Pension & Benefits Employment Events

 

ELCIC Group Services Inc. (GSI) has created a complete pension and benefits package for all eligible employees of any ELCIC congregation or connected ELCIC organization.  The plan documents are on this website if you would like to review the coverages.

KEEP US INFORMED

It is very important that you communicate all your personnel decisions and changes to GSI on a timely basis to ensure continuous and accurate coverage for your employees and compliance with policy contracts and legislation.  It may be prudent to consult with GSI prior to finalizing decisions to avoid expensive mistakes or undue risks of liability.

Definitions

Employee Definitions

Rostered Employees

Rostered Employees refers to an ordained minister or consecrated diaconal minister on the ELCIC Roster or on the Roster of a church which is a full communion partner of ELCIC. Sometimes generally referred to as Clergy.

Non-Rostered Employes

Non-Rostered employees includes all other employees, specifically not considered Clergy.

Employer Eligibility

This document describes the various employers that participate in the ELCIC group plans and lists the agreements that are required for joining.

Salary Definitions

Definition of “Salary Basis”

The Salary Basis Calculation form will determine the Salary that will be used for monthly pension and benefit remittances.  Salary means:

A. gross earnings paid

B. additonal earnings such as overtime, bonuses and vacation pay

C. housing equity paid or housing allowance paid (if applicable)

D. sum of A+B+C = ELCIC Benefits Insurable Earnings

E. fair rental value of the residence, where a parsonage is provided to the employee

F. sum of D+E = ELCIC Pensionable Earnings

Please note that Salary does not include severance pay. The ELCIC Pension Plan expressly disallows pension contributions on severence pay and the insurance companies providing the benefits do not allow those benefits to be extended during the severence period (except as required by employment legislation).

Subsequent to meeting eligibility and enrolling in the Pension Plan, salary also includes compensation from interim positions, vacation relief, pulpit supply stipends etc.

Schedule of Canada Pension Plan Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings (“YMPE”)

The following schedule will be used to calculate eligibility.

Year
YMPE
25% of YMPE
Monthly Eligibility
2019
$57,400
$14,350
$1,196
2018
$55,900
$13,975
$1,165

Contributions & Premiums

Pension Plan Contributions

Member Contribution to Pension  7% of Salary

Employer Contribution to Pension on Behalf of Member 8% of Salary

Member Voluntary Contributions to Pension The ELCIC Pension Plan, in accordance with the maximum contributions allowed by CRA, can receive, by payroll deduction, a total yearly contribution of 18% of an employee’s salary.  Voluntary employee contributions must also be in accordance with CRA’s guidelines for Pension Plan/RRSP contributions. It is each member’s responsibility to ensure that all extra contributions to a pension plan or RRSP are within their personal limits.

Contribution Maximum Contributions are limited to 18% of a member’s salary to a maximum as follows:

Year

Maximum

2019
$27,230
2018
$26,500

Group Benefit Premium Payments

Employers pay 100% of the premiums for the group benefits plan. Members only pay optional life premiums if they have selected this coverage.  Please note that there is no partial health and dental benefits plan for employees that work less than full time, therefore the full premium is still required.

The insurance benefit includes life, dependent life, accidental death and dismemberment, disability and the employee and family assistance plan. Extended health, travel and dental premiums vary by jurisdiction and differ depending on the age of the member whether over or under age 65. Premium rates come into effect on January 1st of each year.  Premium Rates Chart

Invoicing & Pre-Authorized Debit

GSI prepares a monthly invoice (around the second last Tuesday of the month) for pension contributions, benefit premiums and CEP contributions based on the enrollment and the salary of each employee in the congregation.

Invoices should be reviewed carefully to ensure that all the information is correct.

Pre-Authorized Debit

GSI will automatically debit the congregation/employer’s bank account for the invoiced amount. Whether the invoice is the same every month or if there are fluctuating salaries, GSI can debit the exact amount of the unique monthly invoice.  To take advantage of a pre-authorized monthly electronic funds transfer (EFT) for your pension and benefits remittances, please fill out this form and return to it to our office.

Adjustments

Adjustments typically arise for employees that are paid hourly where the hours change each pay period. Changes to the monthly invoice can also occur when there are partial months for new or terminating employees, for retro pay or bonus or vacation payouts.

Please e-mail the monthly salary to invoices@elcicgsi.ca for fluctuating or partial months before the 20th of the month. If the information is not yet available or you notice other changes that need to be made after you review the invoice, please advise us before the 14th of the following month and GSI will revise the invoice and resend it to you.

Payment

Payment is due on the 15th of the month following the invoice date. If the congregation/employer has signed up for pre-authorized debit, it will occurs on the 15th or following business day. If payment is made by physical cheque, please return page 1 and 2 with your cheque by the 15th.

First and last payment

Pension contributions and  life /disability bundled benefit premiums are based on the actual salary for the month (full or partial). 

Dental and Health  premiums payment policy is:

First payment Enrollment Date Payment Required
1st of month Full monthly payment
After 1st of month No payment for that month, full payment in month following
Final payment Termination date Payment required
Any day of the month Full monthly payment

Please note that Manulife requires that premiums be submitted on the above noted basis as they will not accept pro-rated premiums for a partial month worked.  However, benefits coverage starts on the enrollment date and ends on the termination date.

New Employee

Employee Eligibility & Enrollment Dates

Eligibility for enrollment in the pension and benefits plans is described in the table below. Please note that once an employee meets eligibility, enrollment is mandatory.  In some circumstance the employee may waive their enrollment as described after the eligibility table.

Employee Classification 
Pension Plan Eligibility Criteria
Pension Plan Date of Enrollment
 
Group Benefits Plan Eligibility Criteria
Group Benefits Plan Date of Enrollment
Rostered
25% of YMPE*
date of hire
25% of YMPE*
date of hire
Non-Rostered
25% of YMPE*
2017 - date of hire (previously the rule was 90 days from date of hire)
25% of YMPE* and working at least 20 hours on average each week
2017 - date of hire (previously the rule was 90 days from date of hire)

*YMPE – Years Maximum Pensionable Earnings as found here on the Canada Revenue website with respect to Canada Pension Plan contributions.

Waiving Enrollment

Pension Plan enrollment may be waived by a Non-Rostered employee (except if residing in Manitoba) if eligibility requirements are met, but the employee is working on average less than 30 hours per week. A waiver form must be signed and the employer must ensure that an eligible employee, who has waived joining the pension plan is notified of their eligibility at least annually. Health and dental coverage may be waived if the employee is covered under their spouse’s employer sponsored health and dental plan.  In this case, proof of coverage in a spousal plan (i.e. letter from spouse’s employer) is required in order to waive coverage. These are the only situations where enrollment may be waived and otherwise if eligibility is met, enrollment is mandatory.

Transfer Between Employers and Maintaining Elgibility

Pension Plan

There is no minimum salary or other criteria to maintain membership in the pension plan once an employee has an ELCIC pension plan account. Pension contributions should be made from any and all participating employers.

Benefits Plan

Eligibility must be met and maintained to continue benefits coverage in any ongoing position and for each new employer or second employer if members are employed by two or more employers.

Completing Forms

The following forms can be found on the Forms and Worksheets page of this website.

Pension and Benefits Eligibility Form – page 1 should be completed by the treasurer (or other authorized signer) for all new employees and then given to the employee to complete page 2. The Salary Basis Calculation Form should also be completed. Enrollment forms need to be completed by the employee and signed by the treasurer (or other authorized signer).  These include: Pension Plan Enrollment Group Benefits Plan Enrollment, and Continuing Education Plan Enrollment.

New to Canada

If your employee is new to Canada, basically, everything above in this section applies with a couple of twists as follows. The extended health plan is a second payer to the government health program, therefore make sure your employee applies for provincial health coverage first and the ELCIC plan will begin when the provincial coverage becomes effective (typically 3 months after arrival).  All other benefits will start immediately.  If your employee has a spouse and/or child(ren), coverage for them will begin once the employee is enrolled and they are living in Canada as well.   Contributions to the pension plan can begin as soon as the employee has a social insurance number.

Late Entry

Employees must join the pension and group benefits plans from the date of eligibility.  It is important to enroll and submit all the documentation of enrollment on a timely basis, as soon as eligible. If for some reason an employee is missed, pension contributions back to date of eligibility must be made until the employee is ‘caught up’ to where they would have been had they enrolled at date of eligibility.  These contributions are subject to the annual maximum of 18%.  Premiums for benefits also must be submitted back to date of eligibility for all late enrollments.

Employee's Personal Life Events

Getting Married

If your employee gets married (or becomes common-law) please ask them to complete and submit a change in marital status form (found on forms and worksheets page). The insurance carriers require that employees enroll in their ‘true’ family status.  Therefore any employee on the health and dental plan will have to change from single to family coverage.  If their spouse is also working and has a dental and health plan, then they can choose to coordinate coverage and be in enrolled in both plans or to waive one plan.  Please ensure your employee advises you of this choice and that you have notified GSI so that that premiums can be adjusted and any claims are processed correctly. The employee is also entitled to dependent life insurance and this will affect your taxable benefit calculation. If the spouse’s benefits subsequently change, the above choices will have to be revisited and enrollment information may have to be updated.

Reaching Age 65

If your employee continues to work past age 65 you should be aware of the following:

  • health and dental benefits will continue (without travel coverage) and the premium rates will change due to a new experience category and coordination with provincial health care changes
  • life insurance, accidental death & dismemberment and the short and long term disability benefits package ends; full premium is required in the birthdate month and then premiums cease
  • the employee has the choice to continue making pension contributions while working until age 71, and if the employee chooses to continue to contribute then the employer must make the corresponding contribution.

Death of Employee or Someone in Their Family

Employee

Please notify GSI and we will communicate with their executor or beneficiaries.

Family member of employee

Please advise your employee to contact GSI in order to update and process any requirements, such as:  claims to make, a change in premiums and/or benefit coverage and/or a change to dependent or beneficiary information. Please refer to the salary guidelines (on your synod’s website) to determine time frames and compensation for employee bereavement leaves.

Leaves

Maternity and/or Parental Leave on or after January 1, 2017

Supplemental income will be provided to plan members who are receiving employment insurance for maternity and/or parental benefits as per the Parental Leave Policy approved by National Church Council (latest revision Sept 2018)

The process is as follows:

  • employer will provide GSI with documents confirming employee approved for employment insurance
  • employer will pay employee the supplemental pay benefit as per policy
  • employer will submit a reimbursement request each month to GSI for the supplemental pay

i.e. the employee will remain on the payroll of the congregation and will receive a T4 from the congregation/employer. Please note that EI is not required on these earnings, but CPP and income tax with holding are required.

Here is a table that indicates the salary, pension and benefits responsibilities.

TimelineSalaryPension ContributionsLife & Disability PremiumsDental & Health Premiums
waiting
for employment insurance (EI)
employer pays 85%* of pre-leave salary7% member
8% employer
of new salary
employer pays on pre-leave salaryemployer pays
maternity leaveEI pays 55%at member option
employer pays 30% over 12 months or 20% over 18 months coinciding with EI option selected*7% member
8% employer
of new salary
employer pays on pre-leave salaryemployer pays
parental leaveEI pays 55%at member option
employer pays 30% over 12 months or 20% over 18 months coinciding with EI option selected*7% member
8% employer
of new salary
employer pays on pre-leave salaryemployer pays

* this is the amount that will be reimbursed by GSI.

Employee Sick Days

ELCIC Sick Leave Policy – as of January 1, 2017

This policy is provided for employees to better manage their health and wellness.

Paid sick days are provided when an employee is ill or injured, needs to attend to a close personal relation/family member or for time off for necessary or routine health care.

Full-time employees are entitled to have 18 sick days each year (pro-rated for employees joining part way through the year). Part-time employees earn sick days on a pro-rated basis related to their regular hours of work.

Sick days are paid to a maximum of two weeks (10 working days, which include working Sundays) per event at which time a claim must be made to the short term disability plan.

If the employee is not a member of the short term disability plan, sick days continue to be paid to the maximum accrued, subject to medical verification as determined by the employer/congregation.

Employees who have used fewer than ten sick days in the previous fiscal year are entitled to two personal days in the current fiscal year (which will count as sick days in the current fiscal year).

Unused sick days may be carried over for a maximum accumulation of 28 days. Any unused sick days or personal days will not be paid out at a fiscal yearend or on termination, including retirement or acceptance of a new call.

With respect to sick days used for illness or injury the employer/congregation can in its sole discretion require that an employee provide a physician’s statement to verify the nature of the illness and the employee’s prognosis, and to determine if any reasonable accommodation is required so the employee can return to work.

Employee Becomes Disabled

The STD program aims to create an environment of wellness and engagement through awareness and acceptance of any health challenges. The program also aims to support health and wellness promotion and to have excellent attendance and engagement. If the date of disability was prior to October 1, 2018, please contact the GSI office.  

The ELCIC Group Benefits Plan provides both short-term disability and long-term disability benefits to plan members with supported claims.   

We invite you to refer to the Short-term Disability Policy plan document for detailed information on the terms and conditions of the plan.  

As well, you may download the Short-term Disability Employer Guide for an overview of your role and tools for managing the absence. 

Waiting period – two weeks 

When your employee becomes ill, disabled or requires time off for surgery, the first two weeks are managed in accordance with the ELCIC Sick Leave Policy. (see the previous tab) 

When it becomes apparent that your employee will be unable to return to work after two weeks from the initial absence, please notify GSI immediately. 

Short Term Disability – next 15 weeks 

Process and Forms 

Once you (the congregation/employer) have advised GSI of your employee’s prolonged absence, both you and your employee will be contacted by Windley Ely, an independent disability management firm.  Windley Ely will explain the STD program and answer your questions. They will also get preliminary information about the claim and provide you with any forms that will need to be completed. Your completed forms should be submitted directly to Windley Ely. 

Payment and Funding of STD Benefit Amount 

At the end of the two week waiting period, the congregation/employer should suspend payroll until the claim is approved.  

Upon notice of approval, the congregation/employer will be responsible to pay the employee the disability benefit amount, which is calculated as 70% of their Salary Basis (salary & housing allowance). Please continue your regular payroll process to make the required statutory withholdings and remittances on the new amount. GSI will reimburse the congregation/employer for the STD benefit amount. GSI will require a copy of the payroll register or pay stub with the pay period clearly indicated to process the reimbursement. 

If the claim is not approved and the employee returns to work, resume normal payroll. 

Note that the employee may appeal the claim or it may take more time to obtain all the supporting documentation. Please contact GSI to discuss payroll requirements during this time. 

Pension and Benefits 

The employee 7% pension contribution (on the disability benefit amount) must be withheld and remitted to GSI together with the congregation/employer 8% pension contribution. GSI will adjust your invoice accordingly. 

You (the congregation/employer) will continue to be responsible for the ELCIC Group Benefit Plan premiums during the short-term disability period based on the pre-disability Salary Basis, which will appear on your monthly invoice. 

Note that pension contributions and benefit premiums are not insured and will not be reimbursed during the STD period. 

Additional Income to Employees while in receipt of Short-Term Disability payments  

The congregation/employer is permitted to pay their employee up to 100% of their pre-disability salary, however only 70% of the pre-disability salary will be reimbursed by GSI.  

Pension contributions are required on the amount of actual salary paid and GSI should be advised of the actual amount in order to invoice correctly. The congregation/employer is already remitting all benefits premiums based on the pre-disability Salary Basis during the short-term period, so any additional amount does not change that. 

Please note: Any pay above 70% while an employee is approved for STD is completely at the discretion of the congregation/employer.  

Additional income during the Long-Term Disability period is not permitted. 

Long-Term Disability – 17 weeks and beyond 

If the employee continues to be sick or disabled after 17 weeks, Windley Ely will assist in transitioning the case to long-term disability with The Co-operators. Transition steps will begin several weeks ahead of STD ending. 

Salary amounts, pension contributions and benefit premiums are not required from the congregation/employer during the long-term disability period. The Co-operators and GSI will continue to communicate with you should your employee be able to return to work or participate in a rehabilitation program. 

Statutory or Other Leaves

When an employee is on a leave of absence, there are certain requirements for maintaining benefits that are dictated by federal or provincial legislation or specified in the ELCIC pension Plan Text or benefits contracts.  For easy reference, the following chart summarizes those requirements.  Please advise GSI of any leaves.

Pension and Benefits during Periods of Leave

Type of Employment LeaveSalaryPensionLife, AD&D, LTD
and EFAP
Opt. LifeDental and Health
Statutory LeaveEmployment insurance and possible employer payusual contributions on any employer paycontinues in
usual manner based on pre-leave salary
continues in
usual manner
continues in
usual manner
Paid leave (must have specified return to work date)employer paidcontinues in
usual manner
continues in
usual manner
continues in
usual manner
continues in
usual manner
Unpaid leave
with a specified return to work date
no salary
but still an
employee
nonebenefits may continue if premiums are paid on pre-leave salary (by agreement of employer and employee)if basic life continues then the employee provides
post dated
cheques to employer
benefits may continue if premiums are paid (by agreement of employer and employee)
On leave from call or unpaid leave
with no return to work date
nonenonenonenonenone

Terminations

Notification and Date

Notification

We would greatly appreciate being advised in advance of the employee’s termination date.  If we are notified of a salary change prior to creating invoices we can make adjustments to send out a correct final invoice.

The sooner final contributions are received the quicker the termination process can proceed.

Termination Date

The first step is to determine the employee’s termination date.

  • If no vacation owing, termination date is the last day worked.
  • If vacation is owing, the termination date is the date that the vacation pay is paid to (ie. last day worked is May 15 vacation paid to May 31 therefore termination date is May 31).

Benefits Premiums

Group benefits cannot be extended into a severance period.

Final Premiums

A full month’s premiums for dental and health are due in the final month regardless of the termination date.  However, please note that benefits for the employee end at midnight on the termination date. The bundled life and disability benefit premium is based on the actual salary in the final month; please notify GSI as soon as this is known so we can produce an accurate invoice.

Health and dental benefit

The employee will have 90 days to submit any claims incurred on or prior to the last day.  GSI will forward a brochure to the employee from Manulife for individual health coverage, in case there is interest in converting to such a plan.  The employee  may apply for an individual plan with Manulife within 120 days of termination.  Manulife’s ‘Follow Me’ plan offers guaranteed acceptance, while ‘Flexcare’ offers additional benefits, but requires a medical questionnaire.   This information will be provided to the employee automatically when GSI is advised of a termination, however information may also be found on the Manulife website.

Life insurance benefit

The employee will have 31 days from the date that the life insurance coverage terminates to exercise the conversion privilege to an individual policy with Co-Operators.  To accomplish this, the employee must contact a local Co-Operators office to arrange for an agent to get in touch.  The website is:  www.cooperators.ca, click on “Find an Agent”.  The employee can request a statement from GSI indicated the amount of coverage that can be converted.  To convert the life insurance the member must be enrolled in the life insurance for five continuous years.

Pension Contributions

The calculation for pension contributions on the final pay includes:

  • Actual regular salary paid (if terminated mid month the pro-rated amount applies)
  • plus housing (FMV) and housing equity or housing allowance is applicable,
  • and vacation pay.

NOTE:  Pension contributions are NOT paid on any severance

Contributions to the termination date must be received before we can provide members with information regarding their pension account.

Other Resources

Health and Wellness

The following resources are available to ELCIC Treasurers; use at your discretion. The Mental Health Commission of Canada has published Psychological Health and Safety An Action Guide for Employers. Shepell~fgi has published Addiction in the workplace guide An Employers Guide.