How unpaid leave affects your Gold State Super

At some point in your working career, you may need to take unpaid leave. Your unpaid leave could impact your super and your insurance cover, depending on the length of time you take and the reason why you take it. On this page you’ll find information about the impact of unpaid leave and the options you will need to consider.

What is Recognised Unpaid Leave?

Recognised Unpaid Leave includes:

  • Parental leave
  • Sick leave
  • Any period of unpaid leave where normal employee entitlements, such as annual leave, sick leave or long service leave continue to accrue
  • Any other period of unpaid leave that your employer formally agrees to be treated as Recognised Unpaid Leave for super purposes. If your unpaid leave is approved on this basis, your employer needs to let us know in writing.

All periods of Recognised Unpaid Leave are considered ‘good service’ for super purposes. During ‘good service’ your Gold State Super benefits will continue to accrue as normal.

What is Unrecognised Unpaid Leave?

Unrecognised Unpaid Leaves includes:

  • Unpaid leave that is taken for personal reasons, such as an extended overseas holiday
  • Any period of unpaid leave that does not qualify as Recognised Unpaid Leave

Unrecognised Unpaid Leave will impact your super entitlements.

How unpaid leave can affect your Gold State Super benefit

If you take any period of Recognised or Unrecognised Unpaid Leave for less than three months, it won’t affect your Gold State Super membership and your employer is not required to inform us.

You will still need to make contributions during your unpaid leave.

Here is a guide to how your unpaid leave can affect your Gold State Super benefit.

Unpaid leave

Taking unpaid leave

Membership and employer notification

Contributions

Insurance cover1

Period of less than three months leave

Recognised Unpaid Leave  and Unrecognised Unpaid Leave

Your Gold State Super membership is not affected

Your employer does not need to inform us

You still need to make member contributions to your Gold State Super account

Your insurance cover is not affected

Period of more than three months leave

Recognised Unpaid Leave

Your Gold State Super membership is not affected

Your employer needs to notify us in writing

There are three options available regarding contributions while you’re on unpaid leave

(See options below)

The insurance cover you receive will depend on the contribution option you choose

(See options below)

Unrecognised Unpaid Leave

Your Gold State Super membership entitlement will be affected

Your employer needs to notify us in writing

You are not able to contribute to your Gold State Super account.

The period will not be counted as service in the calculation of your Final Benefit

Your Gold State Super insurance cover will automatically lapse, or you can pay an insurance premium to maintain your cover

If you choose not to pay the premium and are permanently disabled or die while on leave, the insured component of your benefit will be calculated as if you had Minimum Cover (as defined in the Gold State Super essentials brochure)

Download the Gold State Super essentials brochure

Your contributions and Recognised Unpaid Leave

While you’re on Recognised Unpaid Leave, you can choose from three contribution options.

Option 1 Defer contributions (default option)

You can defer your contributions until you return to work. This means:

  • To avoid paying interest, you will need to pay the deferred contributions owing for your period of unpaid leave in the same amount of time you took as unpaid leave. For example, if you take six months unpaid leave and choose to defer your contributions, you have a maximum of six months to pay the contributions owing following your return to work if you want to avoid paying interest.
  • In accordance with legislation, we may charge interest on any amounts outstanding at the end of the defined period.

If you choose this option, your account operates as if you are at work, meaning both your normal Gold State Super benefits and insurance cover for death and disability will continue to accrue at the current rate.

Option 2 Continue contributions

When on Recognised Unpaid Leave, you can continue to make your regular Gold State Super contributions by either:

  • Sending your normal contribution amount to us each fortnight
  • Paying the contributions in advance to cover your period of unpaid leave

If you select this option, your account operates as if you are at work, meaning both your normal Gold State Super benefits and insurance cover for death and disability will continue to accrue at the current rate.

Option 3 Reduced benefit option

If you decide not to pay any Gold State Super contributions for your period of leave, your chosen contribution rate during this period will change to 0%. This means:

  • Your Gold State Super benefit will still accrue over your period of leave, but your Average Contribution Rate will be reduced.
  • Normal Gold State Super benefits and your insurance cover for death and permanent disability will be reduced in line with your Average Contribution Rate.
  • When you return to work, you can increase your contribution rate up to 7% for the period of time needed to bring your Average Contribution Rate back up to 5%.

You can apply to change your contribution rate at any time by writing to us. Once we receive your request, your change will take effect from the beginning of the next contribution period.

If you retire, die or become totally and permanently disabled before your Average Contribution Rate reaches its previous level, your benefit will be reduced.

You might want to seek financial advice as to whether Option 3 is suitable for you.

Choosing your contribution option

First, your employer will let us know about your Recognised Unpaid Leave. We will then write to you asking you to choose one of the available options.

Please let us know your choice within one month of receiving our letter. If you don’t let us know your selection within one month, you will automatically be deemed to have chosen Option 1 - ‘Defer contributions’.

1 Insurance cover is only available to members under age 60.

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Page last updated 28 April 2017