Looking for a change? This is the time of year when teachers begin considering their options for the fall and, depending on their life circumstances, may be thinking about resigning their teaching contract. Whether the resignation is for the purpose of looking for employment in another school division or for retirement (if so, congratulations!), it is important for you to know your rights and obligations.
Resignation is not an easy decision. If you are on the fence, consider requesting a full-time 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 foot in the door in case you want or need to return to your current school division. Be sure to disclose to your employer the intent of the leave. Using a leave of absence for reasons inconsistent with those you provided at the time you requested the leave could be problematic. It is also wise to maintain your benefits during this leave to ensure that there is no gap in any income replacement insurance, such as Extended Disability Benefits, that is part of your benefits package. You also might wish to consider purchasing pensionable service from the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF). Contact ATRF about this option. If you choose to purchase pensionable service, be sure to do so as soon as possible after returning from your leave, because the cost of this service balloons if you delay. Consult your collective agreement or call Teacher Employment Services to find out more about the specific details of an unpaid leave of absence.
If you decide to resign, ensure that your resignation is done properly. If you are teaching on a temporary, probationary or interim contract that ends on June 30, you will not need to formally resign if you intend to work until your contract ends naturally on June 30. However, if you wish to resign your contract early or, in the case of a continuing contract, resign at any time, ensure that your resignation is consistent with the relevant provisions of the Education Act. Regardless of the type of teaching contract, if you wish to resign, you will have to provide 30 calendar days’ written notice to your school division. However, 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 wish to end your contract near a vacation period, you will need to ensure that the school division receives your letter of resignation at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the vacation period. In some circumstances, however, it may not be possible for you to provide as much notice as is required by the Education Act. If this is the case, your school division may be agreeable to accepting your resignation by mutual agreement. If your school division is not agreeable, please call Teacher Employment Services to review your options.
When you resign your teaching contract, it is important to remember that your benefits will cease when your employment ends. For this reason, you should ensure that you have made any qualifying purchases and booked any necessary qualifying appointments (such as dental, optometry, chiropractic, physiotherapy and psychological appointments) prior to your last day of employment to ensure that you are covered for any related eligible expenses. There may be a period of time after your employment ends, called a runoff period, in which you can still submit eligible expenses to your health or wellness spending account, as long as those expenses were incurred before the date your employment ended. Consult with your benefits provider for more details.
If you are resigning to work in another school division next year, it is advisable to make your last official day of employment with your current school division as late as possible to ensure that you have benefit coverage until your new teaching contract starts. For example, if you have a new teaching contract beginning August 28, consider making your official resignation date with your current school division August 27. However, if you are resigning for the purpose of retirement, it is more financially advantageous for you to make your resignation effective the last operational day of the school year so that you can start collecting your pension in July. Please call Teacher Employment Services with any questions.
Resigning a teaching contract can present challenging considerations and decisions for teachers. Learn your rights and obligations. Call Teacher Employment Services at 1‑800‑232‑7208. #WEAREATA
Please note that our office will be closed from June 29, 2022 at noon and will reopen at 8:30 am on August 22, 2022