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Pensions and Benefits
RECENT LEGISLATION
2003
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Chapter 308, P.L. 2003 Provides that if a member of the Legislature elects health benefits coverage on the basis of service in the Legislature, the member will not enroll as the primary insured for health benefits for which the member is eligible through any other public entity, and will not accept any amount of money in consideration for filing a waiver of coverage.
Chapter 263, P.L. 2003 Provides for enrollment in the Public Employees' Retirement System of New Jersey (PERS) of eligible employees of any bi-state or multi-state agency in which New Jersey is a participant.
Chapter 246, P.L. 2003 Provides that two persons who desire to become domestic partners may execute and file an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership with the local registrar upon payment of a fee, in an amount to be determined by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services.
Chapter 207, P.L. 2003 Contains a number of provisions intended to promote greater public understanding and comparison of long‑term care coverage, protect applicants from unfair or deceptive sales practices, promote greater availability of long‑term care coverage and encourage the development of innovative long‑term care products.
Chapter 197, P.L. 2003 Extends eligibility for certain veterans' benefits to veterans of Operations "Enduring Freedom" and "Iraqi Freedom" who served at least 14 days in the theater of operation of those campaigns and in direct support thereof.
Chapter 193, P.L. 2003 Establishes a Mandated Health Benefits Advisory Commission to study the social, financial and medical impact of proposed mandated health benefits.
Chapter 181, P.L. 2003 Provides that the eligibility of a surviving spouse to receive an accidental death benefit under the Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS) or the State Police Retirement System (SPRS) shall not terminate upon remarriage.
Chapter 172, P.L. 2003 Provides that a part-time State employee or a part-time faculty member, including part-time lecturers and adjunct faculty members, at a public institution of higher education in this State, who is enrolled in a State-administered retirement system, will be entitled to participate in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and may purchase health benefits coverage in the State managed care plan under the SHBP for the employee or faculty member, and the dependents of the employee or faculty member.
Chapter 167, P.L. 2003 Amends certain provisions of the statutes governing the operation of a retirement system for employees of a city of the first class with fewer than 300,000 inhabitants.
Chapter 155, P.L. 2003 Authorizes boards of education to establish tax-sheltered deferred compensation plans under section 457 of the federal Internal Revenue Code.
Chapter 142, P.L. 2003 Provides health care benefits coverage through the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) to members of the New Jersey National Guard, and their dependents, during the period when the member is called to State active duty by the Governor for at least 30 days within a 35 consecutive day period.
Chapter 140, P.L. 2003 Allows an individual nominated and appointed pursuant to Article VII, Section II, paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution to the position of a county prosecutor after January 7, 2002 to receive full credit in the Prosecutors Part of the Public Employees' Retirement (PERS) for non-Prosecutor Part PERS service rendered prior to the date of appointment.
Chapter 130, P.L. 2003 Provides for additional retirement benefits for employees of an employer other than the State, that elects to offer the benefits, who retire under the Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS).
Chapter 129, P.L. 2003 Provides additional retirement benefits to certain employees of a local school board, educational services commission or jointure commission that elect to provide the benefits, who retire under the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) or the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF).
Chapter 128, P.L. 2003 Provides additional retirement benefits to certain employees of a county, a county college or a municipality that elect to provide the benefits, who retire under the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS), the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) or the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP).
Chapter 127, P.L. 2003 Provides additional retirement benefits to certain employees of a public agency or instrumentality, other than State agencies or instrumentalities, that elects to provide the benefits, who retire under the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS).
Chapter 119, P.L. 2003 Modifies the benefits of State employees under the SHBP and the New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act. 
Chapter 108, P.L. 2003 Reduces for four years the pension contributions that local employers must make to the PERS and the PFRS, exempts for a limited period, local employer contributions to PERS and PFRS from the local budget cap law, and provides for a prospective increase to the PFRS special retirement benefit upon the pension system attaining a funded level in excess of 104 percent.
Chapter 75, P.L. 2003 Eliminates the provision in the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) that reduces the insurance benefit payable to an active participant that dies after attaining age 70 from 3 1/2 to 1/2 times the participant's base annual salary
Chapter 71, P.L. 2003 Provides for the addition of two members to the membership of the State Health Benefits Commission.The current members are the State Treasurer who serves as the Chairman, the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance and the Commissioner of Personnel.
Chapter 3, P.L. 2003 Amends the statutes that allows a municipality or contracting unit, that participates in the State Health Benefits Program — or a county, municipality, or contracting unit, that participates in another group health benefits plan — to allow an employee who is eligible for other health care coverage to waive coverage to which the employee is entitled as an employee of the county, municipality, or contracting unit.

Links to the New Jersey Legislature and other legislature information.


Chapter 246, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: January 12, 2004.

Effective Date: This act shall take effect on the 180th day after enactment (July 10, 2004).

Description:

This new law is designated the "Domestic Partnership Act."  It creates a mechanism, through the establishment of domestic partnerships, for New Jersey to recognize and support the many adult individuals in this State who share an important personal, emotional and committed relationship with another adult.

The law provides that two persons who desire to become domestic partners may execute and file an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership with the local registrar upon payment of a fee, in an amount to be determined by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, if they meet all of the following requirements:

  • Both persons share a common residence in this State, or share the same place to live in another jurisdiction and at least one of them is a member of a State-administered retirement system;

  • Both persons are otherwise jointly responsible for each other's common welfare as evidenced by joint financial arrangements or joint ownership of real or personal property, which are to be demonstrated by at least one of the following: a joint deed, mortgage agreement or lease; a joint bank account; designation of one of the persons as a primary beneficiary in the other person's will; designation of one of the persons as a primary beneficiary in the other person's life insurance policy or retirement plan; or joint ownership of a motor vehicle;

  • Both persons agree to be jointly responsible for each other's basic living expenses during the domestic partnership;

  • Neither person is in a marriage recognized by New Jersey law or a member of another domestic partnership;

  • Neither person is related to the other by blood or affinity up to and including the fourth degree of consanguinity;

  • Both persons are of the same sex and therefore unable to enter into a marriage with each other that is recognized by New Jersey law, or are each 62 years of age or older and not of the same sex;

  • Both persons have chosen to share each other's lives in a committed relationship of mutual caring;

  • Both persons are at least 18 years of age;

  • Both persons file jointly an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership; and

  • Neither person has been a partner in a domestic partnership that was terminated less than 180 days prior to the filing of the current Affidavit of Domestic Partnership, except that this prohibition does not apply if one of the partners died; and, in all cases in which a person registered a prior domestic partnership, the domestic partnership must have been terminated in accordance with the provisions of the law.

In the case of domestic partners that are not of the same sex,  the domestic partnership will terminate automatically upon the partners' entry into a marriage with each other that is recognized by New Jersey law.

This law accords domestic partners rights and responsibilities that reflect the mutually interdependent and supportive nature of domestic partnership relationships.  It provides all domestic partners with:

  • statutory protection through the "Law Against Discrimination" (N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et seq.) against various forms of discrimination based on domestic partnership status, including employment, housing and credit discrimination;

  • visitation rights for a hospitalized domestic partner and the right to make medical or legal decisions for an incapacitated partner; and

  • an additional personal exemption under the "New Jersey Gross Income Tax Act" (N.J.S.A. 54A:1-1 et seq.) and an exemption from the New Jersey transfer inheritance tax on the same basis as a spouse.

This law also makes certain health and pension benefits available to dependent domestic partners in the case of domestic partnerships in which both persons are of the same sex and therefore unable to enter into a marriage with each other that is recognized by New Jersey law:

  • in the case of State employees, eligibility for dependent coverage under the State Health Benefits Program and dependent benefits under State-administered retirement systems (Public Employees' Retirement System, Police and Firemen's Retirement System, Judicial Retirement System, Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund, and State Police Retirement System);

  • in the case of other public employees, including employees of counties, municipalities and boards of education, eligibility for dependent coverage under the State Health Benefits Program and State-administered retirement systems, if the employer adopts a resolution providing for such coverage; and

  • eligibility for dependent coverage under health insurance contracts and policies that commercial health and dental insurers are required to offer to covered persons under the law.

It also provides that two adults who have not filed an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership are to be treated as domestic partners in an emergency medical situation for the purposes of allowing one adult to accompany the other adult who is ill or injured while the latter is being transported to a hospital, or to visit the other adult who is a hospital patient, on the same basis as a member of the latter's immediate family, if both persons, or one of the persons in the event that the other person is legally or medically incapacitated, advise the emergency care provider that the two persons have met the other requirements for establishing a domestic partnership; however, this provision is not to be construed to permit the two adults to be treated as domestic partners for any other purpose prior to their having filed an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership.

Additionally, this law stipulates that, notwithstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary,  the following provisions in this law shall not be deemed an unlawful discrimination under the "Law Against Discrimination" (N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et seq.):

  • Section 57, which permits an employer that provides a health benefits plan (as defined in N.J.S.A. 26:2S‑2) to its employees and their dependents to require that an employee contribute a portion or the full amount of the cost of dependent coverage under the plan for the employee's domestic partner, and

  • Section 58, which deals with the distinction between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples over 62 years of age who establish domestic partnerships with respect to health and pension benefits made available to dependent domestic partners under this law.

The SHBP and State administered pension statutes impacted by this law can be found in Sections 41 through 46 of the law.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 246, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (427K)

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Chapter 207, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: January 8, 2004.

Effective Date: July 6, 2004.

Description:

This law is based on a Model Act adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to regulate long-term care insurance.

The law contains a number of provisions intended to promote greater public understanding and comparison of long‑term care coverage, protect applicants from unfair or deceptive sales practices, promote greater availability of long‑term care coverage and encourage the development of innovative long‑term care products.

Among the more important consumer protection measures included in the law are provisions that:

  1. Authorize the offering of products which combine long term care products and life insurance.

  2. Require a standard outline of coverage be delivered to a prospective insured at the time of initial solicitation.  The standard outline highlights a policy's benefits and points out its important features and facilitates comparison shopping by consumers.

  3. Prohibit termination of coverage on grounds of age or deterioration of health (mental or physical).

  4. Prohibit the establishment of a new waiting period in the event existing coverage is converted to or replaced by a new or other form within the same company or affiliated company.

  5. Require disclosure of conditions imposed on eligibility for benefits, such as prior hospitalization or institutionalization.  No long-term care insurance policy shall be delivered or issued for delivery in this State if that policy conditions eligibility for any benefits on a prior hospitalization requirement.  Consumers will better understand what triggers coverage (usually the inability to perform a certain number of activities of daily living, or "ADLs"), whether services are covered or excluded, and where covered services are delivered (such as nursing home or home health care).

  6. Require a 30-day free look at the policy with right to return and have the premium refunded.  Consumers will be able to study and review the policy with family or professionals.

  7. Restrict preexisting condition limitations and provide that "preexisting condition" means a condition for which medical advice or treatment was recommended by, or received from a provider of health care services, within six months preceding the effective date of coverage of an insured person.

  8. Require the offering of a nonforfeiture benefit.  A nonforfeiture benefit means that if a person drops coverage, for whatever reason, the person will still receive some value for the money already paid into the policy.

  9. Establish an incontestability period.

The law adds two new provisions to the NAIC Model Act by including provisions concerning forms and rate filings for long‑term care policies issued on an individual basis in New Jersey.  Every long-term care insurance policy shall be filed with the commissioner for prior approval.  Any form which is filed with the commissioner and approved or deemed approved may be issued in this State until a subsequent withdrawal of the filing by the commissioner after a hearing.  Rate filings for long-term care insurance issued on an individual basis must receive prior approval.  The rates must not be excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory.

Any insurer or insurance producer found to have violated the provisions of this law or any other laws regulating the sale or marketing of long-term care insurance is subject to a fine of up to three times the amount of any commissions paid for each policy involved in the violation or $10,000, whichever is greater.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 207, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (120K)

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Chapter 197, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: December 16, 2003.

Effective Date: December 16, 2003.

Description:

This law extends eligibility for certain veterans' benefits to veterans of Operations "Enduring Freedom" and "Iraqi Freedom" who served at least 14 days in the theater of operation of those campaigns and in direct support thereof.

The benefits for which a qualified veteran will become eligible under this law include:

  • For eligible public employees, absolute civil service preference under Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes;

  • For eligible members of the public employee pension systems, (a) the veteran's retirement allowance under the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) or the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS), and (b) the right to purchase additional pension credit in the Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS), TPAF or PERS; and

  • For homeowners, entitlement to the annual property tax deduction provided for by Article VIII of the New Jersey Constitution ($250 in each tax year) or a property tax exemption if the eligible person has a total and permanent service-incurred disability.

Of the two operations, service that may qualify a person for benefits under the law is as follows:

  • "Enduring Freedom" refers collectively to operations conducted abroad since September 11, 2001, in prosecution of the war against terror, including but not limited to operations conducted in Afghanistan.

  • "Iraqi Freedom" refers to the operations in and around Iraq beginning* in March 2003 and still ongoing.

In addition to its broadening of veterans' benefit eligibility, this law makes technical changes and updates to descriptions of what constitutes service during the military conflicts of Operation "Restore Hope" in Somalia and Operations "Joint Endeavor" and "Joint Guard" in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

*March 19, 2003

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 197, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (195K)

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Chapter 193, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: November 21, 2003.

Effective Date: November 21, 2003.

Description:

This law establishes a Mandated Health Benefits Advisory Commission to study the social, financial and medical impact of proposed mandated health benefits.

Mandated health benefits are defined in this law as benefits or coverage that are required by law to be provided by a carrier and includes: coverage for specific health care services, treatments or practices; or direct reimbursement to specific health care providers.

The commission would be comprised of the following 17 voting members: the Commissioners of Health and Senior Services, Human Services and Banking and Insurance or their designees, who shall serve ex officio; three public members appointed by the President of the Senate, who shall include a representative of a commercial health insurance company, a physician licensed in this State who is a member of the Medical Society of New Jersey, and a representative of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, no more than two of whom shall be from the same political party; three public members appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, who shall include a representative of a health service corporation, a physician licensed in this State, and a representative of organized labor, no more than two of whom shall be from the same political party; and eight public members appointed by the Governor, who shall include a medical educator from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey whose major field of expertise is the study and evaluation of the cost of health care and health insurance, a representative of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans, a representative of the New Jersey Hospital Association, a representative of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, a representative of the New Jersey Dental Association, a representative of a consumer advocacy organization and two representatives of the general public who are knowledgeable about health benefits plans.

This law also provides that the President of the Senate and Speaker of the General Assembly may each appoint two members of their respective House, no more than one of whom, in each case, shall be from the same political party, to serve as nonvoting members of the commission.

The Department of Banking and Insurance, in consultation with the Department of Health and Senior Services, shall provide assistance to the commission in carrying out its duties.

Pursuant to this law, whenever a bill containing a mandated health benefit is introduced in the Legislature, the chairman of the standing reference committee to which the bill has been referred in the House in which it was introduced is to request the commission to prepare a written report that assesses the social and financial effects and the medical efficacy of the proposed mandated health benefit.  The commission is to conduct a review of the pending legislation that assesses the social and financial effects and the medical efficacy, as appropriate, of the proposed mandated health benefit.  This law specifies criteria that the commission shall consider in its review and provides that the commission shall complete its review of a bill, and provide its comments and recommendations in writing to the prime sponsor, committee chairman and presiding officer of the House in which the bill is pending.  The substitute specifies that for the period ending December 31, 2002, the commission would have 90 days after the review is requested to complete its review.  Beginning January 1, 2004, the commission would be required to complete its review in 60 days.  The commission, however, may request an extension prior to the 90th or 60th day, as applicable, in which case the presiding officer of the House in which the bill is pending may grant an extension of up to 45 days for the commission to complete its review.

The House or standing reference committee, as applicable, shall not consider or vote upon the bill until either:  (1) the commission completes its review and provides its comments and recommendations in writing to the prime sponsor, committee chairman and presiding officer of the House in which the bill is pending, or  (2) the 90th or 60th day, as applicable, after the date the review is requested, if no extension was granted, or the designated day for the end of the extension period, whichever is later.  The House or standing reference committee, however, may consider and vote on the bill prior to receipt of the commission's report or the end of the review period described above, if:  (1) the presiding officer of the House in which the bill is pending determines that the bill is an urgent matter and so notifies the commission and applicable committee chairman, or  (2) the chairman of the standing reference committee to which the bill is referred, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, determines that the bill is of such an urgent nature that it would seriously impair the public health to wait for the commission to issue its report, and so notifies the presiding officer of the House and the commission.

In the course of studying and evaluating mandated health benefits, the commission shall have the responsibility to develop criteria for a system and program of data collection for use by the Departments of Health and Senior Services and Banking and Insurance.  Both departments would utilize these data to assess the impact of mandated health benefits, which would include an analysis of the cost to employers and insurers, the impact of treatment and the cost savings to the health care system.  The commission is also directed to review and provide comments with respect to any regulations that would affect mandated health benefits.

The commission is to report to the Governor and Legislature in three years on its activities.  The report shall include a summary of the bills reviewed by the commission and the commission's findings, and any recommendations the commission may have regarding the review process.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 193, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (113K)

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Chapter 181, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: September 12, 2003.

Effective Date: September 12, 2003.

Description:

This law provides that the eligibility of a surviving spouse to receive an accidental death benefit under the Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS) or the State Police Retirement System (SPRS) shall not terminate upon remarriage.

Under the PFRS, when a member of the system dies in active service as a result of an accident met in the actual performance of duty, the surviving spouse is eligible to receive a survivorship benefit consisting of (i) a pension equal to 70% of the compensation upon which contributions by the member were based in the last year of creditable service, and (ii) State-paid coverage under the member's employer-sponsored health insurance plan.  Under the SPRS, the corresponding accidental death benefit to the surviving spouse is a pension of 70% of the average compensation received by the member in the last 12 months of creditable service prior to death, plus the health benefit coverage. 

Prior to the enactment of this law, under both the PFRS and SPRS, the surviving spouse ceases to be eligible for the accidental death benefit if he or she remarries.  This law allows these surviving spouses to remarry without losing the benefit.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 181, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (141K)

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Chapter 172, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: September 4, 2003.

Effective Date: January 1, 2004.

Description:

This law provides that a part-time State employee or a part-time faculty member, including part-time lecturers and adjunct faculty members, at a public institution of higher education in this State, who is enrolled in a State-administered retirement system, will be entitled to participate in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and may purchase health benefits coverage in the State managed care plan under the SHBP for the employee or faculty member, and the dependents of the employee or faculty member.  If such an employee or faculty member elects to enroll and purchase coverage, the employee or faculty member will pay the full cost of the coverage.  The employer will not be responsible for any costs in connection with the purchase of the coverage, unless the employer is obligated to pay all or a portion of such costs in accordance with the provisions of a binding collective negotiations agreement.

This law includes the following provisions:

  • Part-time State employees and part-time faculty members will not qualify for employer or State-paid post-retirement health care benefits under the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP), but that upon retirement, such employees and faculty members will be permitted to enroll in the SHBP managed care plan they were enrolled in prior to retirement through the retired group at their own expense.

  • The State Health Benefits Commission must advise eligible employees, and the public institutions of higher education must advise eligible faculty members, that they may enroll in the SHBP and about any benefits to which they are entitled upon the termination of their employment.

  • The State Health Benefits Commission may establish such rules and regulations necessary to enroll the persons covered by the law and to adopt procedures for the remittance to the program of the cost of coverage.

  • Permits a faculty member to participate in SHBP only if the public institution of higher education that employs the faculty member participates in the program.

This law becomes effective on January 1, 2004.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 172, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (112K)

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Chapter 167, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: September 3, 2003.

Effective Date: September 3, 2003.

Description:

This law amends certain provisions of the statutes governing the operation of a retirement system for employees of a city of the first class with fewer than 300,000 inhabitants.  The only retirement system in operation under the provisions of these statutes is the Employees' Retirement System of Jersey City.

The law changes the interest rate to be charged for loans to members of the system.  Currently, the interest rate is either the current rate for U.S. Treasury Bills or 10 percent, whichever is greater.  This new law requires the rate to be fixed annually, as of January 1 of each calendar year, equal to the average of the daily rates of interest based on daily trades paid on 30-year U.S. Treasury bonds for the preceding November plus 1 percent, or 10 percent, whichever is less.

The law also increases the annual cost of living adjustment to retirement allowances, pensions and survivorship benefits from 3/5 of the percent of change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to a rate equal to the percent of change in the index.  The Division of Pensions and Benefits currently is, and will continue to be under this new law, responsible for calculating annually the percentage change in the CPI as it applies to Employees' Retirement System of Jersey City, pursuant to the provisions of the "Pension Adjustment Act" (C.43:13-22.69 through 22.75).

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 167, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (111K)

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Chapter 155, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: August 15, 2003.

Effective Date: August 15, 2003.

Description:

This law authorizes boards of education to establish tax-sheltered deferred compensation plans under section 457 of the federal Internal Revenue Code.  Additionally, it grandfathers any section 457 plan established by a board of education prior to the effective date of this law.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 155, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (101K)

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Chapter 142, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: August 1, 2003.

Effective Date: August 1, 2003.

Description:

This law would provide health care benefits coverage through the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) to members of the New Jersey National Guard, and their dependents, during the period when the member is called to State active duty by the Governor for at least 30 days within a 35 consecutive day period.

Benefits under the law would be provided through enrollment in the SHBP's NJ PLUS plan.  The coverage would begin on the first day of active duty and end on the last day of such duty.  It would be available only if the member:

  1. Is not a compensated, full-time appointed or elected public officer or employee of the State or any political subdivision thereof when called to active duty;

  2. Had employer-provided health care benefits coverage that was canceled due to the member's military service or does not have employer-provided health care benefits coverage; and

  3. Is not covered for health care benefits under a program, plan or policy as a dependent of the member's spouse when called to active duty.

The cost of coverage will be paid in full by the State.

Health care benefits coverage will be provided only if such coverage by the SHBP does not violate applicable federal statutes in a manner that would change the nature, governance or status of the program.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 142, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (100K)

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Chapter 140, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: August 1, 2003.

Effective Date: August 1, 2003.

Description:

This law allows an individual nominated and appointed pursuant to Article VII, Section II, paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution to the position of a county prosecutor after January 7, 2002 to receive full credit in the Prosecutors Part of the Public Employees' Retirement (PERS) for non-Prosecutor Part PERS service rendered prior to the date of appointment.

Legislation enacted on January 7, 2002 established a special "Prosecutors Part" within the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) to provide higher benefits to persons identified as "prosecutors" under that law (Chapter 366, P.L. 2002).  The law defined "prosecutors" to include county prosecutors and assistant prosecutors, and also certain administrators, attorneys and investigators in the Division of Criminal Justice in the Department of Law and Public Safety.  A PERS member eligible for retirement as a "prosecutor" is entitled to have "prosecutor" service treated, for pension purposes, under formulas similar to those applicable to Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS).

Chapter 366 provided that all regular PERS service credit established by a "prosecutor" prior to the date of its enactment (January 7, 2002) would be established in the Prosecutors Part without further assessment of cost to the "prosecutor," but only if the member was serving as a "prosecutor" on January 7, 2002. This provision does not apply to "prosecutors" appointed after that date. This new law extends, for duly appointed county prosecutors only, the same no-assessment conversion of regular PERS credit into "prosecutor" credit to pre-appointment PERS service that the county prosecutor established regardless of the county prosecutor's appointment date.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 140, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (94K)

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Chapter 130, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: July 14, 2003.

Effective Date: July 14, 2003.

Description:

This law provides for additional retirement benefits for employees of an employer other than the State, that elects to offer the benefits, who retire under the Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS). The governing body of the employer will have one year after the enactment of this law to adopt a resolution to offer the benefits.  Once a resolution is adopted and effective, employees will have one month to file an application and three months to retire.

Employees who have at least 25 years of service credit as of the effective date of retirement will receive an additional three years of service credit.

Employees who are at least 55 years of age with between 20 and 25 years of service as of the effective date of retirement will receive employer-paid coverage in the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program (SHBP).  The retired employees, their dependents and survivors will be eligible for coverage in the program even if the employer does not participate in the SHBP or otherwise provide health care benefits coverage in retirement upon the normal retirement of such employees.

Employees who are at least 55 years of age with between 10 and 20 years of service as of the effective date of retirement will receive an additional pension payment of $500 per month for the first 24 months after retirement.

When the needs of an employer require the services of an employee who elects to retire and receive a benefit under this law, the employer, with the approval of the governing body and the consent of the employee, may delay the effective retirement date of the employee for up to one year. The delay authorized under the law does not extend the dates for qualification for benefits.

The cost of the enhanced PFRS pension benefits will be funded by employer contributions to the retirement systems and paid by the employers who elect to participate. The additional pension liability shall be paid by each electing entity over a period of 15 years.  The SHBP health care benefits payments for eligible retirees and their dependents will be paid by the employer on a current cost basis.

An employer may elect to provide these benefits by the adoption of a resolution by its governing body and the filing of a certified copy with the Director of the Division of Pensions and Benefits within three business days.  The effective date of the resolution must fall within one year of enactment of this law.  An employer may offer these benefits only once.  An employer covered by this law must meet with the employee union representatives, whether or not the employer adopts a resolution, within a year of the enactment of this law.

This law also provides for the following:

  • Partial purchase of pension service credit to qualify.

  • The employer shall pay the cost of the actuarial work to determine the additional liability of the retirement systems for the benefits under this act, which shall be included in the initial contribution required from the employer.

  • The promulgation of rules and regulations by the Division of Pensions and Benefits deemed necessary for the effective implementation of this act.

  • The enrollment in the SHBP of those retiring under this act at age 55 with between 20 and 25 years of service within 60 days of retirement.

  • Authorizes counties and municipalities to issue refunding bonds to retire the present value of the unfunded accrued pension liabilities for early retirement incentive benefits granted by the law.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 130, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (155K)

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Chapter 129, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: July 14, 2003.

Effective Date: July 14, 2003.

Description:

This law provides additional retirement benefits to certain employees of a local school board, educational services commission or jointure commission that elect to provide the benefits, who retire under the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) or the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF).  The governing body of the employer will have one year after the enactment of this law to adopt a resolution electing to participate in this program.  Once a resolution is adopted and effective, employees will have one month to file an application and two months to retire.

An employee who is at least 50 years of age and has at least 25 years of service credit under PERS or TPAF as of the effective date of retirement will receive an additional three years of service credit.  If a member of PERS or TPAF is under age 55 at the time of retirement, the member's retirement allowance will not be reduced.  An employee veteran who meets the age and service credit requirements and retires on a special veteran's retirement under PERS or TPAF will receive an additional pension in the amount of 3/55 of the compensation on which the retirement allowance is based.

An employee who is at least 60 years of age and has at least 20, but less than 25, years of service as of the effective date of retirement will receive full payment of premiums for coverage under the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) for the retired employee and dependents, but not including survivors, whether or not the employer participates in SHBP with respect to its active employees.  An employee who is at least 60 years of age with at least 10, but less than 20, years of service credit will receive an additional pension of $500 per month for the 24 months following retirement.

When the needs of an employer require the services of an employee who elects to receive a benefit under this law, the employer may delay, with the consent of the employee, the effective retirement date of the employee for up to one year. The authorization for a delay in the effective retirement date does not extend the dates for qualification for benefits.

The cost of the enhanced pension benefits will be funded by employer contributions to the retirement systems and paid by the school boards, educational services commissions or jointure commissions who elect to participate. The additional pension liability shall be paid by each electing entity in level payments over a period of 15 years.  The SHBP health care benefits payments for eligible retirees and their dependents will be paid by the employer on a current cost basis.  Additionally, an electing employer shall be required to pay the SHBP health care premiums for each employee who retires under this program with 25 or mores years of pension service credit for three years following retirement.

An employer may elect to provide these benefits by the adoption of a resolution by its governing body, which is to be effective July 1, and the filing of a certified copy with the Director of the Division of Pensions and Benefits within three business days after its adoption. The effective date of the resolution must fall within 15 months of enactment of this law.  An employer may offer these benefits only once. An employer covered by this law must meet with the employee union representatives, whether or not the employer adopts a resolution, within a year of the enactment of this law.

Any employee that was eligible, or could have been if the employer elected, to participate in the State early retirement incentive program offered in 2002 pursuant to Chapter 23, P.L. 2002, is not eligible for the early retirement incentive benefits granted under this law.

This law also provides for the following:

  • Partial purchase of pension service credit to qualify.

  • The employer shall pay the cost of the actuarial work to determine the additional liability of the retirement systems for the benefits under this act which shall be included in the initial contribution required from the employer.

  • The promulgation of rules and regulations by the Division of Pensions and Benefits deemed necessary for the effective implementation of this act.

  • Authorizes boards of education to issue refunding bonds to retire the present value of the unfunded accrued pension liabilities for early retirement incentive benefits granted by the law.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 129, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (177K)

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Chapter 128, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: July 14, 2003.

Effective Date: July 14, 2003.

Description:

This law provides additional retirement benefits to certain employees of a county, a county college or a municipality that elect to provide the benefits, who retire under the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS), the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) or the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP). The governing body of the employer will have one year after the enactment of this law to adopt a resolution electing to participate in this program.  Once a resolution is adopted and effective, employees will have one month to file an application and three months to retire.  Employers participating in several locally administered county, municipal and school district pension systems may also adopt the provisions of this law.

Employees who are at least 50 years of age and have at least 25 years of service credit as of the effective date of retirement will receive an additional three years of service credit.  If a member of PERS or TPAF is under age 55 at the time of retirement, the member's retirement allowance will not be reduced.  Employees who satisfy age and service requirements and who retire on a special veteran's retirement will receive an additional pension in the amount of 3/55 of the compensation on which the retirement allowance is based.  Participants in ABP will receive an amount equal to 100% of base annual salary at the time of retirement.

Employees who are at least 60 years of age with between 20 and 25 years of service as of the effective date of retirement will receive employer-paid coverage in the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program.  The retired employees and their dependents will be eligible for coverage in the program even if the employer does not participate in the program or otherwise provide health care benefits coverage in retirement upon the normal retirement of such employees.  Employees who are at least 60 years of age with between 10 and 20 years of service as of the effective date of retirement will receive an additional pension payment of $500 per month for the first 24 months after retirement.

When the needs of an employer require the services of an employee who elects to retire and receive a benefit under this law, the employer, with the approval of the governing body and the consent of the employee, may delay the effective retirement date of the employee for up to one year. The delay authorized under the law does not extend the dates for qualification for benefits.

The cost of the enhanced PERS and TPAF pension benefits will be funded by employer contributions to the retirement systems and paid by the county, county college or municipality who elect to participate. The additional pension liability shall be paid by each electing entity over a period of 15 years.  Payments to ABP members shall be made by employers first to the members' annuity contract under the ABP, then to a member's section 403(b) contract, up to the limits allowed by the Internal Revenue Code.  Payments in excess of any limits shall be paid directly to the member.  The SHBP health care benefits payments for eligible retirees and their dependents will be paid by the employer on a current cost basis.  Additionally, an electing county college employer shall be required to pay the SHBP health care premiums for three years following retirement for each employee who retires under this program with 25 or more years of pension service credit and who would otherwise be qualified for State-paid health benefits after retirement.

An employer may elect to provide these benefits by the adoption of a resolution by its governing body and the filing of a certified copy with the Director of the Division of Pensions and Benefits within three business days.  The effective date of the resolution must fall within one year of enactment of this law.  An employer may offer these benefits only once.  An employer covered by this law must meet with the employee union representatives, whether or not the employer adopts a resolution, within a year of the enactment of this law.

The provisions of this law do not apply to employees of a public agency or organization, nor does it apply to members of the Prosecutors Part of PERS.

This law also provides for the following:

  • Partial purchase of pension service credit to qualify.

  • The employer shall pay the cost of the actuarial work to determine the additional liability of the retirement systems for the benefits under this act, which shall be included in the initial contribution required from the employer.

  • The promulgation of rules and regulations by the Division of Pensions and Benefits deemed necessary for the effective implementation of this act.

  • The enrollment in the SHBP of those retiring under this act at age 60 with between 20 and 25 years of service within 60 days of retirement.

  • Authorizes counties and municipalities to issue refunding bonds to retire the present value of the unfunded accrued pension liabilities for early retirement incentive benefits granted by the law.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 128, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (181K)

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Chapter 127, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: July 14, 2003.

Effective Date: July 14, 2003.

Description:

This law provides additional retirement benefits to certain employees of a public agency or instrumentality, other than State agencies or instrumentalities, that elects to provide the benefits, who retire under the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS).  The governing body of the employer will have one year after the enactment of this law to adopt a resolution.  Once a resolution is adopted and effective, employees will have one month to file an application and three months to retire. These employers are authorities, boards, commissions, corporations and other agencies and instrumentalities participating in the PERS.

Employees who are at least 50 years of age and have at least 25 years of service credit as of the effective date of retirement will receive an additional three years of service credit.  If the member is under age 55 at the time of retirement, the member's retirement allowance will not be reduced.  Employees who satisfy age and service requirements and who retire on special veteran's retirement will receive an additional pension in the amount of 3/55 of the compensation upon which the retirement allowance is based.

Employees of employers that offer retirees paid health care benefits coverage who are at least 60 years of age with between 20 and 25 years of service as of the effective date of retirement will receive payment of the cost for health care benefits coverage.  Employees of employers that do not offer retirees paid health care benefits coverage who are at least 60 years of age and have at least 20 years of service as of the effective date of retirement will not be eligible for paid health care benefits coverage, but will receive an additional pension payment of $500 per month for the first 24 months after retirement.  Employees who are at least 60 years of age with at least 10 but not more than 20 years of service credit as of the effective date of retirement will receive an additional pension of $500 per month for the first 24 months after retirement.

When the needs of an employer require the services of an employee who elects to retire and receive a benefit under this law, the employer, with the approval of the governing body and the consent of the employee, may delay the effective retirement date of the employee for up to one year. The delay authorized under the law does not extend the dates for qualification for benefits.

The cost of the enhanced PERS pension benefits will be funded by employer contributions to the retirement system and paid by the public agency or instrumentality that elects to participate. The additional pension liability shall be paid by each electing entity over a period of 15 years. 

An employer may elect to provide these benefits by the adoption of a resolution by its governing body and the filing of a certified copy with the Director of the Division of Pensions and Benefits within three business days. The effective date of the resolution must fall within one year of enactment of this law.  An employer may offer these benefits only once.  An employer covered by this law must meet with the employee union representatives, whether or not the employer adopts a resolution, within a year of the enactment of this law.

The provisions of this law do not apply to employees of a public agency or organization that were eligible to participate in the State early retirement incentive program offered in 2002 pursuant to Chapter 23, P.L. 2002.

This law also provides for the following:

  • Partial purchase of pension service credit to qualify.

  • The employer shall pay the cost of the actuarial work to determine the additional liability of the retirement systems for the benefits under this act, which shall be included in the initial contribution required from the employer.

  • The promulgation of rules and regulations by the Division of Pensions and Benefits deemed necessary for the effective implementation of this act.

  • Authorizes public agencies and instrumentalities to issue refunding bonds to retire the present value of the unfunded accrued pension liabilities for early retirement incentive benefits granted by the law.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 127, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (171K)

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Chapter 119, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: July 1, 2003.

Effective Date: July 1, 2003.

Description:

This law modifies the benefits of State employees under the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and the New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act.  The law provides that a State employee enrolled in SHBP on or after July 1, 2003 may not be eligible for coverage in the traditional plan pursuant to a binding collective negotiations agreement or pursuant to the application by the State Health Benefits Commission, in its sole discretion, of the terms of any collective negotiations agreement binding on the State to non-aligned State employees.

With regard to the New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act, the law provides that when the State of New Jersey and a majority representative have agreed to a disciplinary review procedure that provides for binding arbitration of disputes involving the major discipline of any public employee protected under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 34:13A-5.3, other than public employees subject to discipline pursuant to N.J.S.A. 53:1-10, the grievance and disciplinary review procedures established by the agreement will be utilized for any dispute covered by the terms of such agreement.  The law defines major discipline to mean a removal, disciplinary demotion, suspension or fine of more than five days, or less where the aggregate number of days suspended or fined in any one calendar year is 15 or more days, or unless the employee received more than three suspensions or fines of five days or less in one calendar year.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 119, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (101K)

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Chapter 108, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: July 1, 2003.

Effective Date: July 1, 2003.

Description:

This new law provides for the following:

  1. Reduces for four years the pension contributions that local employers must make to the Public Employees' Retirement System of New Jersey (PERS) and the Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS),

  2. Exempts for a limited period, local employer contributions to PERS and PFRS from the local budget cap law, and

  3. Provides for a prospective increase to the PFRS special retirement benefit upon the pension system attaining a funded level in excess of 104 percent.

1. Pension Contribution Reduction

This law provides that the State Treasurer will reduce local employer PERS normal and accrued liability contributions to be a percentage of the amount certified annually by PERS as follows: 20% for payments due in State fiscal year 2005; not more than 40% for payments due in State fiscal year 2006; not more than 60% for payments due in State fiscal year 2007; and not more than 80% for payments due in State fiscal year 2008.  Local employer PFRS normal and accrued liability contributions will be 20% of the amount certified by the retirement system for payments due in State fiscal year 2004 and thereafter a percentage of the amount certified by the retirement system as the State Treasurer will determine, but not more than 40% for payments due in State fiscal year 2005, not more than 60% for payments due in State fiscal year 2006, and not more than 80% for payments due in State fiscal year 2007.

2. Budget Cap Exemption

This law provides that, for the respective four-year periods during which local public employers' pension contributions to PERS and PFRS will be reduced, and for the year thereafter when the employers would again be subject to the full contribution requirement, the affected contribution payments shall be exempt from the limits imposed by the local budget "cap" law.

3.   Prospective PFRS Special Retirement Benefit Enhancement

This law provides for an increase to the special retirement benefit for members of the Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS) beginning with the fiscal year following the adopted valuation report for the retirement system which indicates a funded level in excess of 104%.  PFRS members who have 25 or more years of service are currently eligible for a pension of 65% of final compensation, plus 1% of final compensation multiplied by the number of years of creditable service over 25 but not over 30 (70% maximum).  This law will increase that benefit to a pension of 70% of final compensation, plus 1% of final compensation for each year of creditable service over 25 but not over 30 (75% maximum) once the funded level exceeds 104%.

The law also provides for the establishment in PFRS of a benefit enhancement fund to which will be credited an amount of excess valuation assets for the valuation period beginning with the valuation report which indicates a funded level of 104%.  The amount of excess valuation assets credited to the benefit enhancement fund will not exceed the present value of the expected additional normal and accrued liability contributions attributable to the increase in the PFRS special retirement benefits payable on behalf of the active PFRS members.  No additional excess valuation assets will be credited to the benefit enhancement fund after the maximum amount is attained.  The normal and accrued liability contributions for this increase in PFRS benefits for active employees will be paid from the benefit enhancement fund.  If fund assets are insufficient to pay those contributions for a valuation period, the retirement system will pay the amount not covered by assets from the benefit enhancement fund.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 108, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (147K)

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Chapter 75, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: May 8, 2003.

Effective Date: May 8, 2003.

Description:

The law eliminates the provision in the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) that reduces the insurance benefit payable to an active participant that dies after attaining age 70 from 3 1/2 to 1/2 times the participant's base annual salary.

To view the new law, click here: Chapter 75, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (101K)

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Chapter 71, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: May 5, 2003.

Effective Date: May 5, 2003.

Description:

This law provides for the addition of two members to the membership of the State Health Benefits Commission.  The current members are the State Treasurer who serves as the Chairman, the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance and the Commissioner of Personnel.

One of the additional members will be a State employees' representative chosen by the Public Employees' Committee of the AFL-CIO; the other will be a representative chosen by the New Jersey Education Association.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 71, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (101K)

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Chapter 3, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: January 27, 2003.

Effective Date: January 27, 2003.

Description:

This law amends the statutes that allow a municipality or contracting unit, as defined in Chapter 138, P.L. 1946 (C.40:14A—1 et seq.) or Chapter 183, P.L. 1957 (C.40:14B—1 et seq.), that participates in the State Health Benefits Program — or a county, municipality, or contracting unit, as defined in the "Local Public Contracts Law," Chapter 198, P.L. 1971 (C.40A:11-1 et seq.) that participates in another group health benefits plan — to allow an employee who is eligible for other health care coverage to waive coverage to which the employee is entitled as an employee of the county, municipality, or contracting unit.

The new law amends these statutes in two ways:

  1. The ability to waiver is no longer limited to employees who have other coverage as a dependent of a spouse.  It extends the waiver of coverage provisions to apply to any situation in which an employee is eligible for other health care coverage, and

  2. The waiver provisions are extended to county colleges in the State Health Benefits Program or another group health benefits plan.

To view the new law, click here: Chapter 3, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (110K)

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Chapter 263, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: January 14, 2004.

Effective Date: January 14, 2004.

Description:

This new law provides for enrollment in the Public Employees' Retirement System of New Jersey (PERS) of eligible employees of any bi-state or multi-state agency in which New Jersey is a participant.

The PERS statutes currently provide for enrollment in the system of employees of various specified independent agencies and instrumentalities, including several interstate agencies (e.g., the Palisades Interstate Park and Delaware River Basin commissions). This law establishes an enrollment provision covering employees of all interstate agencies and prescribes the terms and conditions applicable to coverage of new enrollees under that provision.

Under this law, the PERS is directed to enroll an eligible officer or employee (other than a police officer or firefighter) of a bi-state or multi-state agency established by an interstate compact to which New Jersey is a party if:

a. the person is a State resident at the time of appointment with the agency, and

b. the governing body of the agency has certified to the retirement system its approval for enrollment in the system of the employee class within which the person is included.

The certification shall be in the manner of a resolution filed with the board of the retirement system in a form prescribed by the Division of Pensions and Benefits.  The certification could apply retroactively to individuals commencing service with the agency on or after January 1, 2002.  Any individual eligible for membership under such a certification would have the option whether or not to be enrolled.  They would have 90 days to enroll after becoming eligible.

Once enrolled, the employee would receive credit for service with the agency rendered prior to enrollment if either the agency or the employee pays the full purchase cost to the retirement system at the time of enrollment.  An employee who was a member of the retirement system on the date continuous service with the agency began and who has not withdrawn the employee contributions from the system shall participate in the retirement system under the former membership.  The interstate agency would for all purposes of the PERS be deemed an employer, and its eligible employees would be subject to the same membership, contribution and benefit provisions of the retirement system, and to certain general provisions of law covering members of all State-established pension funds, as are applicable to State employees.

Additionally, an officer or employee of a bi-state or multi-state agency who is eligible for PERS membership under this law may purchase pension credit for service previously rendered with a bi-state or multi-state agency prior to becoming a PERS member if the initial appointment or employment with the agency occurred on or after January 1, 2002.  Such a purchase will be similar to an out-of-state purchase.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 263, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (109K)

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Chapter 308, P.L. 2003

Date Approved: January 14, 2004.

Effective Date: January 14, 2004.

Description:

This law provides that if a member of the Legislature elects health benefits coverage on the basis of service in the Legislature, the member will not enroll as the primary insured for health benefits for which the member is eligible through any other public entity, and will not accept any amount of money in consideration for filing a waiver of coverage.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 308, P.L. 2003 Adobe PDF (88K)

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