Break in service and pension implications

Tuesday 05 December 2017

Teachers should note that an interruption to teaching service can significantly impact their pensions. A teacher with interrupted service - for example if their temporary contract is not renewed,  they have decided to undertake a full-time course of study, or they have decided to travel - must not allow a period of more than 26 weeks  to elapse without making a pension contribution from their pay.

If such a break occurs, such teachers returning to teaching join the pension scheme that is prevailing at the time, which from the 1st January 2013 means the Single Public Service Pension Scheme, with its severely reduced benefits.

Therefore, teachers on an unapproved period of unpaid leave need to undertake at least a day  of pensionable employment in every six months during their break from teaching in order to ensure that when they return to teaching they return to the scheme that they were in before their service was interrupted.

A teacher who is on approved period of unpaid leave, for example a career break, unpaid maternity leave or unpaid sick leave, ceases to generate pensionable service during that period but remains a member of the Superannuation Pension Scheme.