Are you considering retiring in the next 10 years? It’s a good idea to get your ducks in a row well in advance.
Attend an Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) online Pre-Retirement Workshop to start planning early. These sessions are helpful if you know your retirement date, but even if you don’t, you need to understand the retirement process, when you need to start filling out applications and how much money you will have during your retirement.
Lifestyle planning is also important. Will you travel? Will you participate in other retirement pastimes (such as golf, lawn bowling or pickleball)? You should have some insight into what lifestyle you would like to have when you stop teaching and how much that will cost.
This workshop will answer all your questions. Together, teachers and their pension partner will explore planning for retirement, the changing character of retirement and the process of making important decisions. You will learn about financial and lifestyle planning before, during and after retirement from a teacher’s perspective. The workshop will investigate various aspects of retiring, including building a financial plan, the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (pension plan), wills and estates, benefits, and lifestyle planning for a successful and rewarding retirement.
Choose one of the sessions below and watch for a link to register at https://teachers.ab.ca/events. Registration will be available approximately one month before each session.
Note that these are all-day sessions (9:00 am–3:00 pm).
Teachers in All Regions
Saturday, November 25, 2023
Saturday, February 3, 2024
Saturday, March 9, 2024
Urban Local Teachers
Edmonton Public Teachers only—Saturday, October 28, 2023
Calgary Catholic Teachers only—Saturday, December 2, 2023
Edmonton Catholic Teachers only—Saturday, January 13, 2024
Calgary Public Teachers only—Saturday, January 27, 2024
It’s your retirement. Ensure a smooth transition by becoming informed early. Attend a Pre-Retirement Workshop this school year. #WEAREATA
The Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan (ASEBP) provides covered members with health and limited dental coverage for emergency expenses when they are travelling outside Canada. More information can be found at Travel Emergencies on the ASEBP website. Covered members can purchase additional top-up emergency medical coverage with Alberta Blue Cross if they are extending their trip beyond ASEBP’s approved travel durations.
ASEBP will make the following changes to emergency travel benefits effective January 1, 2024:
ASEBP-covered members can also purchase the following coverage from Alberta Blue Cross at a 10 per cent discount beginning September 1, 2023. Trip cancellation or interruption coverage will reimburse you for eligible nonrefundable expenses incurred if you or your travelling companion must cancel or interrupt the trip. Baggage loss coverage will help cover the cost to replace your personal items if your baggage is delayed for more than 12 hours, lost, stolen or damaged. Note: This insurance is an independent product offered through Alberta Blue Cross and must be purchased prior to the trip.
If you are travelling within or outside Canada, it is important to consider your travel insurance options. For more information about ASEBP benefits, call 1-877-431-4786. For more information about Alberta Blue Cross travel insurance options, call 1-800-394-1965. #WEAREATA
Summer Pay—It’s Not So Simple!
A teacher’s annual salary is based on years of experience (found in the collective agreement) and years of education (as determined by Teacher Qualifications Service). Teachers are paid according to the Education Act, which states that teachers are paid 1/200 of their annual salary for each day they work (with a few variations). Teachers are not paid for vacation periods such as Christmas, spring break, Thanksgiving, over the summer or any other holiday period. School division calendars determine which days teachers are expected to work. These are the days for which teachers are paid.
Since funds are allocated to school divisions over 12 months, paying teachers 1/12 of the annual salary each month from September to August is easier for everyone, including school divisions, to budget. This means that each month some earnings are saved to be paid in July and August. This formula does not work for teachers who work less than a full year or who are not on a continuous contract. These teachers must use a different formula to calculate their pay.
The payment of salaries is addressed in Section 220 of the Education Act.
If a teacher’s contract is temporary or probationary, or if the teacher resigns on June 30, the summer payout must be paid within seven days of the termination date of the contract. Regardless of the type of contract, teachers who work less than a full school year will have a reduced amount of pay for July and August. At the end of June or the end of the teacher’s contract, the division will perform a final salary reconciliation to determine the summer payout. A rough guide is that one semester, or half a year, of work equals one month of summer pay. This includes paid leave, such as sick days, personal leave days and division-paid maternity leave.
For teachers who are under a contract of employment for a period that includes all the teaching days of a school year but that do not teach on all those teaching days, teachers will be paid their full annual salary less 0.5 per cent (1/200) of the salary for each teaching day on which they do not teach. This applies if the teacher has worked more than 100 days in the school year. This calculation ensures that teachers are not disadvantaged if the school year is less than 200 days.
For example, if the school year is 197 days and a teacher takes an unpaid leave for 4 days, their pay calculation would be as follows:
$75,000 − ($75,000 × 1/200 × 4 days) = $73,500
A teacher who is under a contract of employment for a period that does not include all the teaching days of the school year, or is under a contract of employment that includes all the teaching days of a school year, but who during that year teaches on fewer than 100 teaching days, shall be paid 0.5 per cent (1/200) of the teacher’s annual salary for each day on which the teacher teaches.
For example, Chris was hired to work from February 5 to June 26. During that time, there were 94 days worked. Chris used 3 days of sick leave but had enough banked sick leave to be paid for the 94 days.
Annual salary × 1/200 × number of days worked = earned income
$75,000 × 1/200 × 94 = $35,250
From February to June, Chris was paid 1/12 per month:
($75,000/12) × 5 months = $31,250 (paid to date)
Chris’s summer payout will then be calculated as follows:
Earned income − paid to date = summer payout
Therefore, Chris will receive $35,250 − $31,250 = $4,000 as the reconciled payout for the summer.
What about a teacher who is on maternity leave?
Pat had a baby on February 1 and started her maternity leave that day. As she has a health-related supplemental employment benefits (SEB) plan, which only paid her six weeks of top-up, her fully paid maternity leave ran out on March 13. The employer paid one week of full pay and then topped up the other five weeks of her employment insurance (EI). Pat received the maximum from EI, $650 per week. She is on a continuous contract and has been paid for more than 100 days, so the following formula applies:
Annual salary − (annual salary × 1/200 × number of days not worked) = earned income
$75,000 − ($75,000 × 1/200 × 64 days) = $51,000
From September to January, Pat was paid 1/12 per month:
($75,000/12) × 5 months = $31,250 = $31,250 pay to January 31
In February and March, Pat received one week of full pay at $1,562.50, then five weeks of pay minus the $650 from EI.
$1,562.50 + [ ($1,562.50 − $650) × 5 ] = $6,125 pay to March 13
Pat’s summer payout will be calculated as follows:
Earned income − paid to date
Therefore, Pat will receive $51,000 − $37,375 = $13,625 as the reconciled payout. Pat’s employer is required to pay out all withheld pay within seven days after March 13. From March 13 through the summer, Pat will collect only her EI payments.
Teachers are advised to check their pay information every month. At the beginning of each school year, confirm that education and experience are accurate and that annual salary is correct (check the collective agreement). Review the deductions and ensure they are correct.
Every subsequent month, review any changes to net pay. Do not forget that there will be an increase in net pay in the latter half of the calendar year as teachers reach maximum annual deductions for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI). This also means that teachers will see a reduction in pay in January as CPP and EI are deducted from salary again.
Check your pay statement every month to ensure that your salary and deductions are correct. Pay is not simple and it is individual to each teacher. Review it! #WEAREATA
This is the time of year when teachers begin considering their options for the fall. Depending on your life circumstances, you may be thinking about resigning from your teaching position. Whether you are looking for employment elsewhere or retiring (congratulations!), you should know your rights and obligations.
Resigning is not an easy decision. If you are unsure, consider requesting an unpaid leave of absence instead. Although an unpaid leave of absence is discretionary, if granted, it may be a way for you to keep your current contract in case you want or need to return.
It is wise to maintain your benefits during your leave to ensure that there is no gap in income replacement insurance, such as extended disability benefits (part of the benefits package).
You may also consider purchasing pensionable service from the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF) for your leave. Contact ATRF about this option. Purchase pensionable service as soon as possible after returning from leave, because the cost of this service increases the longer you wait.
To find out more about the specific details of an unpaid leave of absence, consult your collective agreement or call Teacher Employment Services.
If you do decide to resign, ensure that you do so properly. If you are teaching on a temporary, probationary or interim contract that ends on June 30, you are not required to formally resign if you intend to work until your contract ends naturally. If you are ending your contract early or have a continuing contract, ensure that your resignation is consistent with the relevant provisions of the Education Act.
Regardless of the type of teaching contract, if you are resigning, provide 30 calendar days’ written notice to your school division. This rule changes slightly near vacation periods. Section 217 of the Education Act reads,
217(1) . . . a notice of termination of a contract of employment . . . must not be given by a board or a teacher
(a) in the 30 days preceding, or
a vacation period of 14 or more days’ duration.
This means that if you want to end your contract near a vacation period, your school division must receive your letter of resignation at least 30 days before the beginning of that vacation period.
In some circumstances, however, it may not be possible to provide that much notice. In that case, your school division may be agreeable to accepting your resignation by mutual agreement. If your school division is not agreeable, contact Teacher Employment Services to review your options.
When resigning, remember that your benefits will cease when your employment ends. Ensure that you make any qualifying purchases and attend any qualifying appointments (such as dental, optometry, chiropractic, physiotherapy and psychological) before your last day of employment. There may be a period of time after your employment ends (called a runoff period) during which you can submit eligible expenses to a health or wellness spending account, as long as those expenses were incurred before the date your employment ended. Contact your benefits provider for more details.
If you are resigning to work in another school division next year, you are advised to make your last official day of employment with your current school division as late as possible to ensure benefit coverage until your new teaching contract begins. For example, if your new teaching contract begins August 28, consider making your official resignation date from your current school division August 27. If, however, your resignation is for the purpose of retirement, it is more financially advantageous to make your resignation effective the last operational day of the school year so that your pension can start in July. Contact Teacher Employment Services with any questions.
When you are considering resigning from your teaching position, become informed about your rights and obligations. For assistance, contact Teacher Employment Services at 1-800-232-7208 (northern Alberta) or 1-800-332-1280 (southern Alberta). #WEAREATA
Transfers Initiated by School Divisions
The transfer of a teacher is addressed in section 212 of the Education Act.
Here are some important points for teachers:
A superintendent may transfer a teacher from one school operated by the division to another of its schools at any time during the school year. The timeline to appeal a notice of transfer is short. If you have received a notice of transfer and require advice, contact Teacher Employment Services at 1-800-232-7208 or 780-447-9400 in the Edmonton area or at 1-800-332-1280 or 403‑265‑2672 in the Calgary area. #WEAREATA
Updates from ATA Provincial