You Take an Unpaid Leave of Absence
If you go on an unpaid leave of absence, you will continue to earn service credit under the Pacific Gas and Electric Retirement Plan. You may decide to continue the medical, dental, and vision coverage you elected but the amount you pay for such coverage may increase depending on the type of leave you are on and the duration of your leave. If you terminate your PG&E-sponsored medical plan coverage, you will no longer be eligible to participate in the Health Account because eligibility for the Health Account is tied to your enrollment in the Health Account Plan (HAP).
Basic Life and Basic Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage will continue at no cost to you for the duration of your leave. Voluntary AD&D coverage, Supplemental Life, and Dependent life coverage will remain active. Premiums wills be suspended while you are on leave. Upon return to work, deductions will resume and the suspended premiums will be deducted from your first payroll check.
Vacation Buy (VB) Day contributions under the VB Days Policy will be suspended and, if you do not return to work in the same calendar year, you will be paid out for any days purchased but not used or you will be billed for VB Days used but not paid for. If you do return to work in the same calendar year, your VB Day contributions will resume and you will have the balance of your VB Day costs deducted over the remaining months of the year. See "Vacation Buy Days" in the Time Off and Leaves section for more information.
You can only contribute to the Retirement Savings Plan (RSP) through payroll deductions, so if you take an unpaid leave your contributions will stop. However, when you return, your contributions will automatically resume at the last percentage rate you elected. If you have an RSP loan, you may elect to make payments directly to Fidelity, defer payments while you are on leave (up to 12 months) and re-amortize the loan when you return, or default on the loan and pay tax penalties.
Step One — Understand Your Options
Things to Consider
See…
Which type of unpaid leave of absence applies to my situation?
How will contributions to your Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), be affected?
Salary contributions will no longer be contributed to your Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) or your Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA).
Your HCFSA participation continues if you elect to contribute on an after-tax basis while you are on unpaid leave.
Your DCFSA participation stops while you are on unpaid leave.
What will happen to my Health Account participation?
If you do not continue enrollment in the Health Account Plan (HAP) during an unpaid leave of absence, then you will no longer be able to participate in the Health Account. Additionally, expenses for health care services incurred during the period of the leave when you were not enrolled in the HAP are not eligible for reimbursement.
If you re-enroll in the HAP as an active employee in the same calendar year, your Health Account balance will be reinstated.
How will contributions to your Retirement Savings Account and RSP loan payments be affected?
Salary contributions and loan repayments will be suspended while you are on leave. You may choose to make loan payments directly to Fidelity while you are out, or you may defer payments (up to 12 months) or default on your loan.
The following chart summarizes how your benefits are affected while you are on an unpaid leave of absence. As referenced in the chart:
  • The "monthly cost" is the monthly employee contribution amount paid the month prior to going on an unpaid leave of absence, unless you subsequently add or drop a dependent or if your monthly contribution otherwise changes; and
  • The twenty-four months of health care benefits continuation coverage and special provisions for Retirement Saving Plan contributions, withdrawals and loan repayments under the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA) apply to elections made on or after December 10, 2004.
Benefit Coverage for Each Unpaid Leave Type
Benefits
Medical
Personal
Military
Medical Plan
(including prescription drug and mental health and substance abuse treatment)
You may elect to continue coverage up to 12 months, paying the same monthly cost as active employees.
You may elect to continue coverage for the first three calendar months, paying the same monthly cost as active employees.
After the first three calendar months, you may elect to continue coverage, paying 100% of the total monthly cost. Coverage may continue up to a total of 12 months.
You may continue coverage, beyond the first three calendar months, up to 24 months during an Educational Leave, paying 100% of the total monthly cost.
You may elect to continue coverage for the first three calendar months, paying the same monthly cost as active employees.
After the first three calendar months, you may elect to continue coverage, paying 100% of the total monthly cost. Coverage may continue up to a total of 24 months.
You may elect to continue coverage throughout your Emergency Active Military Leave, paying the same monthly cost as active employees.
Dental Plan
Vision Plan
Basic Group Life Insurance and Basic Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance
Continues up to 12 months and is Company-paid.
Continues up to 12 months and is Company-paid.
You may continue coverage up to 24 months during an Educational Leave.
Continues for up to 12 months and is Company-paid.
Supplemental Life Insurance
Continues up to 12 months for most leave types, with employee paying back suspended premium costs upon return from leave.
Dependent Life Insurance
Continues up to 12 months for most leave types, with employee paying back suspended premium costs upon return from leave.
Voluntary AD&D Insurance
Continues up to 12 months for most leave types, with employee paying back suspended premium costs upon return from leave.
Vacation Buy Days (VB Days)
Your contributions for VB days will be suspended. If you do return to work in the same calendar year, your VB Day contributions will resume and you will have the balance of your VB Day costs deducted over the remaining months of the year. If you do not return to work in the same calendar year, at the end of the year, any funded but unused VB Days will be automatically paid out in January of the next year at the rate of pay at which they were originally purchased. Any used but unfunded VB Days will be billed for the value at the same rate of pay at which they were originally purchased. If payment is not made, the balance owed will be sent to a collection agency.
EAP
Continues.
Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA)
You must designate whether you wish to cancel or continue your monthly HCFSA contributions while you are on an unpaid leave. The Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) Election While on Unpaid Leave of Absence Form, which is included in your leave of absence packet, must be completed and returned to the PG&E Benefits Service Center within 15 days of the onset of your leave. See the Flexible Spending Accounts section for more information.
Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA)
Your participation in the DCFSA account ends at the end of the month in which your leave begins. Contributions will resume when you return to work if you return in the same calendar year. See the Flexible Spending Accounts section for more information.
Health Account
Your participation continues as long as you are enrolled in the Health Account Plan (HAP). If you do not continue coverage in the HAP, you cannot participate in the Health Account. Additionally, expenses for health care services incurred during the period of the leave when you are not enrolled in the HAP are not eligible for reimbursement.
Vacation/PTO
You continue to accrue vacation at your designated accrual rate during the first 240 cumulative hours of leave, including Emergency Active Military Leave, per calendar year. Additional time does not accrue if the leave is over 240 cumulative hours per calendar year. After 240 hours has been reached, if you remain on leave, additional time will not accrue until you return to work.
Holidays
Not entitled to holiday pay.
Sick Leave
Full-Time Employees:
  • Earned if you work in the calendar year.
Part-Time Employees:
  • A prorated amount of sick leave is earned if you work in the calendar year.
Retirement Plan
Full-Time Employees:
  • Continues; time on leave is credited as Company service.
Part-Time Employees:
  • Prorated credited service is earned if you work in the calendar year.
Retirement Savings Plan
Contributions suspended; time on leave is credited as Company service.
Contributions suspended; time on leave is credited as Company service. May make up contributions and receive Company matching contributions upon return to work.
Employee Discount
(Pacific Gas and Electric Company employees only)
Continues.
Note: For medical, dental and vision coverage, the Health Benefit Election Leave of Absence form must be completed and returned to the PG&E Benefits Service Center within 15 days of your unpaid leave date or you will be responsible to pay any missed premiums.
Military Leaves
Special rules regarding benefits and pay apply to Emergency Active Military Leave. Please refer to "Leaves of Absence" in the Time Off and Leaves section.
Step Two — Take Action
Take the actions described in the following table to make sure you have the benefits you need.
What to Do
For Information and Assistance
Initiating a Leave of Absence
  • A Leave of Absence must be initiated through the Company's Leave Administrator. Appropriate documentation must be submitted to your supervisor and/or the Leave Administrator for approval. Thirty days' advance notice is required when the leave is "foreseeable."
Review and return applicable forms
  • Review your Leave of Absence Package for forms to return to your supervisor, the Company's Leave Administrator and/or the PG&E Benefits Service Center.
  • Contact the Company's Leave Administrator if you have questions on the contents of your Leave of Absence Package and review "Leaves of Absence" in the Time Off and Leaves section.
  • If you have any questions about your benefits while on a Leave of Absence, call the PG&E Benefits Service Center at 866-271-8144 (open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time).
Benefit Changes While on Unpaid Leave
While on leave, if you are in the HAP administered by KPIC, you may change HAP claims administrators if you move to an area where Kaiser Permanente is no longer available or if you qualify for a HIPAA special enrollment period. If you move, you must notify the PG&E Benefits Service Center within 31 days of the move.
If you are on a leave of absence, you may make certain changes during Open Enrollment, and the elections you make will become effective on January 1 (note: changes to life insurance coverage may not take effect until you are once again considered active at work — see the Life and Accident Insurance Plans section of this Handbook). Employees on a leave of absence will be notified of the Open Enrollment period and provided with Open Enrollment materials. For information on Open Enrollment while on a leave of absence, you can access a copy of the most recent Open Enrollment materials online at www.mypgebenefits.com, or you can request a copy by calling the PG&E Benefits Service Center at 866-271-8144 (open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time).
If you return to work before the end of the year in which your leave began, your current elections, including any suspended DCFSA elections (but excluding any suspended HCFSA elections), will automatically resume effective the first day of the month after your return to work. DCFSA contributions, if applicable, will be taken at the same monthly rate as before your leave, unless you made changes due to an eligible change-in-status event. DCFSA expenses for services incurred during your unpaid leave will not be eligible for reimbursement.
If you did not elect to continue your HCFSA during your leave and you wish to reinstate your participation in the HCFSA when you return to work, you must call the PG&E Benefits Service Center within 31 days of your return to work. You may either elect to reinstate your original monthly amount or your original annual goal. HCFSA expenses for services incurred during your unpaid leave will not be eligible for reimbursement. If you do not call within 31 days, you will not be enrolled in this account for the remainder of the year.
Benefits Changes Effective January 1 While Still on Unpaid Leave in a New Year
Any election you make during the Open Enrollment period will become effective January 1 of the next year.
If you do not make changes during the Open Enrollment period, you will continue with the same HAP claims administrator (or the alternative HAP claims administrator indicated on your Enrollment Worksheet if your HAP claims administrator is no longer available due to a move), and dental and vision coverage with the same dependents, effective January 1 of the following year. In addition, if you do not actively enroll during Open Enrollment, you will not be able to participate in the HCFSA. You are not eligible to elect DCFSA during Open Enrollment when you are on leave.
When you return to work in the following year, you will receive another enrollment packet. You can change your elections for the remainder of the new year. Coverage will take effect the first of the month following receipt of your elections, provided they are received by the PG&E Benefits Service Center within 31 days of your return to work. At that time, you may also add any Eligible Dependents attained during your leave. In addition, you will be able to elect HCFSA and DCFSA and purchase VB Days under the VB Day Policy.
If you do not make elections for yourself and your dependents within 31 days of your return to work, you will have the same coverage you elected during Open Enrollment (or the default coverage described in the Open Enrollment materials). You will not be able to participate in the HCFSA or DCFSA. In addition, you will not be able to purchase VB Days under the VB Day Policy.