A break-in-service occurs if you fail to work 11 weeks of covered employment in a calendar year. In general, if you have a break-in-service, you lose your status as an active participant under the plan. Your accumulated benefit service and vesting service are cancelled if the break becomes “permanent.” There are both “one-year breaks” and “permanent breaks.” One-year breaks are temporary and can be repaired.
You incur a one-year break in service in any calendar year in which you do not have at least 11 weeks of covered employment. (You would not have a break-in-service if, after working in covered employment, you continued to work for the same employer.) There are also certain situations that entitle you to non-working credits and prevent you from incurring a permanent break-in-service. You can repair a one-year break in service by working at least 11 weeks in covered employment in a calendar year.
If you are not vested, you can incur a permanent break and lose your benefit service and vesting service accumulated under the plan.
If you leave covered employment and you are not vested, you would have a permanent break when your consecutive one-year breaks total the greater of five years or your years of vesting service before the break.
If you are vested, you cannot lose your vesting or benefit service.
If you are absent from work due to pregnancy, birth, adoption or immediate post-natal child care, you will be credited during such period of absence with the additional hours of service required to prevent a break-in-service in the year of the absence or the following year. These hours are credited solely for purposes of preventing a break-in-service and do not count toward vesting or benefit service.
You had accrued two years of vesting service and two years of benefit service. You also had five consecutive one-year breaks-in-service. Because the five consecutive one-year breaks is greater than the two years of vesting service, you would have a permanent break which cancels all years of benefit service and years of vesting service earned.
Because you returned to covered employment and worked at least 11 weeks in covered employment before incurring a permanent break, your temporary one-year breaks were repaired.