This section covers information about how a period of leave can affect your SASS membership. It includes information relating to:
Leave Without Pay (LWOP) is a period of leave during which you are not entitled to receive salary payments from your employer. For superannuation purposes, LWOP is categorised as either prescribed leave or non-prescribed leave.
A period of prescribed leave generally counts as part of the period of SASS membership for the purposes of benefit point accrual, the accrual of the employer-financed benefit and applicable Additional Employer Contributions (AEC).
A member's personal contributions continue to be payable to SASS during prescribed leave. However, in this instance the member should pay the contributions to the employer and the employer will forward contributions to the scheme administrator, Mercer, at the rate that would have been deducted from the member's salary if the member had still been at work. Mercer cannot accept personal contributions directly from the member.
If the member cannot afford to pay their personal contributions, they can apply in writing to Mercer to have their contribution rate reduced to as low as 0% for their period of prescribed LWOP.
During LWOP, the employer continues to make employer contributions (including AEC) for the member.
Where a member takes continuous prescribed sick or maternity LWOP for a period longer than two years, only the first two years are treated as prescribed LWOP. For any period of continuous LWOP in excess of two years, contributions are not payable and benefit points will not accrue.
Where a member takes LWOP that is not prescribed leave (such as holiday LWOP), contributions are payable in the months the LWOP starts and ends, but not for any whole months in between. Benefit points do not accrue during the months when contributions are not payable and cannot be made up when the member returns to work.
Where LWOP is less than one calendar month, the member and employer must both pay full contributions. Your employer must advise Mercer of any period of non-prescribed LWOP that exceeds five continuous working days by submitting STC Form 223: Members taking full-time ordinary LWOP (for more than five continuous days). In this situation AEC and basic benefit do not apply for the whole period during which the LWOP occurs.
For further information about prescribed and non-prescribed LWOP, please consult your employer.
Part-time leave without pay
If a member is on part-time non-prescribed leave without pay, the same rules that apply to permanent part-time service apply.
If a member is on part-time prescribed leave without pay the member's benefit will continue to accrue as if the member was working full time. This is because benefit points continue to accrue at normal rates during periods of prescribed leave without pay, and member contributions continue to be based on the member's full-time salary.
When a member is employed on a permanent part-time basis, their benefit will accrue at a reduced rate and the contributions they are required to pay will also be reduced. A member's salary ratio is calculated to determine the applicable reduction.
The salary ratio for a member who works full time is 1. For a member who works part-time, the salary ratio is less than 1.
The salary ratio is calculated by dividing a member's part-time salary by the member's equivalent full-time salary (the salary the member would be receiving if working full time). As an example, if a member's part-time salary was $35,000 and their equivalent full-time salary was $70,000, the salary ratio would be 0.5.
A member's salary ratio is always calculated based on the actual part-time and full-time salary.
Contributions and benefit points
Once the salary ratio is known, the monthly contribution rate is calculated in the normal manner and then multiplied by the applicable salary ratio.
The basic benefit and any applicable Additional Employer Contribution is also calculated based on the salary ratio.
Benefit points will also accrue at a reduced rate.
The SANCS basic benefit service accrual rate and the value of any applicable Additional Employer Contribution (AEC) is also calculated based on the salary ratio.
For further information, please refer to SASS Fact Sheets 3: Benefit points system and 6: Salary for superannuation purposes.
If a member takes long service leave, their SASS benefit continues to accrue as normal, regardless of whether the long service leave is taken at double-pay, normal or half-pay rates. This means that contributions remain payable at the normal rate, and benefit points continue to accrue at normal rates.
Regardless of whether the long service leave is taken at double-pay, normal or half-pay rates, the SANCS basic benefit continues to accrue as normal and the value of any applicable Additional Employer Contribution (AEC) is also maintained.
Members who take long service leave on half pay need to be aware that their contributions will continue at the normal rate, even though their salary has been halved.
Purchased leave is a voluntary arrangement between employees and their employers where employees may 'purchase' additional leave by reducing their annual salary. The conditions under which such agreements can be made are generally set out in your Award or employment contract.
For further information, please refer to SASS Fact Sheet 11: Purchased leave.