Frequently asked questions
When is the career break application deadline?
Who is eligible to take a career break?
How do I apply for a career break?
Your employer should notify you by 1 March if your application has been approved.
Is it true that I am only allowed go on career break twice in my career?
You are limited to taking ten years in total, and not more than five years’ consecutively, but within these limits, you may take career breaks on more than two occasions, subject to your employer’s approval.
My career break has been refused by my school. Can I appeal this decision?
If there are exceptional circumstances, you could ask your employer to reconsider their decision, or if you believe they have not adhered to the terms of the circular or policy, you could consider seeking a resolution through the grievance procedures.
I have changed my mind about taking my career break – can I withdraw my application?
I missed the deadline for a career break application – can I still apply for a career break?
I need a career break starting in the middle of the school year – can my school accommodate this?
Can I substitute teach while on career break?
Per Information Note TC0010/2022 (PDF), this restriction will be suspended for the duration of the 2022/23 school year.
If I am substitute teaching on career break, what is my rate of pay?
There is more detailed information here about substitute rates of pay.
All your substitute work on career break will count toward your next increment.
If I want to substitute teach in Northern Ireland on career break, is this subject to the 90-day limit?
Am I free to take up any other employment while on my career break?
You can take up any other employment while on career break, including teaching in private schools, third level education, or working in the public sector outside teaching.
Can I resign from my job while I am on career break?
How does my INTO membership work when I take a career break?
If you aren’t teaching, you can let your membership lapse while on career break, and your membership will restart automatically when you return to school.
However, if you intend to maintain Cornmarket salary protection during your career break, it is important that you do not allow your INTO membership to lapse.
Annual career break membership is available for a flat rate of €30.
To avail of career break membership, log in to the INTO website, go to my profile, and start an application, to apply and pay the €30 fee. Alternatively you can contact INTO Membership in September to pay by card over the phone.
I have voluntary deductions – my VHI and a Comhar Linn loan – which are paid directly from my DE paycheque. How do I manage these when I’m on my career break?
I have salary protection with Cornmarket. How is this affected by my career break?
This may protect you if you were to become seriously ill while on career break.
You will need to maintain your INTO membership to remain a member of the Cornmarket salary protection scheme. This may be through salary deductions if you plan to substitute on career break, or through a flat-rate payment if you are not teaching during your career break.
Will taking a career break affect my pension?
However, you won’t make pension contributions while you’re not receiving a salary, so in order to address any shortfall when you return to service, you may consider buying Notional Service or Additional Retirement Benefit through DE Primary Pensions, or contributing to AVCs.
Cornmarket can provide financial planning advice to INTO members.
If I have a baby during my career break, am I entitled to paid maternity leave?
You may be entitled to Maternity Benefit from the DSP, subject to their eligibility rules, details here.
If I have a baby immediately following a career break, am I entitled to maternity leave?
However, if you haven’t been paying PRSI during your career break, you may not be eligible to claim Maternity Benefit. (See rules for claims here.)
If your application for Maternity Benefit is refused, you should notify Primary Payroll, and they will not deduct the value of the Maternity Benefit from your salary during your maternity leave.
I have returned to school following a three-year career break. When can I take a further career break?
There are limited exceptions to this rule, set out at part 3.2 of Chapter Seven of circular 54/2019 (PDF).