Plan members who have been authorized to go on Leave Without Pay (LWOP) have the option of continuing their coverage under the Plan or opting out for the period of their leave. Plan members going on LWOP who wish to continue their coverage may pay their contributions in advance of their leave or upon their return to work. This is generally done through the member’s personnel office by cheque or money order made payable to the Receiver General for Canada. This also applies to Plan members who work seasonally but wish to continue coverage for themselves and their dependants. Plan members going on LWOP who do not opt out of the PSHCP for the period of LWOP may also pay the required contributions at the end of the leave (repayment can be made in installments over the same duration of their LWOP or by lump sum).
If a member wishes to opt out of the Plan for the entire LWOP period, the member must provide advance notice in writing to Compensation or their personnel office. Coverage will be cancelled the month following the month in which the notice is received by the designated officer, and reinstated the first day of the month following the member’s return to work.
An employee who does not pay their contributions in advance or does not provide notice to opt out of the Plan while on LWOP will be deemed to have chosen to pay all contributions retroactively upon their return to work. Coverage under the PSHCP cannot be cancelled retroactively.
Coverage cannot be modified while the member is on Leave without Pay, except when the Plan Member acquires a new dependant.
Employees are not eligible to join the Plan while on Leave without Pay.
Other restrictions and conditions may apply. Compensation is the best resource for answering questions on the documentation you will need to submit and contributions you will need to pay while taking your leave.
“I’m going on Leave Without Pay so I can travel the world! Can I continue my PSHCP coverage while I’m abroad?”
Comprehensive Coverage while on Leave Without Pay is only available to employees who are:
- Posted abroad (and the LWOP starts when they already have Comprehensive Coverage);
- Serving with an organization outside Canada because the leave has been deemed beneficial to their department or to the Government of Canada; or
- On employer-approved educational leave that has been deemed beneficial to their department or agency.
Plan members who continue their Supplementary Coverage while on Leave Without Pay are covered by the Out-of-Province Benefit, which provides emergency travel assistance and coverage for eligible medical expenses up to $500,000 if emergency treatment is required within 40 days of departure from their province/territory of residence. Beyond 40 days, the Out-of-Province Benefit no longer applies, and Plan members must obtain emergency coverage from another private plan.