Guidelines for teachers considering retirement
1. What are the alternatives?
For those who may no longer want to work full-time there are sometimes alternatives to a full retirement.
- It may be worth considering the voluntary relinquishment of units, and/or altering one's job from a permanent full-time to a permanent part-time position, or changing to a job share position.
- Sometimes a period of leave may be all that is needed to rekindle enthusiasm. Refreshment leave (STCA 6.7; ASTCA 5.7) or a similar period of unpaid leave may be the answer.
- Where health (particularly stress) is an issue affecting a teacher's continued ability to perform the job, then the employer may be obliged to consider alterations to a teacher's job in order to protect his or her health.
Teachers who are considering these options should seek advice on how to safeguard their future entitlements from their superannuation provider.
2. Do you have enough information?
A number of organisations run pre-retirement seminars. Typically, these seminars cover the need for financial planning and for lifestyle planning. A consistent message from these seminars is that it is never too early to begin thinking about, and planning for, retirement.
A teacher needs to establish what her or his retirement income will be. Information may need to be ascertained from various superannuation funds.
3. What about sick leave?
A retiring teacher cannot normally "cash up" his or her sick leave. If a teacher is unwell she or he should use their paid sick leave entitlement before making a final decision. Medical certificates would be required.
When a teacher becomes seriously ill, to the extent of becoming unable to teach in the foreseeable future, then it may be advisable to apply for medical retirement.
(STCA 3.12, STCA Appendix B; ASTCA 2.9, ASTCA Appendix 6)
4. How much notice should I give?
A teacher is normally obliged to give two months' notice of a resignation. A shorter period of notice may be acceptable to the employer, if requested. No reason need be given as part of the letter of resignation. (STCA 3.11; ASTCA 2.8)
When the teacher's school has a falling roll the teacher should consult his or her field officer before resigning.
5. Loose ends
If a teacher retires during the financial year, then she or he may be taxed too highly. A tax return will then have to be lodged to correct this.
If a retired teacher wants to retain membership of PPTA then he or she may join as an honorary member. This costs $50 per year and is payable by annual invoice. The teacher should apply using the usual membership application form.
Honorary membership allows an ex-teacher to continue to be a member of the Education Benevolent Society (EBS).
A retired teacher who returns to state teaching, even as a casual reliever, should retain full membership of PPTA in order to ensure correct coverage.
6. Seeking advice
The website Sorted has a useful section on retirement planning.
Colleagues who have recently retired will be worth talking to.
Advice on superannuation schemes may be found as follows:
Government Superannuation Fund
Teacher Retirement Savings Scheme
State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme
Work and Income
Work and Income can give advice related to New Zealand superannuation: phone 0800 552 002.
Note: NZ Superannuation is not back paid so it is important to apply before your 65th birthday.
A discount and concession card for those aged 65 and over. It replaces the Community Services Card and the NZ Super Card. For enquiries, or an application form, the SuperGold Card Centre's phone number is 0800 25 45 65.
The Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income
The Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income can give advice on residents' and intending residents' rights for those considering moving to a retirement village. Phone 0800 43 87 67.
PPTA Field Officers can offer advice