Frequently Asked Questions on Career Break

For family reasons, I am considering taking a career break for one year from this September. How do I go about this?

First of all, you should note that the application should be made by 1st February for the following school year. A career break is a period of unpaid leave from your employment. It must be taken for at least one year. It may be taken for up to five years at a time (subject to your application being accepted each year) and a maximum of 10 years' career break can be taken over your teaching career. A teacher wishing to take a career break must submit their application to the school (board of management/manager). The March 1 application deadline also applies to those on career break who wish to continue their career break for another year.

Is the granting of a career break automatic, once I apply?

No. Discretion lies with the school management. The ASTI holds the view that applications should be considered favourably and provisionally accepted subject to approval by the Department of Education and Skills of a funded replacement. The ASTI can offer assistance in relation to efforts to secure a Department-funded replacement.

When will I be told whether or not my application has been successful?

The employer must issue a written notice of approval or refusal by March 1. 

What will happen to my pension while I am on career break?

A period of unpaid leave such as a career break does not accrue pension entitlements. However, teachers on career break may purchase notional service. This involves paying pension contributions at full actuarial cost in accordance with the relevant pension scheme, either during the career break or following a return to teaching. Arrangements must be made with the Department of Education and Skills/ETB.

Do I need to maintain my Teaching Council registration?

The ASTI strongly recommends that teachers on career break maintain their Teaching Council registration. If you allow your registration to lapse while you are on career break you will need to apply to the Council for registration at least four months prior to the end of your career break. At this point, you will be required to undergo the full application process, including the submission of transcripts and the Garda vetting process.

Will my career break count as a sick leave free year when calculating future sick leave entitlements?

No. When you return from career break, the year or years you were absent from school on career break leave will be discounted for the purposes of calculating sick leave entitlements. For example, if in the year prior to your career break you took three days’ self-certified sick leave and three days’ certified sick leave, then these six days’ leave will be counted when calculating your self-certified and certified sick leave entitlements when you return to work, as follows: Self-certified sick leave – you will be deemed as having taken three days’ self-certified leave from your entitlement of seven days’ leave over a rolling two-year period. Ordinary illness/critical illness leave – you will be deemed as having taken six days’ leave from your ordinary illness/critical illness leave entitlements (this applies to your entitlements over a year and your entitlements over a rolling four-year period).



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