I am about to complete my second year-long fixed-term contract with the same employer. I have been covering for a teacher who was initially on maternity leave and who is now on career break. I have now completed two full years at the school. My understanding is that the teacher will not be continuing on career break for the next school year. What is my status?
You must first ascertain whether there are hours available for you in the school in September. Hours might not be available if the teacher does in fact return - although she should have requested continuation of her career break in February so this should be clearly established. Hours might not be available either in a scenario where the school is in surplus, but the availability of hours in this situation will depend on the curricular needs of the school - your subjects and other related factors. If, as seems likely, there are hours available because of the non-return of the teacher on career break, then you should be entitled to a contract of indefinite duration (CID) on the hours that you hold in the current school year. This is because the report of the Expert Group on Fixed-Term and Part-Time Employment in Primary and Second-Level Education in Ireland (the Ward report), which was negotiated by the ASTI as part of the Haddington Road Agreement, recommended that teachers replacing absentees on career break should no longer be barred from receiving CIDs on the basis of such employment. However, since you have been covering for a teacher on career break, you may be liable to be redeployed to another school when the absent teacher returns or if the curricular needs of the school so dictate. If the teacher on career break does return in September and the school offers you some other hours, you should still be entitled to a CID.
Will I have to re-interview for my job, now that it is a CID?
No. Under the recommendations of the Ward report, teachers who have completed a first fixed-term contract will have to re-apply for their position. Teachers who have completed two or more years will not have to do an interview.
If the school offers me a fixed-term contract rather than a CID, what should I do?
If you believe that you are entitled to a CID and the school offers you another fixed-term contract, you should ask your principal for a CID. If this request is refused, you should ask for this refusal in writing. You may appeal this decision to the Independent Adjudicator. However, this appeal must be lodged within four weeks of refusal of the CID, so it is very important that you waste no time in lodging your appeal. If you believe that you are entitled to a CID, or if you are in any doubt as to whether or not you have such an entitlement, contact ASTI Head Office immediately. Appeal forms are available here.
Disclaimer: The above information is provided on the basis that the cases dealt with are straightforward and that there are no unknown issues, which may affect entitlement to, or terms of, a CID.
I have a fixed-term contract to teach French and Irish for 10 hours a week. One of the other French teachers in the school is retiring this year. That teacher has a permanent position; should I automatically get that job?
Firstly, it is important to note that the job may no longer exist when the teacher retires - for example, if your school is over quota. If the job does continue to exist, it may be absorbed through the granting of a CID to another teacher on the staff; it may be filled through the redeployment scheme; if the subjects match, the hours may be distributed to existing CID holders on less than full hours; and only then may it be advertised. If the post is advertised, you can apply for it, as can other teachers, but there is no guarantee that you will be awarded the position. Your first move should be to inform the principal that you are interested in the position or in the hours of the position.
I’ve heard that if hours become available in a school they should be offered to part-time teachers already on staff – is there a requirement for management to do that?
Department of Education and Skills circular 0034/2009 states that as “far as possible, employers should give consideration to requests by workers to transfer from part-time to full-time work or to increase their working time should the opportunity arise. In doing so, as with all teaching appointments, employers must have regard to the curricular needs of the school and the qualifications required for the post.” This circular is backed up by European legislation.
Management should examine the situation carefully and make every effort to increase part-time hours when they can. If you believe hours could have been given to you and were not, call us in Head Office.
I have a temporary position in a school for the current school year, am I entitled to a job in the next school year?
As is the case with any fixed-term contract, when your period of employment expires your employer is not obliged to offer you further work. However, if you have been in the school for more than a year and the position you hold remains viable or there are other hours available in your subject, you may have an entitlement to the position. You should discuss the situation with your principal and if in doubt, contact ASTI Head Office.
Will I be paid over the summer months?
This depends on the type of fixed-term contract you hold. A teacher who is employed for the full school year to provide teaching for a specified number of hours during each week holds a pro-rata contract. This contract covers the period until August 31. If you hold this kind of contract, you will be paid each fortnight over the summer, as you would be during school term.
A teacher who is employed to work for more than 150 hours during the school year, but less than a full school year, is classified as a non-casual part-time teacher. If, for example, you are covering for a teacher on maternity leave, you will be paid an hourly rate based on your point on the salary scale and qualification allowances. You will not be paid over the summer.
However, 12% will be removed from the current hourly casual and non-casual rates. This represents the teachers’ statutory annual leave entitlement of 4 weeks per year. The teacher will accumulate statutory annual leave to the value of 12% of time worked. Teachers are required to take their statutory annual leave entitlement during the school closure periods, ie: Christmas, Easter, Summer.
Can I claim social welfare for the summer months?
You can claim social welfare for periods when you are unemployed but your payments may be deferred or delayed because of the percentage of holiday pay you received while working. Even if the amount of holiday pay received means that your social welfare payment will be nil, it is advisable to claim benefit regardless in order to maintain your PRSI credits over the summer months.
Can I claim incremental credit for the time I spend teaching on a non-permanent basis?
Pro-rata contracted teachers can claim incremental credit for each year worked on a pro-rata contract.
Non-casual contracted teachers can claim an increment if they work 600 hours in one year.
To claim incremental credit, casual teachers must reach a threshold of 300 hours in any year. They will receive an increment for each 600 hours worked.