Pension / Provident Funds
Pension Scheme and Provident Fund
The Western Province Building Industry Pension Scheme and Provident Fund (‘the Funds’) provide retirement; disability and life assurance benefits as well as funeral cover for employees in the building industry and their dependants.
The Funds are governed by a Board, which consists of member and employer representatives.
The Pension Scheme started in October 1967 and the Provident Fund in November 1997. Benefits of members, who opted to convert to the Provident Fund, have been made paid-up in the Pension Scheme and continue to earn investment returns until the members leave the industry.
New members have a choice to belong to either the Pension Scheme or the Provident Fund. The main features of the Funds are explained in this booklet, which is issued as a general guide to members. However, the booklet does not replace or override the rules of the Pension Scheme or Provident Fund in any way. Copies of the rules are available to members.
Any queries regarding the Funds can be addressed to:
The Bargaining Council for the Building Industry
Private Bag X29
How do the Funds work?
The Pension Scheme and Provident Fund are easy to understand.
Both Funds work like a savings account. Every month, you and your employer pay money into the Fund. Specialist investment managers invest this money to make it grow. Every year that you are a member of the Fund, the profit made from investing the contributions are added to your ‘account’ in the form of interest. The size of the final benefit you will receive depends on how much you and your employer contribute to the Fund and how well the Fund’s investments perform. This type of fund is known as a ‘defined contribution fund’.
On retirement, the entire benefit from the Provident Fund can be taken as a cash lump sum, but it is then fully taxable at your average tax rate once any tax exemptions have been taken into account. Tax on the lump sum may be deferred by selecting a monthly pension instead, which is then taxed as ordinary monthly income.
The Pension Scheme allows a maximum amount of one-third to be taken in cash on retirement, after tax exemptions have been taken into account.
Who may join?
Employees in the industry with compulsory contributions in terms of the Bargaining Council Agreements, and any other category of persons allowed by the Council to participate in the Funds.
When does membership start?
Membership starts when your employer pays your first contribution to the Bargaining Council.
When does membership end?
You remain a member of the Fund until you become entitled to your benefit.
How much are the contributions and how are they paid?
You and your employer share the cost of providing you with benefits.
Every week that you work in the industry, your employer will deduct your contribution from your weekly wage, as stipulated in the wage agreement. Your employer contributes a similar amount and pays the total amount to the Council, to be paid over to the Fund.
The total weekly contribution is approximately 15% of your wage, which includes the cost of insured benefits (life cover, disability cover and funeral benefits) and administration charges.
How is my annual wage calculated for purposes of the Fund?
Annual wage equals the minimum prescribed wage according to the wage agreement. This is usually determined on 1 November and remains the same until 31 October of every year.
Contributions and benefits are based on this wage.
3. Summary of Benefits
Normal Retirement Age
The normal retirement age is 60.
You may retire early on the last day of any month once you have reached 55 years of age. Retirement between ages 50 and 55 will only be allowed by the Board for reasons of ill-health due to the arduous nature of work in the industry.
On retirement, an amount equal to your share of the Fund becomes available.
Your share of the Fund is equal to:
- Your Member’s Portion (all of your contributions to the Fund, plus any amounts that you may have transferred from a previous fund, plus interest earned from investing these amounts).
- The net portion of your employer’s contributions after deduction of the cost of insurance benefits and administration charges, plus any amounts transferred from a previous fund, plus interest earned from investing these amounts.
On retirement from the Provident Fund, you have two options with regard to your share of the Fund:
- You can take it as cash and invest it as you wish.
- You can buy a pension from a registered insurance company, using all or a portion of your share of the Fund. The registered insurance company will then pay you a pension for the rest of your life.
On retirement from the Pension Scheme, you have the following option with regard to your share of the Fund:
- You can take a maximum of one-third in cash.
- The remaining two-thirds will be used to buy a pension from a registered insurance company. The registered insurance company will then pay you a pension.
If you take cash from any of the Funds, it is taxable at your average tax rate once any tax exemptions have been taken into account. Tax on the lump sum may be deferred by selecting a monthly pension benefit instead.
Purchase of pensions
- The pension referred to above must be purchased from a registered insurer, selected by the member, with the member as the owner of the policy.
- The pension must be payable at least until the death of the member. It may be a single-life pension, a joint and survivorship pension guaranteed for at least 5 years, or a flexible living annuity if the Fund value exceeds R500 000,00.
Death and Disability Benefits
For a member to qualify for Death and Disability Benefits:
(a) A contract of employment or employer/employee relationship must exist between the employer and the member.
(b) This contract of employment or employer/employee relationship must be in place for at least 40 working days prior to the event-giving rise to the claim for death or disability benefits.
(c) Contributions to the Pension Scheme or Provident Fund with respect to the member must be up to date for 40 working days mentioned in (b) in the last 50 working days. If no contribution is payable for a legitimate reason (such as lay-off or illness) for some period during the 40 working days, the 40 working days will be extended by the number of days that this period lasted.
(d) If the member dies or is permanently disabled within 30 days of ending his/her employment, the member will still be entitled to death or disability benefits.
Death Benefits Amount and form of payment
If a member dies before claiming a benefit from the Fund, a life insurance benefit equal to a multiple of the member’s annual wage is payable in accordance with the following table and provisions:
|Number of WeeklyContributions||Benefit Amount as Multiple of Annual Wage|
|Up to 10 weeks||Nil, except: in the event of an accident: 1½|
|From 11 to 97 weeks||1½|
|From 98 to145 weeks||2½|
|From 146 to 195 weeks||3½|
|196 weeks or more||4|
Benefits payable in respect of members who do not qualify for a life insurance benefit
If a member under the normal retirement age dies before retirement, an amount equal to the member’s share of the Fund is payable.
Form of payment of life insurance benefit to eligible members:
- If the member is survived by a spouse, the spouse will have the option to either purchase a pension with the total of the equitable share of the Funds and the life insurance benefit, OR to commute the total benefit into cash.
- If the member is not survived by a spouse, the equitable share of the Funds and the full life insurance benefit will be payable to your dependants or nominees.
Funeral Scheme Benefits
In order to qualify for the under mentioned benefits, a member is required to have at least 13 weekly contributions (65 days) in the 150 days immediately preceding the claim,
1 weekly contribution (5 days) in the week preceding the claim.
The following amounts are payable as a lump sum:
Member : R10 000
Spouse : R10 000
Children 14 to 21 years old : R10 000
Children 0 to 13 years old : R 6 000
Stillborn child : R 6 000
(Disabled child is covered for life)
Cover for children aged 21 is extended to 25 for full-time students.
Cover in respect of the principal member, qualifying spouse and qualifying children has a waiting period of six months in the event of death due to natural causes. Therefore, during the first six months after the commencement of deductions, the principal member, qualifying spouse and qualifying children will only be covered in the event of death due to unnatural causes.
This benefit ceases one year after normal retirement age. Therefore, members and dependants will be covered for one year after retirement without further contributions.
If a member becomes totally and permanently disabled before age 55 and submits satisfactory medical evidence to the Council, a disability benefit will be granted. During the first 12 months, in order to qualify for a disability benefit you only have to be totally disabled to do your suitable occupation at your own employer. After 12 months, you need to be totally and permanently disabled for your own or any other suitable occupation at any employer. The scheme also allows for partial disablement and a claim will be considered if you are partially disabled, with a reduction in income of more than 25%.
The insured disability benefit for disabled members is an amount equal to a monthly pension in accordance with the following table and provisions:
|Number of WeeklyContributions||Benefit as Percentage of Monthly Wage *|
|Up to 10 weeks||Nil, except in the event of an accident: 30%|
|From 111 to 97 weeks||30%|
|From 98 to 145 weeks||40%|
|From 146 to 195 weeks||50%|
|196 weeks or more||60%|
* Monthly wage equals annual wage divided by 12.
This benefit remains payable until the member recovers, dies or reaches normal retirement age, whatever occurs first.
While the member is disabled, he/she remains a member of the Fund. The member’s contributions and those of the employer continue and are based on the member’s wage at the time of becoming disabled.
The member also remains covered for death benefits before retirement and these benefits are also based on his/her wage at the time of becoming disabled. When the income benefit ends at retirement age the usual retirement benefits become payable.
Pre-existing Medical Conditions
The policy conditions stipulate that if a member becomes disabled within 12 months of his/her entry date or 1 December 2005, whichever is the later, due to a condition for which he/she received medical treatment during the 6 months immediately prior to these dates, a lower benefit or no benefit may be payable.
A member who leaves the industry before retirement may select any of the following options:
The member must give the Board written notice of his/her intention to leave the industry. A waiting period of 12 months applies. Upon the expiry of the waiting period, you will become entitled to a cash refund equal to your share of the Fund.
Optional paid-up benefit
A member may request the Board in writing to leave his/her share of the Fund in that Fund, in order to receive his/her paid-up benefit secured in terms of the rules of the Fund at his/her retirement date.
Transfer to another fund
A member may choose to transfer the withdrawal benefit to another fund that has been established for retirement benefits and has been approved by the Board for this purpose.
4. Housing Loans
A member who wishes to purchase a residential property including a plot or to renovate existing housing for the purpose of enlarging the existing accommodation occupied by the member or his/her dependants, may apply through the Council for a housing loan.
5. Investment Strategy
The Building Industry Funds are defined contribution funds, which means that the individual member carries the risk of good or poor investment returns. The investment returns earned on a member’s accumulated fund value and the contributions paid into the Fund, have a significant effect on the value of a member’s retirement benefit.
For this reason, the Board has adopted a prudent investment strategy that aims to provide growth, but also to protect capital to a large extent. The Board has also appointed various investment managers in order to spread the risk.
The Board is responsible for monitoring these managers and making sure they perform in accordance with their benchmarks and peers.
6. Nomination of Beneficiaries
Why should beneficiaries be nominated?
Death benefits from the retirement fund do not form part of your estate on death and, consequently, cannot be distributed in terms of a will. The only way in which you can give an indication of how the funds should be distributed when you die, is by nominating beneficiaries. However, the eventual distribution is subject to the discretion of the Board.
In terms of the provisions of section 37C of the Pension Funds Act (‘the Act’), any benefit payable by a fund upon the death of a member will not form part of the assets in the member’s estate but will be dealt with in the following manner:
- If the fund within 12 months of the death of the member becomes aware of or traces a dependant(s) of the member, the benefit will be paid to one or all such dependants, as may be deemed equitable by the Board.
- If the fund does not become aware of or cannot trace any dependant of the member within 12 months of the death of the member, and the member has designated in writing to the fund a nominee who is not a dependant of the member, the benefit or such portion of the benefit as is specified by the member in writing to the fund, will be paid to such nominee only to the extent to which the benefits exceed the outstanding debt against the estate, if the estate of the member is insolvent.
- If a member has a dependant(s) and the member has also designated in writing to the fund a nominee(s) to receive the benefit or such portion of the benefit as is specified by the member in writing to the fund, the fund will within 12 months of the death of the member pay the benefit or portion thereof to such dependant or nominee as may be deemed equitable by the Board.
- If the fund does not become aware of or cannot trace any dependant of the member within 12 months of the death of the member and if the member has not designated a nominee, the benefit will be paid into the estate of the member or, if no inventory in respect of the member has been received by the Master of the Supreme Court in terms of the Estate Act, 1956, paid into the Guardian’s Fund.
In summary, the Act defines a dependant as any person:
- in respect of whom you were legally liable for maintenance;
whom you were not legally liable to maintain, if such a person:
- was, in the opinion of the Board, upon your death in fact dependent on you for maintenance;- is your spouse, including a party to a customary union according to Black law and custom or a party to a union recognised as a marriage under the tenets of any Asiatic religion, and including same-sex partners and life partners;- is your child, including a posthumous child, an adopted child and an illegitimate child;
· in respect of whom you would have become legally liable for maintenance, had you not died.
Take the following into consideration when nominating a beneficiary:
(a) If you die without nominating a beneficiary:
(i) The Board will pay death benefits to the dependants on a basis that they regard as equitable. In most cases a member’s spouse and those children who are regarded as dependants of the member, are favoured;
(ii) if the Board does not become aware of (cannot trace) any dependants within 12 months of your death, the benefits are paid to your estate.
(b) If you nominate a beneficiary who is a dependant, the Board will attach great value to your nomination because you are the person who best knows the needs of your dependants. Remember that personal circumstances of dependants can change after you made a nomination and that the Board, in the interests of your dependants, can decide differently from what your nomination indicates.
(c) If you nominate a beneficiary who is not a dependant:
(i) such a person will receive part of the death benefits in the proportion that the Board regards as equitable, taking into account any dependants;(ii) if you leave no dependants, the Board will pay the death benefits or such portion thereof that you indicated, to the beneficiary/ies 12 months after your death, only to the extent to which the benefits exceed the outstanding debt of your estate, if the estate is insolvent.
7. Claiming Benefits
When you or your dependants/beneficiaries submit a claim for a benefit from the Fund, you must fill in all the correct forms and send them to the Fund. It is very important that you fill in these forms correctly when you claim a benefit from the Fund, otherwise unnecessary delays may arise. You can get any of the forms you need from your employer or Union representative, or directly from the Fund.
Telephone number : (021) 950-7400
Fax number : (021) 950-7405
If you are claiming for a Retirement, Death or Withdrawal Benefit, please forward your form and documents to:
BELLVILLE 133 Voortrekker Road
PAARL Garlink Building, 29 Lady Grey Street,
SOMERSET-WEST 141c Main Road (entrance off Oak Road)
or post the required documentation to:-
The Bargaining Council for the Building Industry
Private Bag X29
If you are a female employee (married or previously married) who is claiming a benefit, you need to include a copy of your marriage certificate and/or divorce order. This will assist the Fund in tracing any benefits that you may have accumulated under your maiden name.
When you claim a Benefit
Whatever benefit you are claiming, you must always mail or deliver the following documents, together with the documents listed under each section:
A copy of your bar-coded identity document
A certificate of service
Marriage certificate/customary union certificate or divorce order
If you are a female member
Xhoza Retirement Funds Information Brochure