Becoming a member of a DB pension plan

Many employers require full-time employees to join their defined benefitBenefit Money, goods, or services that you get from your workplace or from a government program such as the Canada Pension Plan.+ read full definition (DB) plan, either immediately upon hire or after a certain length of time, sometimes up to 2 years. Other employers leave the decision to join up to you.

If you’re a part-time employee

You may be eligible to join as well. Check with your plan administrator. In Ontario, the minimum requirement is that plans must let you join if you have worked for your employer for 24 consecutive months and you:

  • have worked at least 700 hours a year for the 2 previous consecutive calendar years, or
  • have earningsEarnings For companies, it’s the money they make and share with their shareholders. For investors, it’s the money they make from their investments.+ read full definition in each of the 2 previous consecutive calendars years of about $18,000 or more.
Join if you can

Because DB plans provide a pensionPension A steady income you get after you retire. Some pensions pay you a fixed amount for life. Others save up money for you while you are working. You use that money to create income after you retire.+ read full definition funded at least in part by your employer, it’s almost always to your advantage to join the plan as soon as you’re allowed – even if you are required to contribute, too.

Key point

Ask about plan eligibility rules if you work part time – and join if you can.

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