Enrollment in the Municipal Employees Benefit Program
If you are employed by a MEBP participating employer, enrollment in the MEBP plan your employer takes part in is mandatory once you the eligibility requirements.
Participation is a condition of employment and cannot be waived (see eligibility exceptions). Once you start contributing to the Plan, you cannot terminate your membership until the earlier of termination of employment, retirement or death. Employees who are age 71 or older are not eligible to join the Plan.
Your employment category will determine when enrolment in the plan is required.
- Full Time Employees - You must join the plan on your date of employment or if specified by your employer, after serving a required probation period.
- Part Time, Seasonal, Casual, and Temporary Employees – You must join the plan after you earn 25% of the Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE) in two consecutive years. For eligibility purposes, all employment earnings with your participating employer are taken into account when calculating the 25% requirement.
Exceptions: You may be exempt from participating in the pension plan if:
- you are a full-time student or,
- you are a member of a religious group which has as one of its articles of faith the belief that members of the group are precluded from receiving benefits from the Plan or,
- you are in receipt of a monthly pension from the Plan but return to work for the same or new participating employer.
You may be asked to provide documentation that confirms your exemption. If you are a student, please check with your post-secondary educational facility as to your status.
Your employer will advise you as to when you have met the eligibility requirements and at that point you and your employer will need to complete and submit an enrolment form and other applicable documents to our office.
If you are required to wait for a probationary period of employment to be completed before joining the Plan, you can apply to purchase this service period at any time prior to retirement or termination.
Eligibility Voluntary Enrollment - If you are a part time, seasonal, casual or temporary employee you can join the plan on a voluntary basis at any time by completing an enrollment form with your employer. Joining the plan on a voluntary basis means that you do not have to wait to earn 25% of the yearly maximum pensionable earnings (YMPE) in two consecutive years. You may, if specified by your employer, be required to serve a probation period before joining the plan on a voluntary basis
Are you Retiring?
If possible, attend a MEBP retirement seminar. Invitations are mailed out to our Members when a retirement seminar will be presented. We will present general retirement information for Members who are approaching or considering retirement.
Consider making an appointment to meet with one of our Pension Administrators. We are available for one-on-one meetings with you and your spouse/common-law partner either at our office, or on the phone, to help you understand your retirement options. Please contact our office to set up an appointment. Please book your appointment at least two weeks in advance.
Visit the Online Pension Calculator to generate pension estimates. The Pension Calculation will help you to determine the impact to your estimated pension at different ages, salary levels and the forms of pension payment available.
Obtain a retirement package from MEBP. Contact MEBP two to six months before your intended retirement date to request a personalized retirement package.
Refer to the Benefits Booklet for additional information about your retirement benefit.
Are you terminating your employment with a MEBP employer?
When your employment with a MEBP employer ends, your Employer will provide MEBP with a Separation Notice (Form 10). Upon receipt of the Separation Notice from your Employer, we will determine your pension benefit and the payment options available to you.
If you are eligible for immediate retirement benefits, you will be sent a retirement package.
If you are not yet eligible for immediate retirement benefits, you will be sent a termination package providing you with your termination of membership information and applicable forms.
When you terminate employment with a MEBP Participating Employer(s) before meeting the eligibility requirements for a retirement provision, your options may include:
- Leaving your pension benefit in the Plan and applying for a deferred pension at a later date, but no later than the first of the month following your 65th birthday.
- Transferring the value of your pension benefit to a Locked-in Retirement Account (LIRA).
- Transferring your pension benefit to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or receiving a taxable lump sum payment.
- Transferring your pension benefit to another Registered Pension Plan (RPP) through a reciprocal pension transfer agreement.
- Transferring your pension benefit to another RPP if the receiving plan allows it.
- Transferring your pension benefit and service accruals to your new MEBP employer.
Tax Withholding Rates on refunds
If you are eligible to receive all or a portion of your entitlement as a lump sum cash refund, income tax is deducted from your pension benefit. In most cases, the tax withholding rates for lump sum payments for Canadian residents are:
- 10% on amounts up to and including $5,000
- 20% on amounts over $5,000 up to and including $15,000
- 30% on amounts over $15,000.
Reinstatement: If you terminate your employment prior to retirement, you can reinstate your membership if you return to work for a MEBP Participating Employer and re-enroll in MEBP within three years of your date of termination. You have 2 years to apply for reinstatement. If you reinstate your membership, your previous period of employment service is combined with current employment service. Any payments that you received out of the fund when you previously terminated membership will have to be refunded either with interest or on an actuarial basis. If you return to work after three years from your date of termination, you cannot combine your previous employment service with your current employment service. If prior service is not reinstated, you will be treated as a new member.
Refer to the Benefits Booklet for additional information about termination of membership.
Buyback of Prior Non-Pensionable Employment
Prior to retirement or termination of plan membership, you may purchase periods of eligible, missed pensionable service that have not previously been included as credited service. Purchasing eligible periods of employment increases the amount of your pension benefits.
Periods eligible for buyback purchases are:
- Probation period,
- Unpaid medical leave,
- Maternity/parental leave,
- Strike or Lockout,
- Casual, part-time, term positions prior to Plan entry date (no break in employment service),
- Eligible periods of approved leave of absences.
To apply for a Buyback, please print the APPLICATION FOR BUYBACK OF PRIOR NON-PENSIONABLE EMPLOYMENT (Form 31) or request this form from your employer. Complete the Member portion of the form and return this form to your current MEBP employer to complete the Employer section of the form.
Upon receipt of this completed form, MEBP will provide you with Buyback option letter which will include the amount required to purchase the service, the estimated increase to your pension benefit resulting from the buyback along with the applicable payment forms.
Eligible periods of service may be purchased using cash or money transferred from an RRSP. All service purchases are subject to Plan provisions and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regulations. Purchasing service may affect the amount you can contribute to RRSPs. For more information on tax implications, please contact a tax advisor or the CRA.
The Pension Benefits Act of Manitoba states that if a marriage/common-law relationship breakdown occurs on or after January 1, 1984, and there is a written agreement dividing family assets, the value of pension benefit credits earned during the period of marriage/common-law relationship must also be divided.
The division of the pension benefit credits may be waived. You and your spouse or former spouse or common-law partner may agree to waive the 50/50 division of benefits. The act states that if both parties agree to this, they must first:
- receive independent legal advice,
- receive a statement from the pension plan administrator providing information required under the act, such as the amount of entitlement and options, and
- sign a written agreement with the spouse or partner
You will need to contact MEBP to have the value determined. MEBP requires a completed RELATIONSHIP BREAKDOWN DATA SHEET (Form 34) or copy of your separation agreement to calculate the spousal entitlement.
We will then provide you with information related to the division of the pension benefit credits and the various options available to you and your former spouse/common-law partner. If the division of pension benefit credits is applicable at the time of retirement, termination or death, the member’s pension will be reduced to reflect the amount payable to the former spouse/common-law partner.
It is important to inform MEBP as soon as possible to prevent delays in processing your pension benefits at events such as termination or retirement.
There are time limits within which a reciprocal transfer must be applied for depending on the terms of the Reciprocal Transfer Agreement. You must be enrolled as a MEBP member before you are able to transfer funds into the MEBP Pension Plan. If you are considering a reciprocal transfer please contact MEBP as soon as you become enrolled in the MEBP Plan to request the application forms.
If you are transferring your funds out of MEBP to your new employer’s pension plan, please contact that plan’s administrator to inform them of your desire to transfer and to request the application forms.
MEBP has entered into reciprocal transfer agreements with several RPP administrators. Under a reciprocal transfer, the value available for transfer is generally based on an actuarially determined amount. This type of agreement provides for the transfer of credited service and employment service between the plans. It should be noted that the funds available for transfer from the exporting plan may be less than the amount required to purchase equivalent credited service in the importing plan; however, you would have the option to purchase the shortfall of credited service.