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Home > News > 2019 > June > A sustainable path to retirement

A sustainable path to retirement

Col_at_CleanUp_web.jpgStarting his career in a small Catholic secondary college for boys in Sydney, IEUA-QNT member Col Grant never anticipated to still be working in education past the customary retirement age. 

Col has spent most of his teaching career at Villanova College in Brisbane, specialising in geography and environmental science — where he is making use of his expert knowledge in a non-teaching role as part of a transition to retirement.  

“From the start of this year I have begun supply teaching and working in a non-teaching position referred to as Environmental Compliance,” Mr Grant said. 

“Supply teaching allows me to maintain contact with students and staff, while providing valuable service to the college. 

“The environmental role gives me the opportunity to follow interests I have built up over the years, working on matters I believe to be important, along with supporting the environmental initiatives of others.  

Rewarding transition pathways

Environmental Compliance has its challenges, but for the most part, Col's role is rewarding.

“This term we have switched printer and photocopy paper to 50% recycled sources, thereby reducing demand for new fibre (from trees),” Col said. 

“We are about to make the change to recycled coloured paper, which is less expensive than new paper.

“Senior students have also been replanting herb garden beds (pictured, below) in nearby church grounds for the use of priests and parishioners.” 

Col is also working towards a campus-wide recycling project for paper, cardboard and drink containers and exploring options for reducing electricity usage. 

Herb_Beds-StJames_web.jpg

Making the transition

Under the National Employment Standards (NES), employees who have completed 12 months’ continuous service have the right to request flexible working arrangements in certain circumstances. 

One circumstance is where an employee is aged 55 years or older.

Transition arrangements vary depending on a member’s individual needs and circumstances, but can include: 

  • Job sharing
  • Reduced work load 
  • Working partial days
  • Non-teaching roles
  • Accessing special leave arrangements in the lead up to retirement
  • Deferring your salary or purchasing leave under the collective agreement

Col’s transition arrangements were implemented after one-on-one discussions with his principal. 

This included four years of part-time teaching which Col concluded at the end of 2018 before begining his current largely non-teaching role. 

Col said these arrangements have formed a well-controlled conclusion to his teaching career.

He would like to see availability of transitional retirement arrangements formally included in enterprise agreements. 

“I would like to see transition to retirement separated from other flexible work clauses in the collective agreement as I believe that heading towards retirement is an entirely different form of employment when compared with other flexible work arrangements,” he said.   

Col’s school has several teachers on transitional arrangements which have benefited the whole school. 

“Staff satisfaction raises as stress levels fall, expertise can be harnessed in different and interesting ways and school cultural memory is extended.”

Our union can help

As an IEUA-QNT member, our union helped Col explore different options available for transitioning to retirement. 

“Our IEU officers and other union members have helped me to clarify issues involved in seeking transition to retirement at my school,” said Col.    

Our union can help members: 

  • Understand the process of transitioning to retirement 
  • Advise specific leave or transition to retirement entitlements as outlined in collective agreements
  • Read through and provide advice on applications
  • Pursue a dispute where possible, should an application be rejected. 

Members can contact our union to access member-only resources on transitioning to retirement.


Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.