Flexible leave information note published – partial reopening of special schools and classes 

Following intensive negotiations with the INTO last week, the Department of Education has today published Information Note 01/21 in relation to teachers, who due to specific circumstances which exist at this time, may be unable to attend the workplace and require more flexibility in relation to leave arrangements. 

These temporary arrangements include the waiving of notice to take parental and unpaid leave, and the facility to take parental leave in blocks of less than seven days. 

The information note also provides that teachers in special schools and classes who have been categorised as being in the high risk category and teachers over 60 may be reassigned to other teaching duties within the school, including remote work. 

Pregnant teachers during phased re-opening

Finally, the Department of Education has stated that an expert group is working to develop guidance on the risk to pregnant teachers and advises that during this period of phased return to school any pregnant teacher who works in a special school or class, should consider themselves in the High Risk category and the teacher should temporarily continue to work remotely.

A pregnant teacher who is facilitated to work remotely, during this phased return period, must be recorded by the employer under the OLCS leave sub-category ‘Personal Leave’, sub-category titled ‘COVID-19: Very High Risk Group’.

Members who need clarification on these temporary arrangements are welcome to contact the INTO Queryline by emailing info@into.ie.

Members who intend to avail of any of the leave arrangements outlined should contact their principal at the earliest opportunity.

Applications for leave are subject to board of management approval.

Attached please find Information Note 0001/2021 ‘Temporary Changes to the Parental Leave Scheme and Unpaid Leave Scheme and other temporary arrangements for Teachers employed in recognised Primary and Special Schools’.