Employment Benefits

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The employment benefits available to Members are similar to those for government employees. This section contains information on the various benefit plans.

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For more information related to MLA benefit plans, contact Payroll Services at 250-387-0793.

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Health Benefits

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Below is a summary of the health benefits available to Members. For further details, please contact Payroll Services or access the Public Service Benefits webpage at www.bcpublicservice.ca/benefits/.

Medical Services Plan (MSP) –This is considered a taxable benefit. Coverage is effective the first of the month following the date a Member is elected. The amount of taxable benefit is based on the coverage required. Effective January 1, 2017, monthly rates are $75.00 per adult.

Extended Health and Dental Care (Great-West Life Assurance Company) – There is no additional cost to the Member for this. The benefit is available the first of the month following the date of a Member being elected.

Optional Spouse and Dependent Life Insurance – The premium for this is $2.15 per month (rate is subject to change) regardless of the number of dependents. Members must enroll within 90 days from the date a Member is elected or when their dependent status changes.


Medical Services Plan

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All residents of B.C. must be covered under the Medical Services Plan (MSP). If you are already enrolled with MSP, duplicate coverage will mean an unnecessary tax expense to you, and extra costs to the Assembly. The information below summarizes the plan for new applicants.

MSP pays for medically required services of physicians and surgeons and for dental or oral surgery when medically required to be performed in a hospital. MSP also provides coverage for other health benefits.

Participation in MSP is effective the first day of the month following application. As long as premiums have been paid, coverage is extended 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Premiums

Financial Services will pay the full premiums for this taxable benefit for eligible Members, except during any leave without pay. Effective January 1, 2017, monthly premiums are $75.00 per adult.

BC Service Card

With the phase out of the BC CareCard, each BC resident enrolled with the Medical Services Plan (MSP) is eligible for a BC Service Card with a unique personal health number for presenting whenever they need health care services. Eligible BC residents, excluding beneficiaries over the age 75 or under 19 years of age, will be required to renew enrolment in the Medical Services Plan (MSP) before 2018. Members can renew enrolment, and obtain either a BC Service Card, or a combined BC Driver’s Licence and Service Card, at the nearest driver licensing office.

Claims

Most physicians in other Canadian provinces (except Quebec) and territories will bill their own medical plan directly for services provided that a Member presents a valid BC CareCard/BC Service Card.

When travelling in Quebec or outside Canada, a Member will be required to pay for insured services and seek reimbursement later from MSP. These claims must be submitted within six months of the date of receiving a service.

For complete protection while travelling in Quebec or outside Canada, additional medical insurance should be purchased from a private insurance company.

Changing Medical Services Plan Coverage

An MSP Group Change Request form is available from Payroll Services. This form should be used for a change in name or address, and to add, remove or change/correct information for a spouse or a child who no longer meets the definition of dependent.

Cancelling Medical Services Plan Coverage

To cancel group medical coverage, or that of a spouse or any dependents, please advise Payroll Services in writing of:

  • The request for cancellation, and
  • The effective date for cancellation.

Terminating Medical Services Plan Coverage

Group coverage ends:

  • At the end of the month in which an Members employment ends; or
  • At the end of the month when an Member ends coverage by request; or
  • If a Member hasn't received a salary from Payroll Services during a calendar month and fails to pay a premium during this time.

Payroll Services cancels coverage on resignation or departure of a Member. MSP will bill the Member directly when they receive the cancellation notice.


Extended Health and Dental Care

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The extended health care plan is designed to partially reimburse specified medical expenses or services not covered by MSP, Pharmacare, or the Hospital Insurance Plan. The dental care plan is designed to cover basic dentistry or the services that are routinely available in the office of a general practicing dentist and are necessary to maintain or restore teeth. Some deductibles, restrictions, and maximums may apply to both plans.

Coverage under this plan is optional and a Member may apply for coverage at any time. To enroll, complete and return the benefits enrollment form to Payroll Services for certification and processing. Coverage begins on the first day of the month after registering for the benefit plan.

Once coverage begins, an identification card will be sent to the address listed on the enrolment form.

EXTENDED HEALTH AND DENTAL PLAN - OVERVIEW

The extended health and dental plan provides coverage designed to partially reimburse for services not covered by the provincial MSP or Pharmacare, such as prescription drugs, paramedical services (e.g. physiotherapist), dental services, and vision care. The plan is provided by the Great-West Life Assurance Company.

Premiums

Financial Services will pay the full cost for this benefit for eligible Members, except during any leave without pay, or suspension in excess of one calendar month.

This is currently a non-taxable benefit.

Dental Benefit Coverage Details

The dental care plan covers basic dentistry, or those services that are routinely available in the office of a general practicing dentist and are necessary to maintain or restore teeth.

Services performed outside the area of basic dentistry are not covered. Any questions in this regard should be directed to the dentist or the Great-West Life Assurance Company.

An identification card will show the limit of the coverage under this plan. The plan will pay the percentage shown on the identification card and is calculated according to the carrier's fee schedule or the practitioner's usual and customary fee, whichever is less.

A dentist may charge more for services than the amount set in the governing schedule of fees. A Member should confirm the amount payable under this plan before dental services are performed. Please note that Members are responsible for any financial liability resulting from services performed which are not covered or exceed the costs covered by the plan.

Changing Coverage

An employee Enrolment/Change/Termination form is available from Payroll Services. The form should be used to add or delete a dependent or a spouse, or to change a name, and be returned to Payroll Services. Also, be sure to submit an employee Enrolment/Change/Termination form to delete a former spouse or an applicable dependent who no longer meets the definition of dependent. A new card will be mailed to the Member’s home address confirming the change in status.

Dual Enrolment

Dual enrolment is not permitted to two spouses or dependents covered under the Public Service Benefit Plan Act whether active employees or pensioners. Only one reimbursement may be claimed for eligible dental services.

Cancelling Coverage

To cancel extended health and dental coverage, or that of a spouse or any dependents, submit an Enrolment/Change/Termination form indicating the effective date of cancellation to Payroll Services.

Terminating Coverage

Coverage ends:

  • When a Member ends coverage by request; or
  • The day in which a Members employment ends; or
  • At the end of the month of a Members retirement.

Converting to a Private Policy on Termination

Upon termination of extended health and dental coverage with Payroll Services, a Member may convert to a private policy with the Great-West Life Assurance Company. The conversion process means that the general pre-existing conditions provision and the extended health and dental waiting periods will be waived. To convert coverage, a Member must apply and pay for coverage within 60 days of termination of extended health and dental coverage with Payroll Services.

Please note that the benefits available and the cost of these benefits under a private policy are not the same as the benefits provided with Payroll Services.

Change of Address

A change of address reported to Payroll Services will be forwarded to the Great-West Life Assurance Company.


Optional Health and Dental Benefits - Dependents

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Benefits available to a Member can be extended to:

  • A married or common-law spouse (same or opposite sex) who is living with a Member
  • An unmarried child, stepchild, adopted child or legal ward, mainly supported by a Member, who is dependent for income tax purposes, and who is
    • Under 19, or
    • Under 25 and in full-time attendance at a school, university or vocational institution which provides a recognized diploma, certificate or degree
  • A dependent child of any age who, because of mental or physical infirmity, is accepted as a dependent for income tax purposes (does not apply to MSP)

To be eligible for MSP coverage, in addition to the criteria above, a spouse and dependents must be residents of British Columbia and must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents (landed immigrants), or temporary document holders.

If a spouse is an employee or pensioner covered under the provincial benefit plan provided under the Public Service Benefit Plan Act, only one enrolment is registered in the plan for extended health and dental care, and Medical Services Plan. Please contact Payroll Services for more information.

Adding Dependents

Should an eligible dependent be added after initial registration in a plan, coverage begins on the first day of the month following the one in which that dependent is registered with the carrier. Coverage for a newborn child is effective from the date of birth.

For dependents such as a legal ward or adopted child, a photocopy of court papers or legal documents must be attached to the Enrolment/Change/Termination form.

Cancelling Dependents

The Great-West Life Assurance Company and MSP automatically cancel coverage on the first of the month following a dependent’s 19th birthday. Coverage can be extended to age 25 for dependents who are full-time students by completing and submitting an Enrolment/Change/Termination form to Payroll Services. A letter will then be sent out every August from the carrier requesting confirmation of the dependent’s full-time attendance in school until the dependent has turned 25 years old.

A Member is responsible for cancelling dependent coverage by submitting an Enrolment/Change/Termination form to Payroll Services, for children who are no longer eligible for coverage as dependents when they:

  • Are no longer supported by you and are no longer a dependent for income tax purposes; or
  • Start full-time employment; or
  • Marry or live common-law.

Please note that in the event that a Members family is no longer residing together, benefit coverage would not be continued for a former spouse or any dependents who no longer reside with the Member. Any obligations under separation or divorce arrangements are the responsibility of the Member.

Common-Law Spouses (same or opposite sex)

Coverage of a common-law spouse (same or opposite sex) and any eligible dependents is effective on the date when a Member's coverage is effective, or the first of the month following the date the Enrolment/Change/Termination form is registered with the carrier, whichever is later, if:

  • A Member signs a declaration that he or she is living in a common-law relationship; or
  • A Member and his or her common-law spouse have been cohabitating at least 12 months before the coverage is effective; or
  • A Member and his or her common-law spouse have been cohabitating less than 12 months prior to the effective date and the Member has claimed the common-law spouse's children for income tax purposes.

Once a common-law spouse has been enrolled in the benefit plan, a different common-law spouse and any eligible dependents may be enrolled in the plan 12 months after coverage is cancelled for the previous common-law spouse and applicable dependents.


Counselling Services

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The Legislative Assembly offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This service is also available to Members and their dependents seeking confidential, professional assistance to help resolve problems that affect their personal lives and, in some cases, their job performance.

The number to call for an appointment with an EAP counsellor is: 1-800-655-5004.

After your concern has been discussed with the counsellor, he/she will recommend the actions and services that can help you most. The number of counselling sessions covered under EAP will be determined by professional assessment.

For more information, please contact the Director, Human Resource Operations at 250-387-0237.


Members' Benefits

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Below is a summary of the mandatory benefit plans available to Members. Enrolment is compulsory.


MLA Pension Plan

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Legislative changes to the Members' Remuneration and Pensions Act in 2007 authorize a defined-benefit pension plan for Members. Every Member under age 71 is required to participate in the plan, which contains the following key provisions:

  • Contributions are fixed at 11% of a Member's pensionable earnings (basic compensation and any additional salary earned). The amount of government contributions is determined by the public service board. All contributions are held and administered by the BC Pension Corporation on behalf of the Legislative Assembly.
  • The amount of the annual pension is based on a benefit accrual rate of 3.5% of the highest 3-year average annual pensionable earnings. The maximum pension a Member may receive is 70% of these earnings.
  • A Member is not entitled to a pension unless he or she has served in the Legislature for at least six years, including the years the Member served immediately prior to the introduction of this plan (April 2007).
  • A Member receives an unreduced pension at age 65, with the option for a retired Member to take a reduced pension between the ages of 60 and 65 (3% reduction for each year pension payments commence before a Member's 65th birthday).
  • The normal form of pension for a Member with a spouse at retirement is joint life, with the pension payable to the surviving spouse reduced to 60% on the Member's death. For a Member without a spouse at retirement, the pension is normally for life.

On termination, Members will be eligible for the following options:

Age at time of termination Under six years of
Legislative Service
Six or more years of Legislative Service (vested)

Under 60

Refund of contributions with interest

No refund of contributions option.
Locked-in commuted value or deferred pension (the deferred pension is payable no earlier than age 60 and is reduced if it commences before age 65).

60,
but under 65

Refund of contributions with interest

No locked-in commuted value or refund of contributions. Immediate or deferred pension. The deferred pension is payable no earlier than age 60 and is reduced if it commences before age 65.

65,
but under latest retirement age of 71

Refund of contributions with interest

Immediate unreduced pension or pension can be delayed until the end of the year of reaching latest retirement age of 71. No locked-in commuted value or refund of contributions.


Long Term Disability (LTD) Plan

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The group benefit plan is funded by the Province and administered by Great-West Life. It provides a Member with regular income to replace income lost because of a lengthy disability due to disease or injury.

Waiting period

A minimum of 6 months after becoming disabled, unless the disability begins within the last 6 months of a Parliament, in which case the benefits will begin on the date of the election for the next Parliament.

Benefit Amount

70% of monthly basic compensation plus 25% of monthly additional salary.

Because the Province of BC funds the cost of LTD coverage, the benefit is taxable.

Commencement of Coverage

You are eligible to participate in the plan on the date you are elected as a Member.

A Member must be actively at work when coverage takes effect, otherwise the coverage (or any benefit increases) will not be effective until a Member returns to work.

Termination of Coverage

Coverage ends on the termination of a Member's active service, at the end of the month in which you reach age 65, when you die, or when the policy terminates, whichever is earliest.

Payment of LTD benefits

LTD benefits are payable for the first 25 months following the waiting period if disease or injury prevents you from performing your duties as a Member.

After 25 months, benefits will continue only if your disability prevents you from being gainfully employed in any job. Gainful employment is work that you are medically able to perform, for which you have at least the minimum qualifications and provides you with a rate of pay that is not less than 75% of the current basic compensation, plus 25% of any current additional salary.

 

For information on how to make a claim, please contact Payroll Services at 250-387-0793.


Group Life Insurance Plan

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Every Member is required to participate in the Group Life Insurance plan. Coverage is based on three times the amount of basic compensation and additional salary. This coverage is treated as a taxable benefit, effective immediately.
Summary of coverage:

Benefit Coverage Participation Payment and rates Effective date
Group Life Insurance

Carrier:
Great-West Life Assurance Company

Amount of life insurance coverage is based on 3 times the amount of annual salary, or the employer-paid minimum coverage of $80,000, whichever is greater.

Coverage includes: basic life insurance; benefits for accidental dismemberment and loss of sight; advance payment for terminal illness; funeral advance.

There is no cash surrender value for group life insurance.
Compulsory Employer pays for the first $80,000 of coverage and employee pays remainder. Employer paid portion is a taxable benefit of $14.40 per month based on 2016 rates.
Effective Jan 1, 2016 - cost is 18 cents per $1,000 coverage.
Starts immediately once eligible for benefits.


Designating a Beneficiary:

In the event of your death, the plan pays a benefit to a named beneficiary. The designation of a beneficiary must be filed with Payroll Services.

If a beneficiary is not designated by completing a beneficiary designation form, the benefit will be paid to a Members estate. If there are any changes to a designation (for example, change of beneficiary, address, surname), please complete a new form and forward it to Payroll Services.

The group life benefit payment is non-taxable when paid to a designated beneficiary. A benefit payment made to an estate becomes part of the proceeds of the estate for tax purposes.

OPTIONAL COVERAGE FOR SPOUSE AND DEPENDENTS

The optional life insurance coverage provides spousal coverage of $10,000 and dependent coverage of $5,000 for each dependent child (see dependent criteria to determine if a spouse/dependent is eligible under the plan). The beneficiary of this coverage is the Member. The current premium, subject to change, is $2.15 per month, regardless of the number of dependents. Members must apply for coverage within 90 days or the earlier of:

  • Becoming a Member; or
  • Acquiring a first spouse or dependent.

This coverage also applies to common-law and same-sex relationships; however, a statutory declaration will be required in the event of a claim. Return the completed application to Payroll Services for certification and processing.

Group Life Insurance coverage in these circumstances begins:

  • The day a Member is eligible, if application is made before a Member is eligible; or
  • The day the application is signed, if signed during the 90-day enrolment period; or
  • The date the application is approved by Great-West Life, if applied for after the 90-day enrolment period. Evidence of insurability and health will be required.

To initiate a claim, please contact Payroll Services for the appropriate documentation.


Group Aviation Accident Insurance

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Group aviation accident insurance provides protection for Members when traveling by air on legislative business, including limited ground travel to and from the airport. This insurance is provided in addition to group life coverage where applicable.

Coverage

Type of Accident Group 1 (Speaker and Executive) Group 2 (MLAs)
Loss of Life $200,000 $125,000
Dismemberment or Loss of Sight $200,000 $125,000
Permanent or Total Disability $200,000 $125,000
Blanket Medical    $2,500    $2,500

 

The combined limit for all Members as a result of a single accident is $10 million. For example, if a single accident involving several insured individuals occurred, the amount payable to each beneficiary would be pro-rated between the number of Members and the group to which they belonged (see table above).

Premiums

The Assembly pays the full premium for this benefit for all eligible Members.

Beneficiary

Any benefit payable under the policy will be paid to the beneficiary designated on file at the time of death, under the group life insurance plan.

If a Member is not covered by group life insurance, or no designation has been made, the benefit will be paid to the Member's estate.

Exceptions

The policy does not cover Members piloting an aircraft.

Expiry

Group aviation accident insurance coverage will end when a Members employment ends.


Canada Pension Plan

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Members must contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and premiums are deducted from the bi-weekly paycheques. Members who are currently receiving CPP benefits are responsible for providing documentation to Payroll Services for exemption if they qualify.


Transitional Assistance

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The work of a Member of the Legislative Assembly is not considered insurable employment by the Canada Revenue Agency, and therefore Members are not eligible to contribute to the federal Employment Insurance plan.

Transitional assistance is available to former Members who meet certain conditions following their term in office to enable them to have some income for a period of time until they find gainful employment. The Legislative Assembly Management Committee (LAMC) adopted the recommendation in the April 2007 report of the Independent Commission to Review Members’ Compensation that a transitional assistance program be provided to those Members who choose not to stand for re-election, as well as those who are defeated in a provincial general election.

To qualify for transitional assistance, Members must complete their term of office in a Parliament. Members who resign, forfeit their seat in the House, or die during a Parliament are not eligible for this assistance.

Members who qualify at the time of a provincial general election will be enrolled automatically into the program. A former Member receives an amount equal to the basic compensation for a minimum of four months. Transitional assistance continues to the date he/she is re-employed, receives Member pension benefits, or 15 months have elapsed, whichever comes first. The transitional assistance amount is taxable, and deductions at source will be made for CPP and income tax. Please note that the transitional assistance amount is not pensionable. Benefits coverage continues while former Members are in receipt of transitional assistance.

To qualify for the full 15 months of transitional assistance noted above, a Member must have served a full term of Parliament. A Member elected in a by-election during a Parliament, and not running or defeated in the next provincial general election, is eligible to receive the first four months of transitional assistance, with the remaining eleven months prorated, based on the amount of time served as a percentage of the duration of the Parliament. The example below illustrates how the proration is calculated:

Example: A Member is elected in a by-election with 900 days remaining out of a 1461 day Parliament. The Member chose not to run in the next election, so only served about 62% (900/1461) of a Parliament. The Member is entitled to a total of 10.82 months (4 months + 62% x 11 months) of transitional assistance.

Former Members re-employed during the transitional assistance period will be responsible for notifying the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of their employment status. If a former Member notifies the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of being in receipt of employment income, the amount of transitional assistance will be reduced by the gross amount of salary received from the employment. Benefits will continue unless the former Member advises the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly that benefits are provided by the new employer. If the income received from employment equals or exceeds the amount of transitional assistance, the payment of transitional assistance will cease. All benefits will cease as well.

Employment income includes, but is not limited to: salaries; wages; commissions; bonuses; self-employment income; and any amounts paid for serving on a governance board.

If the amount of employment income falls below the amount of transitional assistance, or employment is discontinued, and the former Member is still within the transitional assistance period (generally 15 months from election day, except for former Members elected in a by-election, as noted above), the onus will be on the Member to contact the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly to have the transitional assistance reinstated. Please note that the overall transitional assistance period is not extended by the period of time a Member was not receiving transitional assistance.

Each Member in receipt of transitional assistance will be required to report any employment monies received on a quarterly confirmation form provided by the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.

Career Retraining Allowance

Career counselling, education and training costs up to $9,000, upon presentation of receipts, may be covered. The Speaker has discretion over the appropriateness of charges against the $9,000 available for career counselling, education and training costs. Examples of eligible uses of the career retraining allowance include:

  • Career Counselling: Resume and interview assistance, discussion of opportunities, guidance on a course of action;
  • Education: Courses at a College, University, or Institution intended to lead to re-employment; and,
  • Training Costs: Professional development courses and certificate programs intended to lead to re-employment or required as part of re-certification in a professional organization.

It is advisable to consult with the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly in advance of registering for a retraining, counselling, or educational program to ensure it is eligible.

To be eligible for reimbursement, retraining must occur within the 15 month period following the general voting day (the transitional assistance period). There are two possible exceptions to this rule, subject to prior written approval from the Speaker:

  1. Reimbursement to Members for career retraining costs incurred prior to the general voting day. This option is only available to Members not seeking re-election.

    Example: A Member who was formerly a teacher and who is not seeking re-election may take courses prior to the election date in order to be re-certified in time for the fall school semester. Reimbursement of the career retraining costs, up to a maximum of $9,000, will however not occur until after the general voting day.
  2. Reimbursement to Members for career retraining costs related to a multi-course program that extends beyond the 15 month transitional assistance period. Some Members may enroll in a retraining program which requires the completion of several classes or sessions. Classes or sessions that occur after the transitional assistance period ends may be eligible for reimbursement, as long as the Member was enrolled in and completed a previous class or session which began during the transitional assistance period. To be eligible for reimbursement, all classes and sessions taken outside of the transitional assistance period must be completed by December 31 of the year in which the transitional assistance period ends. Again, reimbursement will be made upon the presentation of receipts.

    Example: A Member enrolls in an accounting program at a university. The program begins May 1st and the transitional assistance period ends August 31. Prior to August 31, the Member completes two accounting courses and is reimbursed. The Member could be reimbursed for further accounting courses that begin after August 31 and end prior to December 31, if the total amount requested for reimbursement does not exceed $9,000.

The administration of the program, and the specific policies and procedures thereof, remain at the discretion of the Legislative Assembly Management Committee.

For further details on transitional assistance, contact the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Craig James at (250) 387-3785.

Last Updated: May 11, 2017