Circular 31/2011 details a cascade of measures for recruitment of teachers, prioritising unemployed registered teachers over retired registered teachers and registered teachers over unregistered persons. It is important to note that schools themselves employ teachers and not the Department of Education and Skills. Ultimately, the decision lies with the principal or board of management of the school.
Under the current Circulars, each principal must report to his or her board of management on a regular basis on the fact that a list of unemployed registered teachers is being maintained, and the circumstances in which he or she has had to engage a registered teacher in receipt of a pension under a public service pension scheme or an unregistered person.
From January 2011 teachers who are in receipt of a pension and who return to teaching are remunerated at the first point of the relevant salary scales applicable to new entrants. This represents a significant financial disincentive for teachers who retired at the top of their salary scale, often with a post of responsibility allowance, to return to teaching.