Member update – OLCS and new Covid leave categories 

Extension to School Christmas holidays

As members will be aware, the government announced a three day extension to the School Christmas holidays.

INTO has been advised that schools do not have to adjust their school calendar to make up these days. Schools are not expected to support children’s learning between 6 and 8 January 2021.

Where a substitute teacher was engaged to cover a scheduled absence from 6 January 2021, schools are instructed to record the claims on the OLCS to ensure payment to the substitute. INTO raised this issue at our meeting with Minister Foley this week to seek this guarantee

Further information on the arrangements for COVID-related absences can be found under Circular 49/2020 or by emailing

Queries in relation to technical difficulties on the OLCS should be directed to:

Covid-19 related leave

INTO has been made aware that the OLCS has been altered with the creation of four different Covid-19 leave related absences, taking effect from 6 January 2021.

A staff member who needs to take a Covid-19 related leave will from now on have this absence recorded as Personal Leave, under four sub categories:

  • COVID – Self Isolation
  • COVID – Diagnosis
  • COVID – Very High Risk Group
  • COVID – Restricted Movement

This is a departure from the manner in which these leave requests were recorded to date, where the generic ‘Special Leave – Covid 19’ classification was used. Members are advised that this option will cease to be available from the 6 January 2021.

Parental Leave

INTO has received a number of queries in respect of parental leave, per Circular 54/2019, Chapter Five, parts 12 , 14 and 15.

The parental leave circular makes provision for parental leave to be suspended by the teacher in the event that the teacher becomes too ill to care for their child, of if the employer believes the teacher is using the parental leave for a purpose other than childcare.

In relation to requests to change work hours/pattern, S15 states that “Such a request must be made in writing to the employer not later than 6 weeks before the proposed commencement of the change in work pattern specifying the nature of the changes requested, the date of commencement and duration of the change in work pattern”.

Otherwise, as per the Confirmation Document at Appendix B of the relevant chapter, “Following signing, no amendment can be made to the Confirmation Document without the agreement of both parties. A copy of the Confirmation Document should be retained by the teacher.”

Click on the link for further information on parental leave and other types of leave.