Leave terms and access to part-time teaching within a diversified career structure

Giving teachers access to leave and enabling them to teach part-time at various stages in their career is an important component of a diversified career structure. Teachers should be entitled to take leave or perform part-time work so that they may undertake further professional development or training to further their career progression. They should be able to train to move from one level of education to another, for example from ECE to primary teaching (see Sections 2.1.3 and 3.2). Moreover, the flexibility and ability to combine a career with other responsibilities, such as caring for young children, taking on different family responsibilities, or pursuing other personal or professional development plans, is a factor in attracting and retaining individuals to teaching. Such flexibility exceeds statutory leave entitlements, such as maternity leave or sick leave for chronic and debilitating illnesses. It requires a policy to provide for, employ and fund substitute teachers (also known as replacement or supply teachers) to cover for teachers on different types of leave.Footnote 18

A career structure should include a provision for teachers to apply to work part-time at certain stages in their personal and professional lives, with the possibility of returning to full-time work once their circumstances change. Allowing individuals to work part-time or take a period of leave is likely to retain teachers who would otherwise be forced to resign or retire early. Applications for access to leave or part- time work should be considered, taking into consideration the current needs of the school or education system and the possibility of recruiting replacements to cover the leave or part-time work. Such applications should be based on clear, transparent and equitable principles and criteria.

Vertical career development opportunities

3.5 Teachers’ employment and working conditions