Teaching after retirement

Working as a Substitute/Fixed Term Teacher after retirement

Retired teachers may be employed as substitute teachers where no qualified serving teachers are available to a school. The position is outlined in DES Circular 31/2011:

“The purpose of this circular is to ensure, as far as practicable, that people appointed to teach are registered teachers with qualifications appropriate to the sector and suitable to the post for which they are employed and that unemployed teachers are offered employment in preference to those who have retired. It is applicable to all appointments made on or after 1 September 2011.”

The circular outlines various steps a principal must take in while attempting to appoint a serving unemployed teacher, if possible and then states that:

“Where all efforts to secure an appropriately qualified registered teacher who is not retired fail, the school may employ a retired appropriately qualified registered teacher.”

It is clear therefore, that retired fully qualified primary teachers are the first option should a primary school not succeed in appointing an unemployed serving teacher. This is emphasised in Circular 44/2019, which states: “The resource provided to schools by retired teachers is critical given the challenge some schools are currently facing to recruit.” This Circular introduces a requirement on employers to maintain a list of retired teachers in their area who are available for substitute work when no serving qualified teacher is available.

Requirements for Employment as a Substitute Teacher after retirement:


  1. A Retired Teacher must be registered with the Teaching Council. This means that any retired teacher contemplating working as a teacher again must maintain their registration with the Teaching Council.
  2. Under the provisions of the Vetting Act, which came into effect on 29 April 2014, they must be vetted by the National Vetting Bureau. Responsibility to ensure they are vetted before being offered a position is the responsibility of the employer, not the teacher. Any school employing an non vetted teacher is now in breach of the criminal law. Details of how teachers may apply for vetting are available on the Teaching Council Website at https://www.teachingcouncil.ie/en/Vetting
  3. They must complete a Declaration under the Single Scheme Act when returning to employment in a school. This declaration can be found on pages 7 & 8 of the Primary Teachers Appointment Form. The declaration must be made on first employment in each school year.”


Categories of non-permanent work which may be undertaken by a retired teacher:

A retired teacher may work as a short-term (Casual) substitute, a long-term (Non casual) substitute or as a fixed-term teacher.

Please note that rates of pay for non-casual substitutes are set at a daily rate which is based on the first point of the January 2011 scale. As a result of increases secured by the INTO under the Lansdowne Road Agreement, this scale has been increased by the addition of the equivalent of an honours primary degree allowance, together with the incorporation of the old supervision payment into the pay scale.

Rates of pay as are follows:

  • Casual (short term) substitute: Since 1 October 2023, the casual daily rate is €213.46 per day, plus €26.38 holiday pay (paid later), making a total of €239.84.
  • Non Casual (long-term) substitute (over 40 days) the daily rate is calculated by dividing the teacher’s annual salary equivalent by 182. Note that at present, retired teachers are regarded as new entrants and are paid at the first point of the January 2011 scale. Since 1 October 2023, this is €41,385.
  • Thus, a retired teacher’s non-casual daily rate will be  €41,385/182 = €227.39. Since 11% of this is holiday pay, €201.38 will be paid immediately and the remaining €25.01 will be paid later as holiday pay.
  • Fixed Term Contract: Retired teachers undertaking a fixed term contract are regarded as new entrants and their pay scale is based on the first point of the January 2011 scale, which has been increased by the incorporation of the equivalent of the honours primary degree allowance plus the equivalent of the supervision allowance.
Point 1 of the Jan 2011 Scale  
Effective 1 October 2023 €41,385

Abatement of Pension:

There is no limit set to the amount of substitute/fixed term work a teacher can undertake after retirement. However, there is a restriction on amount of salary a teacher can earn without it impacting on his/her pension. Throughout the public service, the principle of abatement applies. This principle ensures that combined earnings from the DES from pension and substitute/fixed term work cannot exceed the teacher’s pre-retirement salary.


A teacher earning €60,000 at retirement would be entitled to a pension of €30,000 after 40 years’ service. Should this teacher earn in excess of €30,000 from substitute or fixed-term work in a year, the amount over the combined €60,000 income they are now earning will be deducted from their pension. Thus, the pension is said to be abated.

The DE introduced a waiver in 2021 and extended it for 2024 and 2025 through Circular 04/2024, which states that abatement shall not apply to the salary of a teacher working up to 50 days in a calendar year. After this limit, abatement of salary may apply should the teacher’s pension, added to their annualised substitute/Fixed Term salary exceed their pre-retirement salary.

Teachers in receipt of a Supplementary Pension:

A teacher who is paying Class A PRSI, or a combination of Class A and D PRSI (i.e. teachers who broke service since 6 April 1995 and are now paying at the Class A rate) receives Co-ordinated Pension. This means that they receive pension from two sources – a teacher’s pension from the DES and the State Pension, which is paid by the Department of Social Protection.

Since the State Pension is only payable from age 66, a teacher who retires earlier will be paid a Supplementary Pension by the DES, which will bring their total income up to the level of the full teacher’s pension.

Where a teacher in receipt of a Co-Ordinated Pension returns to work, the Supplementary element of the pension ceases for the duration of the employment.

Fitness to Practice

The Teaching Council is the professional standards body for teaching that promotes and regulates the teaching profession. It acts in the interests of the public good while upholding and enhancing the reputation of the teaching profession. One of the functions of the Teaching Council is to investigate complaints and, where necessary, hold inquiries about registered teachers. A retired teacher returning to work is subject to this.

The Minister for Education and Skills formally commenced Part 5 of the Teaching Council Acts, 2001-2015 on 25 July 2016 which allows the Council to receive complaints about registered teachers and to conduct investigations and hold inquiries, where deemed appropriate.

Any person including members of the public, employers and other teachers may make a complaint about a registered teacher. In addition, the Teaching Council can itself make a complaint about a registered teacher.

Further information for teachers about fitness to practice is available here.


Important Note:

The RTAI is not a Trade Union and does not have the status to represent a retired teacher in their capacity as a working teacher. We highly recommend that members returning to teaching work should join the INTO as a Substitute Member. This will ensure the full range of protection and services which the INTO can provide. Further important information about INTO membership is available HERE