen (13) weeks;
- periods during which you received worker’s compensation benefits are limited to a maximum of 40 hours per week limited to thirteen (13) weeks for any one disability; and
- time spent working for a contributing employer in non-covered employment, if that non-covered employment is continuous with (immediately before or after) covered employment with the same employer and no quit, termination, discharge or retirement occurs between such covered employment and noncovered employment.
Hours are credited regardless of whether payment for the Vesting Hour of Service is actually paid by the Employer or some other source. Vesting Hours of Service as set forth above may include certain time periods that are not included when calculating benefit units. Benefit Units are discussed later in this SPD.
Losing or Interrupting Vesting Service
If you suffer a Permanent Break-in-Service before you are 100% vested, you will lose credit for your Years of Vesting Service under the Plan prior to the Permanent Break-in-Service. If you suffer a Temporary (One-Year) Break-in-Service, the amount of your Pension may be affected.
Temporary (One-Year) Break-in-service
You will suffer a Temporary (One-Year) Break-in-Service if you fail to complete at least 400 Vesting Hours of Service in any calendar year. However, this rule will not apply if your failure to complete these hours is due to:
- proven disability up to a maximum of three years;
- absence due to unemployment for any cause for up to two years;
- absence due to unemployment during a period of three consecutive years between January 1, 1991 and December 31, 1994, provided you were available for employment and have been credited with 25 or more Years of Vesting Service prior to Retirement;
- strikes and lockouts;
- military service; or,
- absence due to pregnancy, childbirth, adoption or infant care.
You may also avoid a One-Year Break-in-Service for years before 1988 during which you worked for a union contractor outside the jurisdiction of Local 26 if that work occurred after you were fully vested in this Plan and contributions were made to the other plan in which you did not become fully vested.
You may not add together periods of absence from work due to any of the above reasons with other periods of absence for the same or different reasons, unless the periods are separated by a return to covered employment and you earn at least 400 Vesting Hours of Service in a plan year after you return.
Generally, you will have a Permanent Break-in-Service if at any time before you are 100% vested you incur five consecutive One- Year Breaks-in-Service. However, once you have earned five Years of Vesting Service, or at least five years with at least 1,000 hours of Vesting Service in each year, you cannot suffer a Permanent Break-in-Service.
David begins work in covered employment in 2015 and earns three full Years of Vesting and benefit service. In December of 2018 he leaves to go to California. Unless he returns to covered employment by the end of 2023, and earns at least 400 hours of covered service in 2023, he will suffer a Permanent Break-in-Service.
Qualified Domestic Relation Orders
Even though your right to receive a pension benefit may be 100% fully vested, there are certain circumstances in which your benefits may be split between you and your alternate payee (who could be your spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent) in the event a Qualified Domestic Relations Order is issued by a Court relating to your benefits under this Plan. For more information, please see the section of this SPD entitled “Forms of Payment.”
If you enter qualified military service, as defined in the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), you will not incur a Break-in-Service. USERRA provides reemployment rights and benefits and protection from discrimination if you, either by induction or as a volunteer, have entered military service in any branch of the uniformed forces of the United States. If you satisfy the conditions for protection under USERRA, your period of military service will be treated as hours of service for all purposes under the Plan, including vesting, benefit accrual, and eligibility, in accordance with law. To be entitled to reemployment rights and pension benefits under the USERRA, you must:
- Be absent from covered employment with a participating employer because of your military service;
- Give advance notice of your service to your participating employer, unless notice is prevented by military necessity or otherwise is impossible or unreasonable to give under the circumstances;
- Be absent for military service for five years or less, unless extended service is required as part of your initial period of obligation or your service is involuntarily extended, such as during a war;
- Apply for a job with your participating employer or another participating employer within the requisite time period; and
- Receive an honorable discharge or satisfactorily complete military service.
For periods of military service of less than 31 days or an absence due to a fitness exam, you must report back to covered employment not later than the first regularly scheduled work period on the first day after an eight hour break and after time for travel back home. For periods of service from 31 days to 180 days, you must have reapplied for covered employment within 14 days after military service. For service over 180 days, you must have reapplied within 90 days after completion of service. These limits may be extended under USERRA in particular circumstances.
If you otherwise would qualify for reemployment rights under the law, but you were not reemployed due to your death or disability while performing qualified military service, you will be treated as having returned to covered employment on the day before your death or disability, and then having terminated such Covered Employment on the date of your death or disability, for granting Vesting Service and benefit accruals, to the maximum extent permitted by law.
Contact the Fund Office for more information.