BCTF Salary Indemnity Plan
The BCTF operates its own Salary Indemnity Plan, providing both short-term and long-term benefits to members disabled from employment as a result of illness or accident. The following is a summary of the principal features of the Salary Indemnity Plan (SIP).
The complete plan regulations are published in the Members' Guide to the BCTF and copies are also available from the BCTF Income Security office. In the event of any variation between this summary and the regulations, the latter shall prevail.
The plan is operated by the BCTF and financed by members. It is not underwritten or guaranteed by a life insurance company.
The Salary Indemnity Plan has been exempted from the provisions of the Financial Institutional Act.
Except as noted below, all active Federation members employed by school boards on a regular full-time or regular part-time assignment are required to belong to the plan.
A member who has attained the age of 64, has reached factor “88” or age 60, has 34 years of contributory service, or who is in receipt of a retirement pension from the Pension Corporation (BC) may apply to withdraw from the long-term section of the plan, with approval of the Plan Administrator.
Withdrawal forms are included and may be copied or may be obtained from the Income Security Department of the BCTF. They may also be downloaded from the BCTF website:
Administrative officers employed by school boards may be covered by the plan upon application for membership. Application must be made within 30 days of becoming an administrative officer.
Effective date of coverage
A member is eligible for short-term benefits under this plan from the date he/she is first actively at work.
A member is eligible for long-term benefits after completing 20 or more days of employment exclusive of sick leave.
Applications for benefits are made to Income Security on forms provided by the BCTF.
Financing of the plan
The plan is financed from the Salary Indemnity Fund, which includes:
- a portion of each member's fee, set annually by the AGM;
- the member's share of the savings from the employment insurance premium reduction; and investment income.
The current fee is 1.97 per cent of annual salary.
The fee is waived for a member in receipt of benefits. A member who withdraws from the long-term section of the plan because of age or pensionable service pays only the short-term section fee, i.e., 0.51 per cent of annual salary.
Reserves, determined by actuarial study, are established in order that the plan operates on a fully-funded basis.
The assets of the plan are segregated from BCTF assets and are used solely for the provision of benefits and for the administrative expenses of the fund and the plan.
Adjudication of claims
Short-term claims are adjudicated by staff employed by the BCTF. Long-term claims are adjudicated and administered by an insurance company employed by the BCTF.
All claims must be supported by medical reports acceptable to the claims adjudicators. Claimants may be required to submit to an independent medical examination, at plan expense, by a physician selected by the Salary Indemnity Plan.
Denial or termination of short-term benefits based on medical adjudication may be appealed to the Income Security Committee.
Application and interpretation of the regulations may be appealed to the Income Security Committee.
Denial or termination of long-term benefits based on medical adjudication may be appealed to a Medical Review Committee. The MRC is composed of 3 physicians—1 nominated by the member, 1 nominated by the Plan, and a neutral chairperson.
Salary Indemnity Plan: Short-term
Definition of disability
To qualify for short-term benefits a member must be disabled, by illness or injury from performing their normal employment duties.
Benefits begin on the first teaching day following the termination of paid sick leave.
The benefit is 50% of salary, with the basic benefit never less than the Employment Insurance benefits. The benefit is not taxable.
Contributions to the pension plan are waived but the claimant receives full pensionable service credit.
Duration of benefits
The maximum number of teaching days for which benefits are paid in respect of a single illness or accident is 120.
No benefits are paid in July and August.
A member who returns to teaching on a regular assignment no longer qualifies for benefits.
A member in receipt of benefits may remain or return to a reduced teaching assignment that has been recommended by a physician and has received prior approval by the Plan Administrator. The member's benefit will be calculated on a pro-rata basis.
Duration of benefits
Benefits continue as long as a member remains disabled in accordance with the terms of the definition of disability, and shall cease on the earliest of:
- the date the claimant recovers except in cases of approved accommodation employment or retraining where the benefits may be extended to the end of the school term in which an approved accommodation return to normal employment duties is completed, or three months following completion of an approved retraining program, or
- the earlier of
- the attainment of 35 years of Contributory Service (minimum 55)
- the later of:
- the end of the month in which the claimant’s age and Contributory Service equals “90” with Pension Corporation (BC) and
- the end of the month in which the claimant
- attains age 61, or
- the end of the month in which the claimant attains age 65 or the end of the month in which death occurs.
Benefits begin immediately following the completion of SIP short-term benefits.
A member in receipt of benefits may engage in remunerative employment other than teaching, undertaken as accommodation employment that has been recommended by a physician and approved by the Plan Administrator. The member's benefit will be reduced by an amount equal to 50 per cent of the amount earned in employment.
Salary Indemnity Plan: Long-term
The SIP: Long-term plan is administered for the BCTF by Great-West Life Assurance Company.
Definition of total disability
To qualify for long-term benefits a member must:
- continually for a period of up to 12 months commencing at the expiration of the qualifying period, be suffering from a physical or mental disability so prolonged that they are unable to perform their normal employment duties;
- subsequently, be suffering from a severe physical or mental disability so prolonged that they are unable to perform the duties of any gainful employment for which they are qualified by reason of education, training or experience.
During a period of total disability, a member must be under the continuous care and attendance of the appropriate specialist for that disability.
The benefit is 65 per cent of the first $40,000 of gross annual salary, plus 50 per cent of the next $40,000 and 40% of the balance.
The benefit is reduced by the sum of income(s) received from:
- Canada Pension Plan
- Workers' Compensation
- Retirement pension
- Any laws or plan of any government, within or without Canada, providing disability benefits.
The benefit is paid in 12 equal monthly instalments.
The benefit may be increased annually, effective July 1, by a cost of living adjustment based on the BC Consumer Price Index, to a maximum of five per cent.
Supplementary indexing payments may be approved by the BCTF.
The benefit is not taxable.
A member in receipt of benefits may engage in remunerative employment, either teaching or non-teaching, undertaken as accommodation employment, that has been recommended by a physician and approved by the Plan Administrator.
The member's benefit is reduced by the amount that the gross benefit plus the net accommodation earnings exceeds the member's net employment income.
Any of the following may be eligible for consideration as accommodation employment:
- a return to regular employment on a part-time basis;
- any gainful occupation that is of a less demanding nature than teaching;
- a formal vocational training program.
Health and Wellness Program
As part of the SIP, teachers who are disabled from teaching for more than 20 days may be offered rehabilitation assistance.