Northwest Carpenters Individual Account Pension Plan

Avoiding Breaks in Service 

A break in service can be avoided if:

  • You work in another jurisdiction that has a retirement plan that is reciprocal with this plan.
  • You work in contiguous noncovered service.
  • You have an approved leave of absence.

These three situations are described below.

Reciprocal Plan Service

Reciprocal plan service helps you avoid a break in service when your work is divided between two or more plans. Credited service earned under a reciprocal plan is known as reciprocal service. Reciprocal service can be used to help satisfy three-year vesting as well as the eligibility requirements for certain retirement and preretirement death benefits. This plan has reciprocal agreements with other retirement plans nationwide.

While reciprocal service may help you avoid a break in service or earn credit toward three-year vesting, no contributions are made to this plan. Reciprocal plans vest and determine benefit amounts according to their own plan rules.

For additional information about reciprocal service, please see Article 3.2.

Contiguous Noncovered Service

You may experience changes in your career including work in noncovered service for a contributing employer. An example of noncovered service is working in a management position for a contributing employer. For the purpose of vesting, avoiding a break in service, or maintaining activity in this plan for the purpose of qualifying for certain special benefits, you earn one year of credited service for each year you work 1,000 or more hours in contiguous noncovered service for an employer who is otherwise required to make contributions to this plan. Noncovered service is contiguous if all of the following three conditions are met:

  • The noncovered service immediately precedes or follows covered service with the same employer.
  • No quit, discharge or retirement occurs between such covered service and noncovered service.
  • You provide proof of contiguous noncovered service as required by the plan.

No hourly contributions are made to this plan on your behalf for contiguous noncovered service.

For additional information about contiguous noncovered service, please see Article 1.9.

Leave of Absence

You may avoid a break in service if you are unable to work in the Building and Construction Industry for one of the following four reasons and for a period of time not to exceed the maximum described:

  • Military service for such period as required by law. You may receive credited service and benefits for qualifying military service.
  • Service as an official of the international union for up to three years. You do not receive credited service or benefits for service with the international union.
  • Disabling condition that prevents gainful employment in any trade for up to two years, subject to further consideration after that time if the disabling condition continues. To qualify, you must submit satisfactory proof of your disability to the Board of Trustees. You do not receive credited service or benefits for a disability leave.
  • Maternity or paternity leave. You may receive up to a maximum of 501 hours of credited service in the year of the leave, if needed to prevent a break, or else in the following year contingent on returning to work after the leave. You do not receive benefits for a maternity or paternity leave.

If you need to apply for a leave of absence, please contact Retirement Services at Northwest Carpenters Trusts. Retirement Services will forward your request to the Board of Trustees and then notify you of the Board’s determination.

For additional information about a military leave, please see Article 10.5. For additional information about other leaves of absence, please see Article 2.6.

Last Updated: 04/25/2023