Re-employing public servants - Time for rules on old pals’ act

MORE than 500 retired teachers were given work in schools last year and though there may be valid reasons for this be-haviour, it does seem unfair to those newly qualified teachers trying to establish themselves in their chosen career.

The number of retired teachers given work fell by more than 60% between 2012 and 2014, down from almost 1,400 to 537. The decrease was greater at primary level, down 64% in two years, so it does seem the issue is being tackled.

The Department of Education has contacted 147 schools about their obligation to prioritise unemployed qualified teachers for all vacancies. Department figures show that 62%of retired teachers re-employed in schools in 2013/14 had the equivalent of at least one week’s work. This may not seem a spectacular figure but to a young teacher trying to make their way in the world they may be worthy of envy.

It is more likely that a good proportion of re-employed teachers would prefer to concentrate on their golf handicap or herbaceous borders and they should not be overly criti-cised for a problem that seems to appear right across the pub-lic service. People take early retirement but are re-employed as consultants, doing more or less the same work as they did before retirement. This seems like a case of having your cake and eating it. A rule precluding retired public employees collecting any work pension until they are 65 if they take up any other State work might help end this old pals’ act.

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