Ease the Separation from Service Requirement for Retired Educators and Classified Professionals
March 19, 2023


Whereas, the largest impediment to retired California educational professionals returning to the classroom is the 180-day separation-from-service requirement; and

Whereas, while there is a process in place to allow a district to waive the 180-day rule to allow a recent retiree to return as a substitute teacher or part-time instructor, that waiver process is difficult; and

Whereas, Governor Newsom issued an executive order to ease and streamline the waiver process during the COVID-19 public health emergency; and

Whereas, the essential core of American democracy is a well-educated populace, knowledgeable about current economic and political legislation and conditions that directly impact the daily lives of its citizens; and 

Whereas, public education has as its primary responsibility the thorough education of American citizens so they fully understand the fundamental principles of each academic discipline and their relevant application to decisions that control America’s economic and political life; and

Whereas, to carry out their responsibilities effectively, institutions of public education at every academic level must be well-staffed with knowledgeable, effective instructors; and

Whereas, while education’s current staffing shortages and excessive workloads have always been serious problems that undermine the efficacy of public education, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused even more severe staffing shortages that promise to become even worse, as indicated by a recent NEA report that more than half (55%) of members plan to leave education sooner than planned because of the pandemic, a significant increase from 37% in August. This is even higher among Black (62%) and Hispanic/Latino (59%) educators, who are already underrepresented in the teaching profession. This is true for educators regardless of age or years teaching. 56% of educators under 50 years old and 54% of educators 50 and older, and 50% of educators with 10 or fewer years in the profession, 58% of educators with 11-20 years, and 57% of educators with 21 years or more say they are likely to leave before they had planned. 86% of members say they have seen more educators leaving the profession or retiring early since the start of the pandemic; and

Whereas, bringing highly qualified retirees back into active work at school sites would significantly combat the teacher and school staff shortages which address the alarming findings of the AFT Task Force Report on School Staff Shortages, Here Today, Gone to Tomorrow?: “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 300,000 teachers were leaving the profession every year. Per a June 2022 Rand Corp. survey, about one-third of teachers and principals reported that they were likely to leave their current job by the end of the 2021-22 school year, up from about one quarter of teachers and 15 percent of principals in January 2021”; and

Whereas, since the beginning of the pandemic, school staff employment has fallen across positions, leaving schools without the necessary staff in almost every position; and

Whereas, bringing highly qualified retirees back into active work at school sites would also complement the Biden administration’s three-pronged approach of working with recruitment firms to find new potential applicants, subsidizing other prospective teachers’ training, and paying them more so they’ll stay once they undertake full-time service; and

Whereas, in Here Today, Gone to Tomorrow?, AFT thoroughly discussed ways to attract and retain school workers, but didn’t address the role that fully qualified retirees can play in resolving school staffing shortages. Nor does it address a serious additional concern caused by the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset (WEP/GPO), both of which discourage those considering leaving their current career to enter teaching;

Therefore, be it resolved, that the CFT supports mandating districts to inform retiring education professionals of the process that allows waiving the 180-day separation of service requirement; and

Be it further resolved, that the CFT supports extending for three years the streamlined waiver of the 180-day separation from service requirement that simplifies allowing qualified retired educational professionals to return to service; and 

Be it further resolved, that the present restriction, “The member would not be working in the same job title from which the member retired,” be clarified by stating that, “while the returning member would not be working in the same job title from which the member retired, there would be no restriction on the returning member working in the same academic discipline or service area in which the returning member was previously employed;” and

Be it finally resolved, that the AFT be encouraged to expand its Task Force report with an addendum that thoroughly discusses the school staffing shortage problems caused by the WEP/GPO because of the profound financial penalties they imposed on retirees.

  • Submitted by the Retirement Policy Committee and the San Francisco Community College District Federation of Teachers, Retiree Chapter, Local 2121-R