Last updated: February 22, 2012

On November 18, 2011, the Massachusetts Legislature enacted major pension reform legislation. One of the new provisions allows members who took a maternity leave of absence or resigned from teaching due to maternity before January 1, 1975, and who retired before September 1, 2000 at less than the 80% maximum benefit, to receive up to four years of additional creditable service. Eligible retirees do not have to purchase this service, but must apply to receive this credit. Retirees who qualify for this credit will receive an increase in their retirement benefits that are payable after April 1, 2012.

Frequently asked questions about this provision

  1. Who is eligible to receive this maternity leave credit?
  2. I originally retired at the maximum benefit of 80% of my three-year salary average. Will I be able to receive an increase in my benefit?
  3. I worked as a substitute teacher during my maternity leave, and purchased credit for that service prior to my retirement date. Can I receive additional credit now?
  4. How much additional credit may I receive?
  5. Will I have to pay for this additional credit?
  6. How do I apply for the maternity leave service credit?
  7. Is there a deadline for applying for this credit?
  8. Will the MTRS acknowledge receipt of my application?
  9. If I qualify for the maternity leave service credit...
    a) Will my benefits be adjusted retroactively to my original retirement date?
    b) When will my benefits be adjusted?

1) Who is eligible to receive this maternity leave credit? 

Members of the MTRS who:

  • retired from the MTRS before September 1, 2000, at less than the maximum benefit of 80% of their three-year salary average;
  • took a leave of absence or resigned for maternity or adoption purposes beginning before January 1, 1975;
  • were either a member in service of the Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement System, or a member in service of the Boston Retirement System as a teacher, within the
  • nine months immediately before the birth or adoption of their child; and,
  • were alive on April 2, 2012.

2) I originally retired at the maximum benefit of 80% of my three-year salary average. Will I be able to receive an increase in my benefit? 

No, the maximum retirement benefit is still 80% of your three-year salary average. Therefore, the maternity leave service credit will not increase benefits for members who originally retired at 80%.

3) I worked as a substitute teacher during my maternity leave, and purchased credit for that service prior to my retirement date. Can I receive additional credit now? 

Maybe. You are not allowed to receive double credit for the same period of service. However, if you did not receive full-time credit for the period you were on maternity leave, you will be eligible to receive the difference between the length of your maternity leave and the amount of service credit you previously purchased, not to exceed four years. For example, if you took a two-year maternity leave from 9/1/1965 to 6/30/1967, and purchased credit for 90 days (0.5 year) of intermittent substitute service that you rendered during your leave, you will be eligible to receive 1.5 years of creditable service for your maternity leave (2.0 years – 0.5 year = 1.5 years).

4) How much additional credit may I receive? 

You may receive up to a maximum of four years of additional credit, based on the length of your maternity leave(s). For example, if you took a one-year maternity leave in 1970 for the birth of your first child, and then another one-year maternity leave in 1973 for the birth of your second child, you will receive a total of two years of additional credit, provided you did not purchase credit for any service that you may have rendered (for example, substitute service) during these two years.

5) Will I have to pay for this additional credit? 

No—there is no cost to you, as this is not a service purchase.

6) How do I apply for the maternity leave service credit? 

You must complete and submit to the MTRS a Chapter 176 Pre-1975 Maternity Leave Service Application, and, for each leave, attach a photocopy of your child's birth or adoption certificate. The MTRS mailed this form to all potentially eligible retirees in February 2012. If you have not applied for or received this credit, but believe that you are eligible, please contact us .

7) Is there a deadline for applying for this credit? 

No, but we will process applications on a first-come, first-served basis.

8) Will the MTRS acknowledge receipt of my application? 

Yes, within two to four weeks after we receive your completed application, we will send you a letter to acknowledge its receipt.

9) If I qualify for the maternity leave service credit… 

a) Will my benefits be adjusted retroactively to my original retirement date? 

No, the maternity leave service credit provision may only be applied to benefits that are payable after April 1, 2012.

b) When will my benefits be adjusted? 

After you submit your completed application and required documents, the MTRS will review your application, and determine whether you meet the eligibility requirements. If you qualify for the maternity leave service credit, the MTRS will adjust your benefits as soon as possible, but, most likely, not earlier than 90 days from our receipt of your application. Benefit adjustments processed after April 2012 will be payable retroactively to April 2, 2012.