State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio

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Leave of Absence

1. A member was on a leave of absence and did not contribute. Can the member complete contributions and receive service credit?

 

The Revised Code authorizes the purchase of credit for some absences and leaves. Purchases are allowed if the member was:

  • Prevented from making contributions because of illness or injury;
  • Granted a leave of absence under Section 3319.13, 3319.131 or 3345.28, R.C.;
  • On a leave granted pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act; or
  • On a nonpaid professional leave, not granted under Section 3345.28 (subject to board approval).

Members can purchase up to two years for each period of approved leave or absence.

2. What is the procedure for completing contributions and receiving service credit?

 

The procedure varies depending on when the leave occurred. There are two types of leaves, both of which require different processing by the employer.

Current fiscal year absence or leave: This interest-free purchase must be made within the same fiscal year that the absence or leave occurred. No application is required to purchase this leave. Please note: Payment must be received by June 30 of the same fiscal year the leave occurred. There are two options for payment on a current absence or leave:

Option 1 — The member returns from an unpaid absence or leave and wishes to purchase the leave through remaining payrolls, if available.

  • Step 1: Employer calculates the member contributions due and increases the contribution deductions in remaining payrolls during the year.
  • Step 2: Include contributions on payroll reports and annual report.
  • Step 3: Employer contributions should accompany member contributions (except for state foundation program employers).

Option 2 — The member is on an unpaid absence or leave and wishes to pay for the leave in a lump sum.

  • Step 1: Employer calculates the member contributions due and receives contributions directly from the member in a check made payable to STRS Ohio.
  • Step 2: Complete the Lump Sum Purchase of Current Fiscal Year Absence or Leave Form and send it to STRS Ohio along with the member's check.
  • Step 3: Employers will be invoiced for employer contribution amounts.

Past absence or leave: This purchase can be made at any time after the end of the fiscal year in which the absence or leave ended. The member will pay interest on both the member and employer contributions. A Certification of Past Period of Absence form is required. This form is available for the member to complete and submit online or by mail. (The member may contact STRS Ohio to request the form by mail.) The employer must certify the dates of absence or leave and contract salary, and return the form to STRS Ohio. STRS Ohio will calculate the member’s cost to purchase credit. The employer is billed for employer contributions once member payment is received.

3. Who is responsible for determining the cost of a current fiscal year absence or leave?

 

Employers are responsible for calculating contributions due for a current fiscal year absence or leave.

4. How is the cost to the member determined for a current fiscal year absence or leave?

 

The cost is based on the amount of earnings the member would have earned had they worked. If the member worked a portion of the year, the cost is based on the earnings the member would have earned less their actual earnings multiplied by the contribution rate for the year the leave occurred. STRS Ohio has a Current Leave of Absence Cost calculator available to assist you.

5. One of our employees was on a leave of absence last year. Can they purchase that time via payroll deduction?

 

No, past absences or leaves are not eligible for purchase via payroll deduction.

6. We granted a leave of absence for a teacher over 10 years ago. Do we have to pay the employer contributions for this time?

 

Yes, any time an employer grants a leave of absence they are incurring a future liability. In this situation, the employer who granted the leave would be liable for the employer contributions.

7. An employee who was on a leave of absence during the prior fiscal year wants to purchase this leave. Will interest be charged?

 

Yes, this would be considered a past leave of absence and interest will be charged.

8. An employee is taking a leave during the current school year. How long do they have to purchase the leave interest-free?

 

A leave that is purchased in the same fiscal year it occurs will not be charged interest. No interest will be charged if documentation and payment for this leave are received by STRS Ohio no later than June 30 of the same fiscal year.

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