This bulletin only applies to you if you are an auxiliary employee or past age 65 and have entitlement to the Health Spending Account (HSA) provisions and you allocate or intend to allocate some of those HSA funds to the BCGEU Pension Plan.
Over the last year, we have been able to settle outstanding policy grievances with several highway maintenance contractors on the Health Spending Accounts (HSA). These settlements have been completed using the “flex model” whereby the member can select, each year, a percentage of their "in lieu dollars" to be allocated to the HSA and a percentage to an RRSP or the BCGEU Pension Plan. Only those presently in the BCGEU Pension Plan can select that as an option, so this provision would only apply to those individuals.
At the time when we negotiated these settlements, we told members that these particular contributions to the BCGEU Pension Plan would be considered “voluntary” contributions under the Plan and thus would not be “locked in”. However, as you are likely aware, the BCGEU Pension Plan is changing and effective, July 1, 2016, it will become a Target Benefit Plan. Under the new plan, voluntary contributions, including those allocated through the HSA, will not be accessible for withdrawal until the member retires or resigns their employment.
If you believe this changes where you would like to allocate the pension contributions you make as part of the HSA, please contact your employer.
Frank N. Anderson
BCGEU Regional Coordinator
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