Calculating and Reporting Breaks in Service

The OSA occasionally receives questions from relief association trustees about how to report breaks in service for a member and when breaks in service are deducted from a member’s creditable service time. In general, relief associations may only credit a member with service for periods during which the member was active and complied with all minimum service requirements established by the affiliated fire department and all minimum membership requirements established by the relief association.

The OSA is aware of only limited instances in which a relief association may provide active service credit to a member who did not meet the minimum service and membership requirements. These limited instances include times when a member is absent from firefighting service due to service in the uniformed services.

Minnesota law permits relief associations to prorate service credit on a monthly basis, and to define in the bylaws what constitutes a "month." The bylaw definition of a "month" must require a calendar month to have at least 16 days of active service. If the bylaws allow service credit to be prorated on a monthly basis but do not define a "month," a "month" must be a completed calendar month of active service measured from the member's date of entry to the same date in the subsequent calendar month.

If a member has a break in active service because the member did not meet the minimum service or membership requirements, or because the member had requested a leave of absence, the break in service should be reported on the relief association’s annual reporting forms filed with our office. Relief associations should not adjust a member’s entry date or separation date to account for breaks in service.

See the OSA’s Statement of Position on Firefighter Service Credit Determinations for additional information.

Published last in the May 2023 Pension Newsletter