I heard from a friend of a friend that teachers in BC (and elsewhere in Canada) can choose to accept 80% of their salary and, in return, take one in five years off. They’re not guaranteed exactly the same job when they come back, but I gather they get a similar one. I searched the web and the BC Teacher’s Federation website (BCTF) in particular to confirm this, but couldn’t do so. Does anybody know if this is true? Various people on Twitter thought it did, but I’ve emailed the media contact at the BCTF to confirm.
It’s not that important, because I’m more interested in the abstract concept. If I were a teacher, it would seem pretty enticing. I know 20% is a significant salary reduction, but I imagine one could pick up work in the summer time to to reduce that to 10 – 15%.
If you make $55K a year, then that gets reduced to $44K. Given the nine weeks in the summer, one could, conservatively earn another $5000, bringing us back up to $49K, or a 13% reduction in salary. That seems well worth it for five years off over a 25 year career. Imagine the possibilities for travel, professional development, recuperation or just plain old leisure. You could, for example, write a novel every five years.
I see this model working best in highly ordered and predictable careers like policing, nursing and teaching, where seniority is a key determiner in advancement, and jobs are reasonably plug-and play. It’s also suited to careers where innovation is slow-moving (see also the academic’s sabbatical, though in those cases I gather that they’re expected to be producing academic work).
In a corporate setting, I’d imagine taking one in five years off would be pretty stigmatizing. In highly competitive fields, you might be labeled a slacker. I wonder if this is also the case among teachers, and what percentage of BC teachers take advantage of this job benefit? I’d also be curious to see if taking off one year in five has an impact on performance.