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SERVICE
SERVICE: EARNING CREDIT FOR A PENSION (ARTICLE 4)

The years you have worked in Covered Employment determine your eligibility for a pension, and the amount of your pension benefit at retirement.

Covered Employment is work for an Employer who has agreed to make contributions to the Pension Fund on your behalf. Under circumstances discussed below, periods of work for an Employer before contributions began may be considered Covered Employment. Hours of Service include all time for which you are entitled to pay from a Contributing Employer for Covered Employment.

PAST SERVICE: PENSION CREDIT FOR SERVICE BEFORE CONTRIBUTIONS BEGAN (SECTION 4.01(b))

You earn Past Service Pension Credit for hours worked in Covered Employment before contributions began on your behalf. For years before contributions were first made on your behalf, you are credited with one Pension Credit for each calendar year in which you worked for at least six months in Covered Employment. If you worked in Covered Employment less than six months in one of those calendar years, you are credited with one-half Pension Credit. A maximum of twenty Past Service Pension Credits may be given.

The date on which each local joined the Plan can be found in Section 4.07 of the Plan document. The Plan document is available on the Fund’s website at http://www.nasifund.org. You can also receive a hard copy of the Plan document by calling or writing to the Pension Fund office. The amount of your Past Service Credit will be verified by employment records, U.A. membership records for participating Locals and/or Health and Welfare records (if you provide an authorization for the NASI Welfare Fund to release this type of protected health information to the Pension Plan.).

It is important to note that if your Local Union or an Employer for whom you have worked in Covered Employment terminates its participation in the Fund, the Trustees have the authority to cancel any Pension Credits you may have earned for employment before contributions began.

Finally, to be eligible for Past Service Credit, you must either (1) have worked at least 4,000 hours in Covered Employment during the four year period ending two years after your Local Union's participation date, or (2) have earned three Future Service Pension Credits under the Plan, with at least two-tenths of a credit earned during the first two years of your Local's participation that are not canceled by a Permanent Break in Service.

FUTURE SERVICE: PENSION CREDIT FOR SERVICE AFTER CONTRIBUTIONS BEGAN (SECTION 4.01(a))

You earn Future Service Pension Credit for hours worked in Covered Employment after contributions began. You will be given one Pension Credit for each calendar year in which you work at least 1,700 hours in Covered Employment. You will be credited with a partial Pension Credit if you work fewer than 1,700 hours, as shown in the following table:

Hours You Work in Covered
Employment During a Calendar Year
Pension Credit for the
Calendar Year
1,700 or more 1.0
1,550 or more but fewer than 1,700 .9
1,400 or more but fewer than 1,550 .8
1,200 or more but fewer than 1,400 .7
1,000 or more but fewer than 1,200 .6
950 or more but fewer than 1,000 .5
750 or more but fewer than 950 .4
550 or more but fewer than 750 .3
350 or more but fewer than 550 .2
Fewer than 350 None

You may work more than 1,700 hours during a calendar year. While you can earn only one Pension Credit in any calendar year for calendar years after 1979, hours you work in excess of 1,700, for which contributions are actually received, will be placed in an “Hour Bank.” Hours may be drawn from the Hour Bank for years after 1974 in which you earn at least two-tenths of a Pension Credit but less than a full Pension Credit, or in which you work at least one hour in Covered Employment but do not earn two-tenths of a Pension Credit due to an on-the-job injury in Covered Employment for which you later receive a Social Security Disability Award The excess hours needed to give you a full Pension Credit, as well as a Year of Vesting Service, will be added to the number of actual hours worked in those years in which you worked at least 350 hours. The maximum number of hours that may be transferred from your Hour Bank to produce higher Pension Credit and Vesting Service is 3,400 over your entire career.

Any Hours in your Hour Bank on the Effective Date of your pension are canceled. However, if you return to Covered Employment after you retire or if you continue in Covered Employment after your Required Beginning Date, you will continue to have Hours in excess of 1700 for which contributions are received in any calendar year credited to an Hour Bank. This Hour Bank can only be applied to service after your first retirement date or your Required Beginning Date, as discussed above.

VESTING SERVICE AND BECOMING VESTED UNDER THE PLAN (SECTION 4.02)

Vesting Service is a special measure of time spent under Plan coverage that is used to determine your eligibility for a pension. You earn one year of Vesting Service for each calendar year (after contributions begin on your behalf) during which you work at least 950 Hours of Service 1 in Covered Employment. Vesting Service is granted in full years only. There are no provisions for granting partial years of Vesting Service if you work fewer than 950 Hours of Service in a calendar year.

You are also entitled to Vesting Service for certain periods in which you are not working in covered employment:

  • After December 31, 1975, if you work for a Contributing Employer in a job not covered by this Plan and that non-covered employment is "continuous with" (immediately before or after) Covered Employment with the same employer, your hours in that non-covered job after contributions began will also be counted towards years of Vesting Service.


  • Periods of disability for which Weekly Disability benefits are paid from the National Automatic Sprinkler Industry Welfare Fund will be counted towards Vesting Service up to a maximum of 501 hours per calendar year. Two periods of disability must be separated by a return to work under the Plan of at least ninety days, or they will be considered as a single period of disability.


  • After December 31, 1975, if you work for a Contributing Employer as an apprentice in a category of apprenticeship that isn't covered by the Plan, your hours in that non-covered category will be counted towards your years of Vesting Service, even if they are not "continuous with" your work in Covered Employment. Vesting Service for this type of work is limited to two years of Vesting Service, unless the collective bargaining agreement provides that an apprentice may be employed for more than two years in a non-covered category and the parties to the agreement obtain the Trustees' approval.

Vesting Service and Pension Credit are related since they are usually earned at the same time. If contributions are required to be made to the Fund on your behalf, then you are accumulating both Vesting Service and Pension Credit for each hour reported. Since a year of Vesting Service requires only 950 hours in a calendar year, as opposed to 1,700 hours for a full Pension Credit, you may earn Vesting Service at a faster rate than you earn Pension Credits.

BECOMING VESTED UNDER THE PLAN (SECTIONS 7.10 and 3.05)

The National Automatic Sprinkler Industry Pension Fund has reciprocal agreements with certain other pension funds sponsored in part by Local Unions of the United Association. If the contributions made on your behalf are forwarded to this Fund under a reciprocal agreement, you will get Pension Credits and Vesting Service under this plan. Since other pension funds often have different contribution rates, a proportional number of hours for Pension Credit purposes is determined by dividing the money received on your behalf from the reciprocal fund by the standard contribution rate for this fund, and multiplying your actual hours by the resulting fraction. This gives you credit proportionally adjusted from the credit you would have received if you had been working under this Fundís contribution rate, up to a maximum of one Pension Credit per year. For purposes of determining eligibility for a Disability Pension, Pension Credit will be given to you without a proportional adjustment.

You will receive Vesting Credit based on the actual number of hours worked under the reciprocal fund.

The Fund Office can tell you what other funds have a reciprocal agreement with this Fund.

You should remember that the rules and regulations of a reciprocal fund have no bearing on your rights under this Fund.

CREDIT FOR TIME SPENT IN MILITARY SERVICE (SECTION 4.05)

Vesting Service and Pension Credits will be given for time spent in the Armed Forces, provided you leave Covered Employment for military service and make yourself available to return to Covered Employment within the time prescribed by law. Pension Credit and Vesting Service will be given only to the extent required by law.

CREDIT FOR LEAVE UNDER THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT OF 1993 (SECTION 4.04)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid job protected leave each year for the employee's own illness, or to care for a seriously ill child, spouse or parent. In addition, the FMLA provides leave for the birth or placement of a child with the employee in the case of adoption or foster care. Employees eligible for leave under the FMLA are those who have been employed at least 12 months by the employer. An employee at a work site at which there are less than 50 employees is not eligible for FMLA leave unless the total number of employees within a 75 mile radius of the employee equals or is greater than 50.

Eligible employees are entitled to credit for vesting purposes under the pension plan while on FMLA leave. You will receive that amount of vesting credit necessary to insure that you do not sustain a Break in Service for the period during which you are on FMLA leave. If you have any questions about the FMLA, you should contact your employer or the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division, listed in most telephone directories under the U.S. Government, Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration.

LOSING PENSION CREDITS AND YEARS OF VESTING SERVICE (Section 4.03)

Once you are vested under the Plan as previously described, you do not lose your Pension Credits or years of Vesting Service, regardless of the length of time you are away from Covered Employment. However, all Pension Credits, Vesting Service and the hours in a Hour Bank will be temporarily or permanently lost if you separate from Covered Employment before you are vested. This happens when you have a Break in Service.

The rules on Breaks in Service are as follows:

  • One-Year Break in Service (Section 4.03(b))

    You have one-year Break in Service if you do not complete at least 350 Hours of Service in any calendar year after 1975. You can repair the break if, before you have a Permanent Break in Service, you earn a year of Vesting Service, that is, earn 950 Hours of Service in a calendar year.

  • Permanent Break in Service after December 31, 1985 (Section 4.03(c))

    After 1985, if you have earned from one to five years of Vesting Service, you cannot have a Permanent Break in Service until the number of your consecutive one-year Breaks in Service equals five. If you have at least six but less than ten years of Vesting Service, you have a Permanent Break in Service when the number of your consecutive one-year Breaks in Service equals your previously earned years of Vesting Service.

  • Permanent Break in Service after December 31, 1975, but before January 1, 1986 (Section 4.03(c))

    You had a Permanent Break in Service if you were not vested and had consecutive one-year Breaks in Service, including at least one after 1975 but before 1986, that equaled your previously earned years of Vesting Service. For example, suppose you had earned three years of Vesting Service, then were inactive and had three consecutive one-year Breaks in Service. At that point, all of your previously earned Pension Credits and Vesting Service, as well as any hours in your Hour Bank would have been permanently canceled.

  • Permanent Break in Service Before January 1, 1976 (Section 4.03(d))

    You had a Permanent Break in Service if, before January 1, 1976, you were not vested and failed to work at least 350 hours within any two consecutive Plan Years. If you had a Permanent Break in Service before January 1, 1976, all previously earned credit under the Plan was permanently canceled.

  • Effect of a Permanent Break-in-Service (Section 4.03(e))



    If you are not vested under the Plan and have a Permanent Break-in-Service, your previous Pension Credits, years of Vesting Service and any hours in your Hour Bank are permanently canceled.

  • Exceptions.

    There are certain exceptions to the Plan's rules governing Breaks in Service. Even though you are not working in Covered Employment, you do not suffer a Permanent Break in Service based on periods for which:
    • you are engaged in service with the Armed Forces of the United States and return to Covered Employment within the time prescribed by law; (Section 4.05)


    • you are disabled to the extent that you cannot work in the sprinkler industry and that fact is established to the satisfaction of the Trustees; (Section 4.03(b)(2))


    • you are earning credit under the National Automatic Sprinkler Metal Trades Pension Plan; (Section 3.11)


    • you are away from Covered Employment because of (1) your pregnancy, (2) the birth of you child, (3) the placement a child with you in connection with adoption, or (4) the care for such child for a period beginning immediately after such birth or placement. You will be credited with a maximum of 501 Hours of service for parental leave to prevent a one-year Break in Service. (Section 4.03(b)(4)(1));


    • you are employed solely as a fire sprinkler inspector for the federal government or a state, county, or municipal government or other governmental unit or agency, provided you had fifteen or more years of Pension Credit when you left Covered Employment (Section 4.03(b)(5));


    • you are not working because you are on family or medical leave because of your own illness or to care for a seriously ill child, spouse or parent in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (Section 4.04); or


    • you are otherwise entitled to Pension Credit or Vesting Service under the Plan.

An individual who is a Participant on or after January 1, 2000, and who has incurred a Permanent Break-in-Service, will have a period of employment with a non-reciprocal pension plan affiliated with a United Association local union counted as if it were Covered Employment in determining whether a Permanent Break-in-Service has occurred, provided such period of employment is documented to the satisfaction of the Trustees.

BREAKS IN CONTINUITY AND THEIR EFFECT ON CALCULATING BENEFITS (SECTION 7.06(c))

If you do not earn at least two-tenths of a Pension Credit during any period of two consecutive calendar years and Pension Credits are not forfeited because of a Permanent Break in Service as discussed earlier (see page ___), you may be subject to a Break in Continuity. If a Break in Continuity occurs, your pension benefit may be calculated using more than one benefit rate.

If you have a Break in Continuity, your Pension Credits earned before the Break in Continuity will be multiplied by the benefit rate in effect when you last earned Pension Credit before the Break in Continuity. Any Pension Credits earned after the Break in Continuity will be multiplied by the benefit rates in effect during the last Plan Year in which you earned at least two-tenths of a Pension Credit. (See example #2 on page ____.) The Plan has one exception to this rule. If you retire before the end of the Plan Year immediately following the last Plan Year in which you earned at least two-tenths of a Pension Credit, you will get the benefit rate in effect at the time of your retirement. If you retire at a later date (after the end of the Plan Year immediately following the year in which you last earned Pension Credit), you will receive the rate in effect when you last earned Pension Credit. (Section 7.06(a)).

Effective for Participants retiring on or after January 1, 1993, you can repair a Break in Continuity if you return to Covered Employment. In order to repair a Break in Continuity, you must return to Covered Employment following the Break in Continuity and earn years of Vesting Service equal to the greater of:

  • the total number of years of the Break in Continuity, or


  • 5 years


A break in Continuity will not occur during any period that you are away from Covered Employment if:

  • you retire on a Disability Pension, but recover and return to work under the Plan within one year of recovery and earn at least one additional year of Vesting Service (Section 7.06(c)(2)).


  • you are receiving workers compensation benefits, or are disabled to the extent that you cannot work in the sprinkler industry. (You must supply evidence of disability to the satisfaction of the Trustees.) (Section 7.06(c)(3)).


  • you spend time in the Armed Forces of the United States, but return to work following your discharge within the time prescribed by applicable federal law. (Section 7.06(c)(4)).


For an example of the effect of a Break in Continuity on the calculation of a monthly pension benefit, see the section entitled "Regular Pension" on page ___.




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