For comprehensive details of the job share scheme, refer to Chapter 8 of Circular 0054/2019, published 1 September 2019.
- Job sharing options
- Withdrawing from job sharing
- ‘Croke Park’ Hours
- Courses/School planning
- Additional work while job sharing
Teacher that will have, at the end of the year in which they are applying, completed at least twelve months of continuous service with the same school and have a post for the following school year that is greater than 50% of a whole-time teacher (i.e. greater than 14 hours 10 minutes per week for primary teachers) may apply to job share.
Exceptions: Principals, Home School Liaison Co-ordinators and teachers on secondment are not eligible to job share.
Teachers may apply to job share in one of the following ways:
- Sharing a whole-time post with another teacher in their own school.
- Sharing a whole-time post with another teacher in a different school (inter-school job share).
- Sharing a whole-time post with a replacement teacher recruited by the employer.
- Reducing hours that are less than whole-time hours to job sharing hours and asking school to recruit a replacement teacher for the remaining hours.
The minimum period for a job sharing arrangement is one full school year. In exceptional circumstances, an employer may allow a job sharing arrangement to start mid-year and end no sooner than the end of the school year.
A teacher wishing to job share should complete the ‘Application form for job sharing’ (available in the DE publication) and submit it to their employer no later than 1 February prior to the school year in which they proposes to start/continue job sharing.
If a teacher wishes to extend his/her job sharing arrangement they must apply each year to do so.
A teacher should not be allowed to withdraw from the job sharing arrangement after 14 April or once the replacement teacher’s contract has been signed, whichever happens first. In exceptional circumstances, an application for withdrawal from a job sharing scheme or and/or an early return to full-time work may be considered by the employer. Such an application cannot be considered beyond 1 November.
It is up to the employer to decide the job sharing pattern it is willing to endorse, e.g. week on/week off or split week, while facilitating the teacher as far as is practicable.
‘Croke Park’ hours should be completed on a pro rata basis for job sharing teachers. i.e. where two teachers are sharing a whole-time post, each should complete 18 hours.
Job-sharing teachers who are required to attend courses/school planning days when they were not timetabled to work are entitled to a day’s leave in lieu, except where the course forms part of the additional hours commitment under the Public Service Agreement (‘Croke Park’ Hours).
This includes the full day/half days closures for school planning on the 2017 Child Protection Procedures for the 2017/18 school year. Confirmation of attendance at the course/school planning day should be submitted in writing to the employer for input via the OLCS/relevant ETB system.
The Department/ETB will not pay for substitute cover for these days.
Permanent teacher engaged in a job share
As a teacher supply alleviation measure, it was announced in 2018 that job share teachers would be allowed to substitute teach.
Technical difficulties with primary payroll prevented the implementation of this change until the 2020/21 school year, when it was affirmed in information note 05/2020.
Due to the pandemic, job share teachers are limited to undertaking substitute work only in their own school (or in the school they’re working in, in the case of an interschool job share). Job share teachers may work whatever days they are available, and all their additional days will be recorded through the OLCS.
Half-time fixed-term replacement teacher
Where someone is recruited as a ‘replacement teacher’, to work with another teacher in a job share, they are employed on a specified purpose (fixed-term) contract, and are not a contracted job sharer. The replacement teacher can apply for any available hours, including substitution, in any school.
The INTO has previously advised that such teachers were limited to doing a maximum of two days per week, but this year Primary Payroll have advised that fixed-term part-time teachers can be paid for up to full-time hours. However, a maximum of two days per week may be recorded through the OLCS, and the school will have to arrange for manual payment of additional days directly with payroll.
So for example: Mark is employed as a fixed-term half-time teacher, covering a job-share, working week on/week off. He does a full week of substitute work on his week off. Two days can be recorded on the OLCS in the normal way, the school must contact payroll to arrangement payment for the other three days.
Mary is a fixed-term half-time teacher, covering a job-share, working a split week. On the week where she is scheduled to work two days in her job share, she works as a substitute for the other three days. She will be paid through the OLCS for two substitute days, and the third day will have to be arranged directly with primary payroll.
Applying for carer’s benefit as a job share teacher
A teacher with caring responsibilities may seek to reduce their hours initially, by applying to job share, and then subsequently need to take a period of carer’s leave. Unfortunately, teachers should be aware that working as a job sharer may affect their claim for carer’s benefit.
The rules for eligibility for carer’s leave are set out in detail here, and include the requirement that:
- You have been employed for at least eight weeks, whether consecutive or not, in the previous 26 week period.
- You must be in employment for a minimum of 16 hours per week or 32 hours per fortnight.
- You don’t have to meet this condition if you were getting Carer’s Benefit in the previous 26 weeks.
In a job share contract, you will be paid for 12.5 per week, irrespective of the pattern you’re working, and therefore, you may be turned down for carer’s benefit on the basis that you were not in employment for 16 hours per week or 32 hours per fortnight.
Supplementing your job share with additional substitute work may address this shortfall, but questions about your eligibility for carer’s benefit for should be directed to the relevant section of the DEASP.
It is a matter for each employer to draw up and maintain its own policy on teacher absences, including job sharing. In any such policy, the welfare and education needs of pupils should be prioritised.
The employer must issue a written notice of approval/refusal of job sharing to the applying teacher by 1 March at the latest.
Where job sharing refused, the grounds for refusal should be set out in the letter of refusal.
Using parental leave on alternating weeks to create an arrangement similar to job sharing
INTO has received a high volume of queries in relation to applying for a week-on, week-off pattern of parental leave, to create an arrangement similar to job sharing.
There are a number of issues which teachers and schools considering such an arrangement should be aware of before applying or approving parental leave in this pattern.
What is this arrangement?
The rules for parental leave are set out in Circular 0054/2019, chapter five. If a teacher has children under 13, they may have parental leave to take. This must be requested in minimum blocks of seven days.
Some teachers apply to take their parental leave every second week, creating an arrangement akin to undertaking a job share.
Further, some teachers have sought to take their parental leave on alternating weeks with a colleague who also has parental leave available, asking to be allocated to the same class as that colleague, on a week-on, week-off arrangement. The substitute who is covering for this pair of teachers may then be allocated to another single class, at the discretion of the principal.
Why do teachers want to do it?
In a job share, a teacher’s hours are reduced by half and they will be paid at the job-sharing rate of pay for the full school year, 1 September to 31 August.
If a teacher is applying to use parental leave every second week, they are still a full-time employee and will receive their full-time rate of pay for any periods when not taking parental leave (i.e. during school closures and for the summer).
A teacher in a job share for the year will be off salary for the equivalent of 26 weeks. A teacher using parental leave every second week will be off salary for approximately twenty weeks (subject to the school calendar).
What do schools need to consider in relation to applications for this pattern of parental leave?
When a job share is approved, a fixed-term position may be filled for the duration of the job share, from 1 September to the following 31 August.
When a teacher is absent on parental leave, their absences will be filled by a substitute teacher. In this pattern, a substitute teacher will be required every second week.
If two teachers have paired up to request their parental leave on alternating weeks, two concurrent substitute vacancies are created, which – if the teachers have been meticulous with their parental leave applications – may provide a full year of substitute employment.
However, a fixed-term position is likely to be more attractive and more straightforward to fill, ensuring that pupils have one teacher consistently employed for the year.
Furthermore, the job share scheme clearly provides a framework for teachers and schools in areas like Croke Park hours, parent-teacher meetings, leave in lieu for attendance at in-service training, and posts of responsibility. No similar guidance exists for pairs of teachers availing of their parental leave.
Is a teacher entitled to take their leave in this pattern?
Parental Leave is a statutory entitlement, and an eligible teacher may apply for it in line with the rules set out in Circular 0054/2019.
However, an employer may limit the number of weeks of parental leave that will be approved – if a teacher has applied for parental leave for a period of more than six weeks, six weeks is the minimum that must be approved – and an employer may postpone the commencement of the leave by up to six months, if “granting the leave at that time would have a substantial adverse effect on the operation of the school.”
An employer is required to discuss any intended postponement of the leave with the teacher and must give the teacher at least four weeks’ notice of the Board’s decision.
For a parental leave application commencing in September, an employer could wait until the summer to make efforts to recruit a qualified substitute before making a final decision on a teacher’s parental leave application by mid-July.
If a teacher is applying for a job share, they should be notified whether it’s been approved by 1 March and will be able to plan for the year ahead on that basis.