Hours, contracts, salary - explained

All the information you need to know when starting your teaching career.

Your job

The number of teacher appointments in a school is linked to the number of students attending that school. The current pupil-teacher ratio is 19:1 so for every 19 students, one permanent full-time teaching position is allocated. These positions are called ‘in quota’ positions and are funded by the Department of Education and Skills.

Schools can also apply to the Department for ‘concessionary’ teaching hours. These extra hours are granted depending on a school’s individual needs. Some schools may also pay for teaching hours directly from their own funds.

Many newly qualified teachers (NQT) will begin their teaching careers in temporary positions covering for teachers on leave or covering concessionary hours. The ASTI is campaigning for a reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio and an increase in the number of teaching positions available in order to improve opportunities for new teachers and to improve the quality of education for all students.

Click here for advice on finding a teaching job.


Your contract

The type of contract you hold depends on the reasons for the vacancy and the type of hours you will cover. In-quota positions are permanent while concessionary hours will normally result in a fixed-term contract. Outside of concessionary hours, a fixed-term contract should only be given when the need for the teacher’s service is genuinely a temporary one, for example, where you are replacing a teacher on leave.

You should make sure you receive clear written information on the terms and conditions of your job, either in the form of a letter of appointment, a written contract, or a written statement. You are entitled to this information and it’s important that you have it so that you fully understand the nature of your employment. Remember to keep a copy of all documents, as they may be important in future. If there is anything you are unsure of ask your ASTI school steward or ASTI Head Office for clarification or advice before you sign anything.

Check that your contract:
Sets out the nature and duration of your employment
Clarifies the type of contract under which you are employed: fixed-term or permanent, part-time or whole-time.
Clarifies the number of hours per week you are contracted to teach
Names the subjects and levels you will be teaching
Gives the reason for the vacancy you are filling
Tells you whether you will be paid by the Department of Education, the school, or the VEC

For more on contracts, click here.


Part-time or non-permanent?

Unfortunately, most new teachers will not find permanent or full-time employment right away. Instead most new teachers teach part-time hours or on fixed-term contracts.

A regular part time (RPT) teacher is appointed where the need for part-time hours is viable for at least a year.

A casual part time teacher is appointed where there is a casual need for hours to be covered, for example, when replacing a teacher on short-term sick leave.

A fixed-term contract is awarded for concessionary hours, or where there is a specific reason for a temporary position, for example where you will be covering the hours of a teacher on leave.

For more on the various kinds of non-permanent contracts, including salary information, click here.


Permanent vs CID

Some teachers entering service for the first time may just be lucky enough to find full-time permanent positions. Such teachers may receive a probationary contract but once the probationary period has been served the teacher should receive a continuous contract.

A Contract of Indefinite Duration (CID) affords the holder the same rights and entitlements as a permanent teacher, except that their salary is based on the number of hours they teach per week. From September 2015, if you have been employed on two successive fixed-term contacts, you may be entitled to a contract of indefinite duration. For an important update on CIDs, click here. A CID holder on 18 hours or more per week may be paid full time salary if they agree in writing to be timetabled for up to 22 hours per week.

For more on CIDs click here.


Your salary

Your salary will depend on when you were first appointed, your qualifications, years of service, number of hours, the period of your contract and the nature of your contract. A permanent full-time teacher is paid based on a 25-point incremental scale plus allowances (if applicable). 

A fixed-term teacher’s salary is based on a pro-rata fraction of the relevant point on the salary scale plus allowances (if applicable), depending on how many hours they teach.

A qualified casual part-time teacher is paid an hourly rate for each hour of teaching. After 150 hours at the casual rate in one school year, the teacher is paid a personal non-casual hourly rate based on a pro-rata fraction of a full time salary.

A regular part time (RPT) teacher is employed and paid for 12 months (September to August), and is paid at an hourly rate that is calculated by dividing the relevant salary scale point rate plus allowances by 735.

More information is available in the non-permanent teachers' salary section.