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
Updates from ATA Provincial