Medical retirement for principals and teachers

If you have a terminal or serious illness you may be eligible to apply for medical retirement. It’s important that you discuss your options with your employer before you apply. Medical retirement can’t be granted after you resign or retire.

Who can apply for medical retirement

You may be eligible for medical retirement if you have a terminal or serious illness that means you can no longer work, and you’re a:

  • primary principal
  • secondary principal
  • secondary teacher
  • area school principal, or
  • area school teacher.

There’s no provision for teachers covered by the Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement or the promulgated individual employment agreement to receive a payment for medical retirement.

Your employment agreement

To be eligible for medical retirement you must be covered by the terms and conditions of your employment agreement. Entitlements are set out in the collective agreements.

Secondary teachers

Clause 3.12 – Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement

Appendix B - Secondary Teachers' Collective Agreement

Secondary principals

Part 7 – Secondary Principals’ Collective Agreement

Area school teachers

Clause 2.9 – Area School Teachers’ Collective Agreement

Appendix 6 - Area School Teachers' Collective Agreement

Area school principals

Part 7 – Area School Principals’ Collective Agreement

Schedule D – Area School Principals’ Collective Agreement

Primary principals

Clause 10.4 – Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement

Appendix 5 – Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement 

Before you apply

If you’re thinking about taking medical retirement it’s important that you discuss your options with your employer first.

You must still be an employee when you apply for medical retirement. It can’t be granted after you resign or retire.

Refer to the relevant clause in your employment agreement and if you have any questions, get independent advice from, for example, a union representative or employment lawyer.

How to apply

Unless you’re a secondary principal, you must apply to your board of trustees using the following medical retirement application form.

Medical retirement application form [DOC, 111 KB]

You must include a written statement from a medical specialist that sets out why you won’t be able to return to work. This statement must describe the nature of your illness and how it affects your ability to work. If you’re unable to get a specialist’s opinion, you can provide a general practitioner’s opinion, but your GP will need to explain why it’s not possible for you to get a specialist’s opinion.

If your board considers the medical evidence supports your application, they’ll complete the rest of the form and send it, along with the medical information, to the Ministry of Education.

How to apply if you’re a secondary principal

If you’re a secondary principal you must apply in writing to your board. You’ll need to provide a medical opinion that explains your illness and how it affects your ability to work.

The Board may ask you to get a second opinion from a doctor or specialist who they choose.

Your board can decide in your medical retirement application – you don’t need to send it to the Ministry of Education.

Your board can apply for your medical retirement

Your school board can start the medical retirement process if board members believe you can’t carry out your duties because of a mental or physical illness. The board will need you to have a medical examination. This is called an employer initiated process and provisions are set out in the collective agreements as follows:

Appendix 5, clause 1.4 – Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement

Appendix B, clause 1.5 – Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement

Schedule D, clause 1.7 – Area School Principals’ Collective Agreement

Appendix 6, clause 6.8 – Area School Teachers’ Collective Agreement

Retiring a secondary principal

Your school board may start the medical retirement process if board members believe you can’t carry out your duties because of a mental or physical illness. The board will need you to have a medical examination.

If you prefer, you can have 2 medical examinations, with you choosing one practitioner, and the board choosing the second. You may have to stand down as principal while this is happening.

If you’re granted medical retirement

If the Ministry of Education agrees to your medical retirement, you’ll be medically retired from the date of the letter the Ministry sends to your employer.

Your school will inform the New Zealand Teachers Council that you’re leaving the teaching profession and won’t return because of health reasons.

Your employer will talk to you about the options you can choose for your medical retirement payment. Payment provisions are set out in the collective agreements as follows:

Appendix 5, clause 1.4 – Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement

Appendix 6, clause 1.5 – Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement

Schedule D, clause 1.7 – Area School Principals’ Collective Agreement

Appendix 6, clause 6.8 – Area School Teachers’ Collective Agreement

Secondary principals

If your board approves your medical retirement there are 2 ways your medical retirement payment can be calculated. You’ll get whichever amount is larger, as set out in clause 7.1.5 of the collective agreement.

Clause 7.1.5 – Secondary Principals’ Collective Agreement

Medical retirement payments

If you’re granted medical retirement, you’re the only person who can get a payment. For example, it can’t be paid to your estate if you die before getting the payment. In these cases, there may be grounds for a compassionate grant.

You can’t get medical retirement if you’re receiving ACC payments for your condition. You can’t get medical retirement for stress alone, although you may get it if you have a terminal or serious illness that stress has contributed to.

Further information

For further information email:

employment.relations@education.govt.nz

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