Time is priceless

Flexible work arrangements, deferred salary options gaining popularity in total rewards
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/20/2006

Five years ago, Mary Louise Ireland, a Toronto high school teacher, was finishing her Masters of Education in counselling and was considering going on to do her PhD. As part of the program, she would need to complete 500 hours of clinical work, something that would be impossible to do while working as part of the chaplaincy team at Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School and teaching psychology classes in the family studies department. She knew she would have to take some kind of leave from work if she wanted to complete her degree.

Luckily, the Toronto Catholic District School Board offers a salary deferment program, called a “four-over-five,” where a teacher, or any board employee, works for four years for four-fifths of her salary and then during the fifth year doesn’t have to work but still receives four-fifths of her salary.

Two years into the four-over-five, Ireland decided not to pursue her PhD but she continued with the program and ended up using her year off to work with a performance psychologist for two months last fall and to renovate her home. While she considered doing more counselling, she didn’t want to make any commitments she couldn’t keep because she would be returning to teaching.