How does group insurance work?
We all put money into a pot. Whenever someone from the group needs to cover an approved expense they take money from the pot. The fact that we are a large group of people paying into the same pot means we can each contribute a moderate amount, but have access to large amounts of money if something goes wrong.
In order for this system to work there are rules about how much must be kept in the “pot” in order to adequately cover the expected claims. These amounts are calculated based on a series of factors. Some of the factors include: historic claim levels, current long term commitments to claimants, the level of risk in the population insured and others. Some factors that raise our contributions are the small number of teachers in QPAT and the fact that our employers make no contributions. Every penny paid out by IA is a penny paid in by a teacher.
The fact that there are no contributions to the health plan from the government is why our insurance is more expensive than many others. Most Industries subsidize health premiums as one of the non-monetary benefits of a position. The insurance benefit we receive from the school board is 2 year salary insurance in case of illness. Teachers do not pay premiums for this, it is separate from our QPAT health insurance.
Why does a separate company manage the insurance funds?
Insurance is an industry unto itself. It has a large number of regulations and legal obligations. In addition, even a small group like QPAT generates hundreds of claims every week, and dozens of complicated unique situations a month. QPAT has an executive who’s dossier is to facilitate between teachers and IA in the complicated cases. QPAT retains its focus on teachers by hiring specialists to deal with the legalities and fiscal obligations.
Does the company ever change?
QPAT goes to market roughly every 4 to 6 years to reassess the company that manages the insurance fund. The companies describe their services and capabilities and fee rate. QPAT then considers the bids and decides whether to continue with the current servicer or switch to a new one. Not all insurance companies are interested. There can be interesting roadblocks, for instance the insurance servicer must work with the GRICS pay system, and many do not want to.
Where does any extra money go?
Nowhere, it stays in the fund, or back to teachers as a premium holiday.
How does the insurance servicer make their money?
The insurance servicer makes the same money regardless of the claims accepted or denied. The money in the fund is never theirs. They earn a set fee, normally a percentage based on the size of the fund. Larger funds will have more participants and therefore more claims to process hence the percentage model. Denying claims does not earn them extra money.
Who decides what is covered under QPAT insurance?
QPAT. The process is initially discussed at the membership plans committee, who makes a recommendation to the executive committee, who makes a recommendation to the board of directors. The board of directors can make a final decision, but can also redirect it to the AGM meeting if a consensus cannot be reached, or the issue is deemed a major change. The point of the different committees is to try and weed out any really bad ideas and ideally also to prevent groupthink. Each of the committees have a different composition from union staff to local union executives that sit on them.
There is no limit on what the plan can theoretically cover, but all additional coverage comes with an associated premium amount. For instance, dental coverage causes a large premium increase. There is a legal obligation to have money in the fund to cover the claims.
Why do our premiums go up most years?
The insurance servicer reviews the claims that were made in the previous year and uses that to estimate the likely financial needs of the fund in the following year. By law, they are required to estimate high. Also, certain types of claims carry higher fiscal responsibilities. For instance, long term disability claims require that the fund have enough money set aside to cover the claimant until their 65th birthday. If the claimant returns to work, then that obligation ends. The fiscal responsibilities increase and decrease based on the health of our teaching population. Over the last few years there has been an increase in the claims that carry heavy long-term fiscal responsibilities for the fund.The premium increases occur in January.
Who is responsible for insurance paperwork?
The teacher for claims and the school board for changes in enrollment. It’s the school board's job to provide you with the forms and forward them to IA for any changes to usage of the insurance plan. The easiest way for teachers to submit claims is through IA’s client space, if you have registered for it. You can upload photos of receipts and register for direct deposit.
This breakdown has been very kindly supplied by our counterparts from western Quebec. A big thank you to Brian!
You just found out that you are pregnant or that your wife or partner is expecting. What an exciting and overwhelming time in your life! You may feel like you have a lot to do and you are not sure where to start.
First the main concern for non-permanent teachers:
Rights of teachers on priority of employment or recall lists
The school board must, based on your ranking on the list, call you and offer you the same position you would have been offered had you not been on leave. Once you accept the position the board must grant you your maternity leave or a leave-of-absence without salary and find someone to replace you. If you return to work before the end of the year you must be reintegrated into your position. If you are replaced you will accrue the hours associated with the position you accept while on maternity leave.
Regular and replacement teachers continue to benefit from: health insurance, accumulation of sick-leave days, accumulation of seniority, accumulation of experience, accumulation of continuous service of job security, recognition of pensionable service for my retirement plan, the various insurance plans under which you are covered, provided you pay the premiums. (Rights during Maternity, Paternity, or Adoption Leaves, and Extension without salary (5-13.22))
Let’s break the process down into steps. The first step depends on whether or not you are pregnant.
STEP 1 – For Expecting Mothers Who Are Teachers
STEP 1 for non pregnant parents
Go straight to step two!
STEP 2 Decide on QPIP options
You have time to figure this part out. The board and QPIP only need to know about your decision closer to the due date, estimate about a month before you need it to start. Parental benefits are made up of some money from QPIP, and some money from RSB.
Things to consider when selecting your plan:
Will you be sharing the leave with your partner?
What do your finances look like?
When to start it?
What does daycare cost?
Parental leaves are paid for by QPIP. For a certain number of weeks depending on type, the school board also pays you a portion of your salary. THese weeks that RSB pays count as you “working” for your summer pay. After the time when RSB pays you, you will only receive QPIP income. At this point RSB considers you on leave without salary to extend your parental leave. This means you're responsible for your pension contributions (buy-back) and your insurance fees (sent to you from iA). This leave without pay can be extended, but QPIP does end.
There are two basic models of QPIP, both topped up by the school board initially. One is longer, but lower pay. The other is shorter with higher pay. In both cases maternity leave can start anywhere between 16 weeks prior to the due date to 6 weeks after the birth to receive full benefits retroactively.
Paternal leave can be any consecutive set of weeks, during the first year.
Adoption leaves are shared between partners. Leaves must be taken within 78 weeks of adoption. They can start 5 weeks prior to adoption for international adoption. Adoptive parents also have the right to the five-day leave related to the birth of the child.
What if the leave overlaps the summer?
Deferred Summer adjustment Pay
If your maternity, paternity, or adoption leave falls in July and August you can ask to defer your four weeks of annual vacation pay. This deferred pay can be used to extend your “top ups” from the school board beyond the normal number of weeks. This will give you up to 4 extra weeks of “topped up” from the board at the end of your leave but still needs to fall within the weeks prescribed by the QPIP.
Step 3: Notify QPIP and HR
You need to inform the government and school board at least 3 weeks in advance of your expected due date.
Leave Related to the Birth of the Child – 5 paid days (for non-pregnant expectant parents)
This leave will require a medical certificate to be used. The medical certificate can either be provided in advance, or retroactively.
A new father (teacher), female partner (teacher) whose partner gives birth, and teachers adopting are entitled to five working days (these need not be consecutive) paid by their school board at 100% between the beginning of labour and the 15th day following the return home of the partner or baby.
STEP 4: Bond with your child
STEP 5: Coming back to Work
The timing will vary depending on when your leave ends. The school board usually sends you an email requesting to know what your plans are for your return to work as your leave approaches the end. Expect this email around a month before they expect you back.
As you approach the end of your leave you can look into the option of part-time leave without pay. This allows you to return to work and have more time at home with your young baby if you feel the need or desire too. Just a reminder anything over a 20% leave you will require to buy back your pension at the end.
Buy-Back your pension
The term buy-back your pension means that you can catch up on your pension contributions. With every pay both the employer (School Board) and yourself contribute to your pension. When you are on leave without pay, no one is contributing to your pension (not you, or the School Board). That is why when you return to work after your leave without pay, we strongly recommend that you buy-back your pension. “Buy-back allows you to pay to have a leave of absence recognized when you did not contribute to the plan originally. It increases your contributory years (service for calculation), thereby increasing your pension benefit when you retire.” (QPAT Basic Pension Information for QPAT Members p.6). Buy-backs related to parental rights cost less than any other buy-back because you only have to buy-back your portion, not the employer’s. They are required for the time you were receiving only QPIP payments with no RSB contribution.
You fill out a form to apply for a buyback. The form goes to RREGOP who will send you a letter outlining how much the buyback will cost and your options to pay for it. If you do not accept the proposal within 2 months, nothing happens and you need to reapply to buyback. There can be tax implications regarding RRSP contributions. In addition, buy-backs tend to get more expensive the longer you wait.
Links for the buyback form, guide book and estimator.
In step 1 your pensionable income is your gross income minus 15400
In step 2 just put in 200 days, and it will give you an error message with the maximum number of days you could have been off in the time period.
Helpful definitions for terms that will come up:
School Board Definition of Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Leave
Maternity Leave (5-13.06) from the board is your first 21 weeks, as per our collective agreement. During these 21 weeks RSB will be supplementing your QPIP benefits so that you receive close to 90% of your regular salary. The following weeks (22 and on), depending on the plan you choose, is a leave-of-absence without salary to extend your maternity leave This basically means that you will only be receiving money from QPIP and no longer receiving RSB supplements (top up), nor will you be paying into pension contributions. We encourage you to buy back your pension contributions for your maternity leave without pay, as soon as possible, when you return to work.
Paternity Leave (5-13.31) (fathers or female teachers whose partner/spouse gives birth) is 5 consecutive weeks with the QPIP basic plan, 3 consecutive weeks with the QPIP special plan. During these weeks of paternity leave you will be receiving QPIP and RSB benefits averaging about 100% of your salary. If you take more, we encourage you to buy back your pension contributions for your paternity leave without pay, as soon as possible, when you return to work.
Adoption Leave (5-13.52) each parent is entitled to 5 weeks on the basic plan or 3 weeks special plan. During these weeks a teacher will be entitled to receive QPIP and RSB benefits averaging about 100% of your salary. If you take more, we encourage you to buy back your pension contributions for your paternity leave without pay, as soon as possible, when you return to work.
For more detailed information you can consult the QPAT QPIP booklet and contact RTU or RSB HR.
All numbers/ages in this article can be changed any time we go into provincial negotiations. If you are more than 20 years from retirement take all this information with a grain of salt, it will undoubtedly be different by the time you are retiring.
In the 1970's a group pension plan was created in Quebec that all education, health and social sector employees belong to. It doesn’t matter if you are full time, part time or casual supply. Any work you do in the education sector before the age of 70 or 40 years service contributes to your pension from RREGOP. You cannot opt out of the pension fund.
There are two main parts to consider when thinking about pension:
How much will I get?
Will I be penalized for retiring early
Yep, if you retire earlier than the pension plan allows you will have your pension reduced by a percentage for every year you leave early. Currently you need to be 61 years old or have 35 years of service. The last option is being 60 with 30 years of service.
This requirement of years of service is why there are two numbers you need to be concerned about. If you’ve always worked 80% or higher, these two numbers are the same. Otherwise:
Years of credit for calculation of pension amount:
Every year you receive credit for the same percentage as your contract or the percentage that your taught hours correspond to. Full time teachers and teachers at 80% and above receive a full credit. Part-time teachers receive a partial year credit. These can be bought back as they are based on contributions made to the pension plan.
Years for eligibility
There are several situations that even if you only accrue part of a year for pension calculations you still receive a full year of credit for eligibility. For instance most sick leaves and parental leaves are credited fully for eligibility.
So how much money does someone get?
2% x calculation years x average of best 5 years = pension
If you have not met the requirements to retire (age or years of service) your pension will be reduced by 6% per year you are missing in age. This penalty is applied after the calculation above.
So how much do I pay every year?
Contributions are calculated off of your yearly earnings minus an amount specified yearly by RREGOP. You pay 10.33% of this adjusted earning amount.
There are situations under which you are exempted from contributions. These periods count as if you had paid then. This is usually due to a recognized disability of some kind.
There are many mitigating factors in pension calculations. The best people to contact about your specific case are RREGOP themselves.
All information taken from and more details can be found at: https://www.retraitequebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/publications/rrsp/rregop/Pages/rregop.aspx
Good news everybody. The texts of our collective agreement have been finalized. It has just been announced at the CF. We expect to sign the collective agreement the week of November 15th.
This means that 30 days after the signing of the agreement members will receive their first premium of $600. The retroactivity and the second premium will be received in mid-January.
This means that local negotiations between RTU and RSB will begin in the new calendar year.
You’ve heard the rumours, after so many days of supply work you suppose to get a contract. How exactly does it work though?
It matters which sector you are in. There is one set of criteria for youth sector and a separate set for adult sectors.
Getting a Replacement Contract
There are 2 ways to get a replacement contract
No current contract:
If you as the supply teacher have no other contract:
A teacher has a planned absence of longer than 216 teaching hours. This includes parental leaves, leaves of absence, sick leaves due to planned surgeries, etc.
Current part time contract:
If you as the supply teacher have a part-time contract with the centre
If there will be a known absence of 25 teaching hours or longer the time will be added to your percentage.
Replacement contracts are paid at a teachers scale as opposed to hourly or substitution rates.
What does this contract count towards?
Experience for pay scale: Yes
Hours/position on recall lists: Yes
Gaining permanence/tenure: No
Board designation: E8