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Human Resources/Bridge to include break in service


After 15 years of service as a FTE, I was terminated a year ago from my company due to wrongful termination.  After nearly a year now, I am going back to the same company, which has nearly 10,000 employees.  As part of the re-hiring, the company wants me in the same FTE position, albeit a bit lower of a salary and the same leave benefit as I had before (4 weeks which I was up to when I left and the max for my level).  Maybe it's called "reinstatement" but the salary is lower, which is not a big issue right now.  They are including all other standard benefits (as any other FTE).  The issue is that they do not want to "Bridge" my service to include the break in service.  Should I be concerned that the year (break) is not counted in my years of service?  If so, how?  I am getting the maximum leave so is there anything else that this "break" might affect?  What should I be asking for (more) in this regard, if anything?

Hi Sylvia,

Thanks for your question.

There are two types of service.  “Credited Service” and “Eligibility Service”.  The company benefits plan language and policy language usually defines how these two different services are applied.   Credited Service applies to, usually, benefits, like pension calculation.

Eligibility service usually counts toward service awards, vacation, retirement eligibility, etc.  So depending on what benefits the company puts in either of those two buckets will impact you in different ways.  So maybe your one year off will count as eligibility service for vacation, but not as credited service for pension calculation.  I hope I have not confused you.

So the questions you should be asking are: Does my one year off count for: 1. Eligibility Service toward what?  2.  Credited Service toward what?  “What” = pension value, pension service, disability, vacation, sick leave, service awards, promotions, future reductions, and so on.  Ask for a list.

In the end what really matters is that the company has written policies that are applied to all employees and applicants consistently.  ERISA, “the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act” approves company pension plans and controls how they are managed and administered.

I hope that helps… I am happy to hear you are re-employed!   I would appreciate it if you could find a minute to evaluate this answer through AllExperts, I believe there are four multiple choice questions.

Best of luck,

Human Resources

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Mark Eichinger


Any type of question related to domestic and international Human Resources work. My H.R. passions include Compensation design and systems in competitive markets, Health and Safety in Industrial Environments, Performance Management, Talent Management (Hiring, Selection, Employee Development, Compensation, Creating Space, etc.), Communications, Coaching, Counseling, Leadership, and Management. Questions I cannot answer: I am sure there are questions within these categories that I may not be able to answer but my experience below would suggest those would be few.


I own International Human Resources Coaching and Consulting, LLC. Previously, I successfully held corporate executive and management leadership positions from 1979 to 2007 in two $9B+ multi-national corporations. Positions included: Vice President, Human Resources for the Asia Pacific Region, Eaton Corporation; I was based in Shanghai, China. Prior to that assignment, Vice President, Human Resources International and Operations, Eaton World Headquarters, Cleveland, Ohio with global responsibility for Eaton’s Human Resources practices, international assignee management, and Regional Human Resources Directors in Asia Pacific, Europe, and Central and South America. Specifically, my experience spans work at domestic and international locations at the operating plant, division, business unit, and corporate levels and most business scenarios to include startups, closedowns, restructurings, integrations, and ongoing operations. I am an Eaton Business Excellence Assessment Examiner (Malcolm Baldrige based system). I introduced processes and process mapping into the Human Resources environment. I have extensive experience with and working in domestic and international organization matrix structures. In the Asia Pacific region, my responsibilities included, leading the regions H.R. team and processes, managing the H.R. relationship with the corporation, creating and leading the professional and general manager development programs, China’s university relations program and managing the Asia Pacific key leader’s process. I have coached managers and leaders. I am a professional listener, my style open, direct, and focused on leader accountability and employee engagement. In Summary, my career responsibility included more than 60,000 employees, 60 union and union free operations, and 45 countries. I also lived in Korea for two years while in service with the USA’s armed forces.

SCORE – Counselors to Americas Small Business; at various locations I have also belonged to Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis and the Chamber of Commerce. I have served on Boards of medical, community and institutional organizations.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Youngstown State University. MBA work Youngstown State University, and University of Bridgeport. University of Tennessee, Lean Manufacturing Certified. Thunderbird School of Global Management, Management Certified.

Awards and Honors
Corporate level awards for compensation systems, communications campaigns.

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