Second Level - Career Breaks

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Click here for Terms & Conditions of Employment for Registered Teachers in Recognised Primary and Post Primary Schools (Department of Education and Skills - June 2017). The section on the Career Break Scheme begins on p. 74 of the document. This document supersedes all previous circulars.
Career Breaks
A career break may be taken for a period of up to five years and may be taken in instalments provided that the total period does not exceed five years.
The provision may be allowed for most purposes and application must be made to the school's management authorities by 1st February, prior to the academic year of the proposed career break.
Application for extension of career break and a teacher who intends to return to teaching must also notify the management authority by 1st February. Teachers retain an entitlement to return to duty in a permanent post on the termination of the career break.
Teachers/lecturers going on career break should be aware that the period of unpaid leave does not count for pension purposes.
At third level a lecturer must forward the career break application to the Institute at least three months prior to the beginning of the college year in which they propose to commence the break.

Career Break FAQ
These FAQs seek to answer the most common queries posed to TUI head office on the issue of career breaks for post-primary teachers. For further information on the scheme, see Terms & Conditions of Employment for Registered Teachers in Recognised Primary and Post Primary Schools (Department of Education and Skills - June 2017). The section on the Career Break Scheme begins on p. 74 of the document.
How do I apply for a career break?
A teacher seeking a career break must submit a written application to the employer not later than the 1st February of each school year prior to that in which s/he proposes to commence/continue the career break. The application must provide clear details of the exact purpose of the career break. A late application may be considered by the employer in exceptional circumstances.
Can any teacher apply?
A teacher may apply for a career break where s/he is registered with the Teaching Council and will have satisfactorily completed, at the end of the school year in which they are applying, 12 months of continuous service with the current employer.
Am I entitled to an explanation if my application for a career break is refused?
Where an application for a career break is refused, the employer must inform the applicant in writing setting out the grounds for such a refusal.

How long can I take a career break for?
A career break shall be a period of not less than one school year and may be extended on an annual basis provided the total period of the career break does not exceed 5 years at any one time. A subsequent career break may not be taken until the teacher has served for a period equal to the duration of the previous career break. In the case of a teacher wishing to avail of a career break to undertake voluntary service abroad /missionary/diplomatic/military/oireachtas/or study leave this requirement will be waived.
When will I know if my application has been successful?
The employer shall issue a written notice of approval or refusal to the teacher by 1st March at the latest and submit notice of the career break absence to the Department (via the On Line Claims System)/ETB on or before 1st April.

What if I wish to withdraw my application?
Taking account of the extent of arrangements to be put in place by the employer to cater for the career break, the applicant shall not be permitted to withdraw his/her application after the 14th April. In exceptional circumstances the employer in its sole discretion may consider a later withdrawal of a career break application.

Can I teach while on a career break?
A teacher on a career break is precluded from taking up an appointment in any capacity in any school within the State. Schools must give priority to qualified teachers when making appointments for periods of substitution. In exceptional circumstances a teacher on a career break may be employed on the following basis:
in Post Primary – for a maximum of 300 hours in a school year
in Primary - for a maximum of 90 days in a school year
Is it possible for me to pay pension contributions while on career break?
Pension contributions at full actuarial cost in accordance with the relevant pension scheme may be paid, either during the career break or following a return to teaching. Further information on the purchase of notional service for a career break is available from the Pensions Section of the Department/ETB.

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