2. WHEN YOUR BENEFITS BECOME NON-FORFEITABLE
For employees who were active Participants in 1999 or after, through December 31, 2008, your right to benefits under the Plan "vested" (that is, become non-forfeitable) once you earned five years of Credited Service. To qualify for five-year vesting, you must have performed at least 160 hours of Credited Service in 1998 and one hour in 1999, or 160 hours in 1999 or any Plan Year thereafter.
If you were not an active Participant in 1999 or thereafter, your vesting status is determined under the Plan rules in effect as of your last covered employment. For Participants who worked in covered employment on or after July 1, 1976, but not after 1998, vesting required ten years of Vesting Credit regardless of age, or five years of valid Vesting Credit at or after age 55.
B. BREAKS IN SERVICE
If you were active but not vested on the date your employer ceased to have an obligation to contribute to the Plan on your behalf, your interest under the Plan will not vest and your non-vested years of Credited Service will be forfeited, because you can no longer earn any additional vesting credit under the Plan.
If you had a temporary break in service already in effect at the end of the 2008 Plan Year, your interest under the Plan will not vest and your non-vested years of Credited Service will be forfeited, because you cannot return to covered employment and earn additional Vesting Credit.
Through the 2008 Plan Year, or the date your employer ceased to have an obligation to contribute to the Plan on your behalf, if earlier, the minimum Credited Service in a Plan Year to avoid a break in service was 160 hours. If your right to receive benefits had not yet vested, your failure to perform the required minimum Credited Service in a Plan Year caused a temporary break in service. If you did not then return to covered employment within the required time period for you, and perform the required minimum service, your break in service became permanent. When that happened, your previously credited, non-vested years of credited service were forfeited and no longer counted, either for vesting or benefit credit. The required time period for returning to covered employment for any individual was the greater of: a) five (5) Plan Years; or b) the number of non-vested years of Credited Service you earned prior to the temporary break in service.
If you separated from Industry Service before these rules were adopted, your break in service and vesting status are determined under the rules in effect as of your last Credited Service.
Examples: 1. Let's say that you had eight years of Vesting Credit for covered employment ending in 1992. At that point, you would have had until the end of 2000 to protect your Plan benefits by performing 160 or more hours of covered employment in a Plan Year. If you performed the required service in 1997, your break in service would have ended. You would not be vested, because you would only have nine years of Vesting Credit, and have not yet qualified for five-year vesting. However, you would have a new nine-year period (ending in 2006) to avoid a permanent break in service.
2. Let's say instead that you have eight years of Vesting Credit for covered employment ending in 1994, and you performed at least 160 hours of covered employment in 1999. You avoided a permanent break in service by returning within the required period. You would also be vested, because you would have met all the requirements for five-year vesting.
No Plan Year counted toward a temporary or permanent break in service during a period in which one of the following applied, provided you had returned to covered employment within 90 days of the end of the period:
- You were continuously incapacitated by sickness or injury from working under a collective bargaining agreement.
- You were in the military service.
- Your failure to earn the required minimum of one hundred sixty (160) hours of Vesting Credit was due to an absence starting on or after January 1, 1985, as a result of pregnancy, birth or adoption of a child, or caring for such child immediately after birth or adoption placement. The time spent for these purposes is counted either in the year of occurrence or in the next year, whichever is required to prevent a break in service.