Notice of Resignation

A teacher may resign from their position at any time, by writing to their board of management specifying the date on which their resignation will take effect. They are then entitled to be paid up to that date.  A teacher may be required by the terms of their contract to give a notice period of up to three months to their board of management.  It is open to a board of management to accept a shorter notice period.

Resigning While on Career Break

A teacher on career break can resign during the school year. The board of management may either allow the temporary teacher to remain in the post until the end of the school year or may make a permanent appointment under the appropriate procedures. The board of management should consider the contractual arrangements made with the temporary teacher before proceeding with an appointment.

Date of Resignation

The contractual school year runs from 1 September – 31 August. A teacher wishing to resign at the end of a school year should notify the Chairperson of their board of management in writing that their resignation date is 31 August.  It is important to include the date of resignation in this notice/letter. Failure to do so may result in the teacher’s resignation taking effect from the date of their letter.

Individual schools have a certain amount of discretion in relation to their school calendar (i.e. the operational school year).  Schools may opt to re-open for the new school year prior to 1 September.   Where a teacher has notified their board of their intention to resign with effect from 31 August, there is no obligation on them to attend work if their school is reopening prior to the end of August.  The teacher appointed to replace the resigning teacher should attend work from the date the school re-opens.

Break in Service

A break in service is where a teacher resigns and is out of employment/contract. If a teacher is out of contract for 26 weeks or more they will move to the newest pension scheme at the time of their return to teaching.

  • If a teacher is a member of the Old Entrant pension scheme and had a break between 2004 and 2012, they would have been moved into the New Entrant Pension on their return.
  • If a teacher has a break in service from 2013 onwards then they will be moved into the Single Pension Scheme upon their return to teaching.

Approved leave is not a break, i.e., career break, maternity, parental, carer’s leave, sick leave etc – these are approved leave and therefore are not viewed as a break in service.

Teachers who are members of an older pension scheme can avoid a break in service when they resign by ensuring they engage in substitute teaching work for at least one day in every 26 weeks.

Teachers who resign to work in another area of the Public Service should request to stay on their existing pension scheme in this new employment. They will also remain on their existing pension scheme upon their return to teaching once they do not have a 26 week break in employment.

Opting for Deferred Pension on Resignation

Teachers who have at least two years of pensionable service may leave the service and have their pension rights preserved. They may claim a pension and lump sum based on their pensionable service as teachers when they reached the minimum retirement age of their pension scheme.

Withdrawing Pension Contributions on Resignation

Teachers who are resigning from the service, and who were in service for less than two years, may seek the return of their pension contributions. Such refunds are subject to a deduction of income tax at the rate of 20%.

However, under recent legislation, there are restrictions on the number of years’ pension contributions that can be withdrawn in respect of service given since 1 January 1991. (These limits apply only to people with two years or more service). The Department of Education and Skills is assessing the implications of this legislation and details will be provided to teachers on request.

In any event, the withdrawal of pension contributions is inadvisable, particularly if a teacher intends to return to service. Where contributions are withdrawn this period of service will not be recognised for pension purposes on return. It is possible to pay back the money which was withdrawn on return to service and recover the pensionable service but only with the additional payment of compound interest currently at 3% per annum on the money for the period when it was out of the scheme.

Teachers who are returning to the service and have completed their probation are placed on the point of the incremental scale at which they left off. If they have not withdrawn their contributions to the pension fund their previous service is recognised in full for purposes of the superannuation scheme.

Enquiries to Primary Teachers’ Pension Section, Department of Education and Skills, Cornamaddy, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. on (090) 648-4189 or Department of Education Query Form (

Page updated 18 July 2024

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