Leaves of Absence & PERF Benefits
Can I take a leave of absence from PERF-covered employment?
You may take certain types of leave from a covered position and still earn or retain service credit. The leave taken may have a different effect on eligibility for pension benefits than it does on the amount of benefits. Various types of leave are discussed below, but members should be certain to speak with their employers and should maintain their own written records of any leave.
A member may be entitled to service credit for unpaid leaves of absence totaling six months or less during any four consecutive years. This leave must be approved by the employer and a copy of the grant of leave of absence must be filed with PERF within 90 days after the leave commenced.
Creditable service for an unpaid authorized leave of absence will not be granted at the end of the employment unless the employer accepts the additional pension liability and provides employer funding for that leave of absence period.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
An employee may also receive credit for up to 12 weeks of leave taken during a 12-month period under the Family Medical Leave Act (29 USC 2601, et seq.). This leave is creditable only for the purposes of determining eligibility and not for calculating benefits.
You are entitled to up to one year of service credit for Adoption Leave.
During a paid leave of absence, employer and employee contributions will be made and creditable service will be granted.
If you retire from PERF with service in both PERF and the Indiana State Teachers' Retirement Fund (TRF), PERF will pay the combined benefit. Your pension will be computed and your vested interest will be determined on the basis of combined creditable service. Any annuity will be computed on the basis of total amounts credited to both Annuity Savings Accounts. You will not receive a payment from TRF.
Members who served in the United States armed services are eligible for PERF service credit equal to their actual military service if they meet all of the following conditions:
- Were in a PERF-covered position prior to entering the military.
- Left their PERF-covered position and went directly into the United States armed services.
- Did not withdraw their Annuity Savings Account.
- Left the military service and returned to the same employer in a PERF-covered position within 120 days after receiving an unconditional discharge.
You may also be eligible for service credit if your military service is covered by the provisions of the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA). The conditions for USERRA eligibility are:
- You must hold or have applied for a civilian job. (Note: Jobs that employers can show to be held for a brief, non-recurrent period with no reasonable expectation of continuing for a significant period do not qualify for protection.)
- You must have given written or verbal notice to the civilian employer prior to leaving the job for military training or service except when precluded by military necessity.
- You must not have exceeded the 5-year cumulative limit on periods of service.
- You must have been released from service under conditions other than dishonorable.
- You must report back to the civilian job in a timely manner or submit a timely application for re-employment.