Important Plan Basics

Service Credits

The terms “Pension Credit” and “Current Service Credit” are interchangeable and mean the same thing. For the purposes of these pages, we have used the term “Current Service Credit” to distinguish from “Prior Service Credit”.

Prior Service
You will earn one Prior Service Credit for each Plan Year prior to June 1, 1960, during which you worked at least 1,200 hours in the kind of job which was then included in the Collective Bargaining Agreements in the area covered by the Plan. (Partial credit is granted on the basis of 1/1200 credit for each hour of work during these years.) There is a maximum of 20 Prior Credits. Since it may be difficult for you to establish clear evidence of years of service between May 1, 1939, and June 1, 1960, the Trustees may accept records of Union membership as evidence of your employment. Prior Service Credit is also granted for service in the Armed Forces of the U.S. from 1940-1947, and 1950-1956, provided you were employed in one of the classifications included in the Collective Bargaining Agreements in the geographic area covered by the Plan immediately before induction and within one year after a discharge which was other than dishonorable.
Current Service
On and after June 1, 1960, you earn a full Current Service Credit for each 1,000 hours you work in Covered Employment for an Employer contributing at the then-current master rate. If you work fewer than 1,000 hours, you receive partial Current Service Credit on the basis of 1/1000 credit for each hour of such work. If you work for an Employer contributing to the Plan at less than the master rate, your Credit is prorated. For a complete breakdown of the master rates since June 1, 1960, please refer to Article II, Section 3 of the Rules and Regulations of the Plan.
Credit for Periods of Military Service
If a participant re-enters covered employment in the Plan after December 13, 1994, the Trustees will grant 30 hours or 3/100ths of a pension credit for each calendar week the participant spent on active duty in the uniformed services during the preceding absence from the Plan. The participant must meet the requirements established by the Board of Trustees which are available from the Fund Office upon request.

Vesting

You will be considered vested and will be eligible for a pension when you reach retirement age even if you leave Covered Employment if, before any permanent break in employment occurs, you meet one of the following requirements:

  1. You have at least three (3) Pension Credits or have worked at least 3,000 hours for which contributions have been made to this Plan on or before June 30, 1978, or
  2. You have at least six (6) Pension Credits or have worked at least 6,000 hours for which contributions have been made to this Plan on or before June 30, 1980, or
  3. You have at least ten (10) Pension Credits or have worked 10,000 hours for which contributions have been made to this Plan, or
  4. You have at least five (5) “Years of Service” (1,000+ hours reported per Plan Year) with at least one (1) hour reported after June 30, 1999.

Vesting Chart

Time Period Reported Number of Consecutive Hours of Current Service Required
Prior to 6/30/78 3,000
Prior to 6/30/80 6,000
Current Rule 10,000 hours or 5 “Years of Service”
with one hour reported after June 30, 1999.

NOTE: It is possible to be eligible for a pension and not be vested. If you are not vested, a permanent break in employment can result in forfeiture.

Payment Rates

The rates for the various Plan Years from the beginning of the Plan to the present time are as follows:

Effective Date Prior Service Credit Current Service
June, 1960 $2.00 $ 1.50
May, 1964 $3.00 $ 2.40
July, 1966 $4.50 $ 3.65
July, 1967 $7.20 $ 5.65
July, 1968 $7.20 $ 7.95
July, 1970 $7.20 $ 9.00
July, 1971 $7.20 $11.00
September, 1972 $8.00 $12.00
July, 1973 $8.00 $15.50
July, 1975 $8.00 $20.00
December, 1978 $8.00 $22.00
July, 1979 $8.00 $23.00
January, 1981 $8.00 $24.00
February, 1982 $8.00 $25.00
July, 1982 $8.00 $26.00
January, 1984 $8.00 $27.00
August, 1985 $8.00 $29.00
August, 1986 $8.00 $30.00
August, 1987 $8.00 $31.00
August, 1988 $8.00 $33.00
August, 1989 $8.00 $34.00
August, 1990 $8.00 $35.00
August, 1991 $8.00 $36.00
August, 1994 $8.00 $37.00
February, 1997 $8.00 $39.00
October, 1997 $8.00 $40.00
August, 1998 $8.00 $45.00
August, 1999 $8.00 $46.00
February, 2000 $8.00 $47.00
September, 2000 $8.00 $50.00
November, 2001 $8.00 $54.00
August, 2006 $8.00 $54.00
July, 2007 $8.00 $54.00

 

The following examples may be helpful:

Example 1: You have 12,000 hours of Current Service (or 12 Current Service Credits), but incurred a break in employment as of May 31, 1968.  The payment rate for Prior Credits on that date was $7.20. For Current Service Credits, the payment rate was $5.65. However, you are not a Reciprocal Pensioner, so the minimum payment rate is $8.00 for Prior Credits and $12.00 for Current Service Credits.  Assuming you selected a Regular pension, you would receive $144.00 a month.

12 Current Service Credits x $12.00 = $144.00

Example 2: You have 8,000 hours of Current Service (or 8 Current Service Credits) reported between July 1, 1972, and June 30, 1979, but incurred a break in employment as of June 30, 1982.  The last hours reported were for June, 1979.  Three years with less than 500 hours reported would occur on June 30, 1982.  The rate for Current Service Credits on June 30, 1982, was $25.00.  You would receive $200.00 a month.

8 Current Service Credits x $25.00 = $200.00

Example 3: You are vested but incurred a break in employment as of June 30, 1976, with 5 Prior Credits and 10 Current Service Credits.  Beginning in 1980 you are reported to the Plan again and retire in March, 2000, with an additional 10 Current Service Credits.  During the period of the break, you were employed in another trade, so there is no basis for a waiver of your break in employment.  Your Prior Credits are payable at $8.00. The 10 Current Service Credits reported between June, 1960 and the time the break occurred are paid at $20.00 a credit which was the rate in effect on June 30,1976.  The credits earned between 1980 and 2000 are not affected by the separation.  They are paid at the current rate of $47.00 a credit.

5 Current Service Credits x $  8.00 =$ 40.00
10 Current Service Credits x $20.00 = 200.00
10 Current Service Credits x $47.00 = 470.00
Total Regular Pension = 640.00

Permanent Break In Employment

IMPORTANT: If your Service Credits are NOT VESTED and you incur a permanent break in employment as described below, you will forfeit all Service Credits earned on or before the date of the break. Your eligibility thereafter for benefits would be the same as if you were a new Participant who had never previously participated in the Plan.

Vested Participants should refer to the section on Break in Employment.

A. PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1976.

General Rule
A permanent break in employment occurred if you did not receive credit for at least 500 hours in three (3) consecutive Plan Years between June 1, 1960 and July 1, 1976. The permanent break occurred on the last day of the third consecutive Plan Year. Service Credits accumulated prior to the break would be forfeited. The first Plan Year in which a person is reported does not count as a break year.
Grace Periods
There are certain periods which do not count as a permanent break in employment. Before July 1,1976, a participant could obtain a “grace-period” for the following reasons. However, items 3 through 7 below were available only during certain limited periods before 1976. Check with the Fund Office because not all items were applicable to all periods.

  1. Temporary or Total Disability.
  2. Service in the Armed Forces of the United States.
  3. Employment as a superintendent. The Trustees define a superintendent as a permanent employee of a signatory employer, with no financial interest or stock ownership in the company, who supervises building tradesmen (including Operating Engineers) at the job site in the geographic area of the Plan.*
  4. Employment as an Operating Engineer overseas for a contractor with a pension agreement with this Trust.*
  5. Employment by an affiliated labor organization. This applies to individuals who worked on the staff of the Building Trades Department, the staff at the International Union, etc. It does NOT mean employment in another trade or craft. *
  6. Employment by a governmental or public agency in Southern California or Southern Nevada as an Operating Engineer.*
  7. Employment outside the geographic area covered by the Plan.*

*IMPORTANT: #3, #4, #5, #6 and #7 do not apply for permanent breaks in employment which occurred on or after July 1, 1976.

B. AFTER JULY 1, 1976.

General Rule
A “one-year-break-in-employment” is any Plan Year in which you fail to work at least 500 hours under the Plan. Under the “one-for-one” rule, a participant with one full Year of Service (or 1,000-hour year) will have a break-in-employment on the last day of the first Plan Year in which less than 500 hours are worked. Likewise, a participant with two full (less than three) Years of Service (or between 2,000 and 3,000 hours under the Plan) will have a break-in-employment on the last day of the second consecutive Plan Year in which less than 500 hours are worked each year. The same “one-for-one” limit on the number of consecutive years the participant may work less than 500 hours per year applies until such time as the Participant becomes vested in accordance with Article II, Section 5 of the Plan. As of July 1, 1985, you must have at least 5 one-year breaks before forfeiture can occur. The “one-for-one” rule may sometimes cause a break-in-employment when the old rule in effect before July 1, 1976, would not cause a break. Therefore, the Plan has provided a period of three years between July 1, 1976, and June 30, 1979, in which you are given the benefit of whichever of the two rules will allow avoiding a break.
Grace Periods
After July 1, 1976, you may obtain a “grace period” for periods of disability or military service. After July 1, 1985, you may also obtain a “grace period” for periods of maternity or paternity leave. You should contact the Fund Office if you think you qualify for a grace period.
Note
Payment of Union dues does not have any effect on the break-in-employment rules. Current Service Credits are not dependent upon Union membership.
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