Pension plan changes: substituting after pension

September 13, 2011 Sandra Marcellus, ATA Executive Staff Officer, Teacher Welfare

As of September 1, 2011, the 60 per cent cap on substitute service was removed from the rules of the Teachers’ Pension Plan (the Plan).

Subbing restrictions lifted

Previously, a teacher receiving a pension who substitute taught for more than 60 per cent of a substitute year (111 days) faced a dollar-for-dollar reduction in her pension for those months during which she exceeded the 60 per cent until the start of a new school year in September. This meant that many retirees stopped subbing when they accumulated 111 days (usually in May or June), thereby reducing the substitute pool at a time when demand for substitutes is high.

The amendment, effective September 1, means that retired teachers receiving pensions from the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF) can substitute teach with no restriction from the Plan. Because teachers receiving pension do not contribute to or earn service in the Plan, and substitute service does not automatically accrue but has to be purchased by the substitute teacher, the effect of this amendment to the Plan is negligible.

Cap remains on contract employment

The cap remains on contract employment by teachers receiving a pension from the Plan. ATRF pensioners who teach under contract for Alberta public, separate or charter school systems who earn any salary over .6 FTE will have their pension reduced dollar-for-dollar for those months they are over until the start of a new year in September. If a pensioner does both substitute and contract work, only the teaching on contract will count towards the 60 per cent.

Changing substitute to contract teaching

Generally, substitute teachers move onto the salary grid after they teach two to five days in the same position, depending on the collective agreement. It is not the change in pay but the signing of a contract under the School Act that changes substitute to contract teaching. Under section 101 of the School Act, a school jurisdiction that employs a substitute to replace the same teacher for a period of 20 or more days must do so under a temporary contract. School jurisdictions report employment to ATRF. If retired teachers are concerned that their employment is reported incorrectly, they should contact the employing school jurisdiction.

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