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2008
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Chapter 89, P.L. 2008 This law implements a number of additional recommendations made in the report of the Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employee Benefits Reform issued during the New Jersey Legislature’s 2006 Special Session.
Chapter 29, P.L. 2008 This law abolishes the Department of Personnel as a principal department in the Executive Branch of State government.  The offices and terms of the Commissioner of Personnel and the deputy and assistant commissioners and division and office directors are terminated.
Chapter 38, P.L. 2008 The provisions of this law represent the first phase of a comprehensive reform of the health care system in this State which, when fully implemented, will ensure universal health care coverage for all residents of this State.
Chapter 21, P.L. 2008 This law provides early retirement incentive program to eligible State employees in the Executive Branch of State government and eligible Judiciary employees in the Judicial Branch of State government who apply to retire on or after March 1, 2008 but by July 15, 2008 and retire by August 1, 2008.
Chapter 250, P.L. 2007 Prohibits investment by State of pension and annuity funds in foreign companies doing business in Iran.

Links to the New Jersey Legislature and other legislature information.


Chapter 89, P.L. 2008

Date Approved: September 29, 2008.

Effective Date:  November 1, 2008.

Description:

Entitled “The Public Employee Pension and Benefits Reform Act of 2008,” this law implements a number of additional recommendations made in the report of the Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employee Benefits Reform issued during the New Jersey Legislature’s 2006 Special Session.  The sections of this law and the various changes they impose are as follows:

Sections 2:  SHBP Waiver Incentive For State Employees - Provides that the State as an employer, or an independent State authority, commission, board or instrumentality, may allow any employee who is eligible for other health care coverage that is not under the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) to waive the SHBP coverage to which the employee is entitled by virtue of employment with the State or other State entity.  In consideration of filing a waiver, the State or other employer may pay the employee annually an amount established at its sole discretion and not in excess of 50% of the amount saved because of the employee's waiver of coverage.

Prior to this law’s enactment, public employers other than the State participating in the SHBP were allowed to offer a waiver incentive.  Under this law, the arrangement after a waiver is the same for both State and local employees.  An employee who waives coverage will be permitted to resume coverage immediately, if the employee ceases to have other health care coverage, but will be required to repay, on a pro rata basis, any amount received from the employer which represents an advance payment for a period of time during which coverage is resumed.  The decision of an employer to allow its employees to waive SHBP coverage and the amount of consideration to be paid is not subject to the collective bargaining process.

Sections 3 and 4:  Out-of-State Service Purchases - Prohibits pension system credit purchased for out-of-State service from being creditable towards post-retirement health care benefits.  Service credit in the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) and the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), established through purchase on or after the law’s effective date by a current or future member for prior employment with another state or the federal government, or for service with a bi-state or multi-state agency in the case of a member of PERS, cannot be used to meet the requirements for employer-paid health care benefits in retirement.

Sections 5 and 11:  TPAF and PERS Eligibility Salary Thresholds - Changes the eligibility criteria for becoming a member of the TPAF and of the PERS.  Currently, the eligibility criteria are a minimum annual compensation of $500 for TPAF and $1,500 for PERS.  Those same criteria will continue to apply to a person who is a TPAF or PERS member on the effective date of this law and continuously thereafter.

This law provides that, after its effective date, a person who was not a member of either retirement system on that effective date, or who was a member on that date but not continuously thereafter, and who is in public employment, office or position covered by TPAF or PERS for which the annual salary or remuneration is certified by the public entity at $7,500 or more, will be eligible to become a member of the relevant retirement system.  The $7,500 minimum annual salary or remuneration amount will be adjusted annually by the Director of the Division of Pensions and Benefits, by regulation, in accordance with changes in the Consumer Price Index but by no more than 4 percent.  “Consumer Price Index” means the average of the annual increase, expressed as a percentage, in the consumer price index for all urban consumers in the New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan statistical areas during the preceding calendar year as reported by the United States Department of Labor.

Persons ineligible for TPAF or PERS based on the new criteria may be eligible for enrollment in the Defined Contribution Retirement Program (DCRP).

Sections 12:  Adjunct Faculty ABP Eligibility - Provides that an adjunct faculty member or part-time instructor at a public institution of higher education in the State whose employment agreement begins after that effective date will be eligible for membership in the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP), instead of PERS.

Sections 13 and 14:  TPAF and PERS Eligibility Appeals - This law also provides that an appeal by any person who is denied membership in TPAF or PERS will be transmitted as a contested case to the Office of Administrative Law for an adjudicatory proceeding.

Section 15:  SHBP Coverage for Full-Time Employees Only - Codifies into statute the current eligibility criteria for SHBP coverage, now contained in regulation, for an employee of an employer other than the State, who must work the number of hours per week as prescribed by the governing body of the participating employer, which number of hours worked will be considered full-time, determined by resolution and not less than 20.

Section 16:  Fraudulent SHBP Coverage a Criminal Offense - Provides that any person who knowingly obtains SHBP coverage for an ineligible person, himself or another, will be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree, punishable by imprisonment for up to 18 months or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

Section 17:  SHBP Audits - Requires the State Health Benefits Commission to establish an audit program to ensure that only eligible employees and retirees, and their dependents, are receiving health care coverage under the SHBP.

Sections 18 to 24:  Increased TPAF and PERS Retirement Age - Raises the retirement age for a benefit without any reduction, from age 60 to age 62, for members of the TPAF and the PERS who became a member of one system or the other on or after the effective date of this law.

Members of either system who became members before July 1, 2007 may retire at age 55 years with 25 years of service or at age 60 with any number of years of service without a reduction in the amount of retirement allowance the members’ receive.  There is a reduction in such an allowance if the member is under 55 with 25 years of service.  There is also a reduction in an allowance for members of either system who became members on or after July 1, 2007 and who retire between age 55 and 60 years with 25 or more years of service.  If a person became a member on or after the effective date of this law, that person must be at least 62 years of age in order to retire without a reduction in their retirement allowance.

Sections 25 and 27:  Lincoln’s Birthday as Paid Holiday Eliminated - Lowers, from 13 to 12, the number of paid holidays for all State government public employees.  The legal holiday known as Lincoln's Birthday would no longer be considered a public holiday for the purposes of conducting State government business.  On that day, State government offices are to remain open. In honor of President Lincoln and all Presidents, this law provides for the third Monday in February, known as Washington's Birthday, to be known and celebrated as Presidents Day for the purpose of a paid holiday for State employees. This provision of the law will take effect in the calendar year after the collective bargaining agreements or contracts covering a majority of the Executive Branch employees expire.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 89, P.L. 2008 Adobe PDF (135K)

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Chapter 29, P.L. 2008

Date Approved: June 30, 2008.

Effective Date: June 30, 2008.

Description:

This law abolishes the Department of Personnel as a principal department in the Executive Branch of State government.  The offices and terms of the Commissioner of Personnel and the deputy and assistant commissioners and division and office directors are terminated.

It  creates a new Civil Service Commission allocated in, but not of, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to assume the functions, powers, and duties of the current Merit System Board and Commissioner of Personnel.  The current members of the Merit System Board will continue as members of the Civil Service Commission, except for the Commissioner of Personnel who will be replaced as a member of the Civil Service Commission by an appointment by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.  The Governor is given the authority to designate the chairperson of the commission.  The chairperson will be the chief executive officer and administrator of the commission and is to devote full time to the duties of the position.

This law’s impact on the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) is limited to Section 108 of the law that simply substitutes the reference to the Commissioner of Personnel with the Chairperson of the Civil Service Commission as a member of the State Health Benefits Commission.

To view the law, click here:  Chapter 29, P.L. 2008 Adobe PDF (300K)

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Chapter 38, P.L. 2008

Date Approved: July 8, 2008.

Effective Date:  This act has varying effective dates.  The SHBP provisions become effective 180 days after enactment and shall apply to all contracts and policies that are delivered, issued, executed or renewed or approved for issuance or renewal in this State on or after the effective date.

Description:

The provisions of this law represent the first phase of a comprehensive reform of the health care system in this State which, when fully implemented, will ensure universal health care coverage for all residents of this StateThe law expands the NJ FamilyCare Program to more low income parents; mandates that all children in the State have health care coverage either through public programs or private coverage; adopts various reform measures to the individual and small employer insurance markets to increase the affordability of, and stabilize enrollment in, health benefits plans for individuals and small businesses; and makes various changes to the eligibility criteria, terms, and administration of continued dependent coverage for dependents 30 years of age or younger, initially mandated pursuant to Chapter 375, P.L. 2005 (C.17:48-6.19 et al.).

This law’s impact on the SHBP is limited to the provisions regarding coverage of dependents age 30 and younger as provided for in Section 35 of the law.

The changes to the SHBP include:

  • Requires proof of prior, creditable health benefits coverage or receipt of benefits from another group or individual benefits coverage source to be eligible to elect or subsequently reinstate continued dependent coverage.
  • Provides that once an individual elects dependent coverage, that coverage shall not terminate before the individual reaches age 31.  The cut off for electing coverage remains 30 years of age, but this law clarifies that the dependent coverage shall remain in effect while the individual is 30 years of age.
  • The SHBP is to provide notice to the parents of dependents of the coverage provided by this law in the certificates of coverage or other equivalent documents prepared and delivered on or about the date parents’ coverage commences, and on a quarterly basis thereafter.
  • The State Health Benefits Commission may require payment of a premium by dependents or their parents, which shall be capped, for any period of continued dependent coverage under one of its contracts.  The premium cannot exceed 102% of the applicable “dependent portion” of the premium previously paid for a dependent’s coverage under a contract prior to the dependent initially aging out of coverage under the contract.  The calculation of this premium cap is identical to the calculation of the 102% premium cap on continued dependent coverage already established for health insurers pursuant to Chapter 375, P.L. 2005 (C.17:48-6.19 et al.).

The provisions of this law impacting the SHBP take effect on the 180th day after enactment and shall apply to all contracts and policies that are delivered, issued, executed or renewed or approved for issuance or renewal in this State on or after the effective date but the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance may take such anticipatory administrative action in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.

To view this law, click here:  Chapter 38, P.L. 2008 Adobe PDF (317K)

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Chapter 21, P.L. 2008

Date Approved: June 24, 2008.

Effective Date:  June 24, 2008.

Description:

This law provides early retirement incentive program to eligible State employees in the Executive Branch of State government and eligible Judiciary employees in the Judicial Branch of State government who apply to retire on or after March 1, 2008 but by July 15, 2008 and retire by August 1, 2008.

An eligible State employee or an eligible Judiciary employee who is at least 58 years of age and has at least 25 years of service credit under the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) or the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) will receive an additional three years of service credit.  An employee who is at least 58 years of age and has at least 25 years of service credit and retires on a veteran's retirement under the PERS or the TPAF will receive an additional pension in the amount of 3/55 of the compensation upon which the retirement allowance is based.

For an eligible State employee, but not an eligible Judiciary employee, who is at least 60 years of age and has at least 20, but less than 25, years of service credit under the PERS or the TPAF, the retirement system will pay the premium or periodic charges for health care benefits provided to the retired State employee and the employee's dependents, but not including survivors, under the State Health Benefits Program, in the same manner provided for State payment of premiums or periodic charges for a retired State employee with 25 or more years of service credit under current law and in the same manner provided for State payment of premiums or periodic charges for a qualified retiree from the TPAF under current law.

An eligible State employee, but not an eligible Judiciary employee, who is at least 60 years of age and has at least 10, but less than 20, years of service credit under the PERS or the TPAF will receive an additional pension of $500 a month for 24 months following the date of retirement.

To receive these benefits, an eligible State employee or an eligible Judiciary employee must submit an application for retirement on or after March 1, 2008 but by July 15, 2008 and retire no later than August 1, 2008.  An application submitted by an eligible State employee or an eligible Judiciary employee for retirement within the time period set to receive the benefits provided will be irrevocable seven days after submission.

Service credit in the Public Employees’ Retirement System or the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund established through a purchase completed after the effective date of this law will not be considered in determining an employee’s eligibility, except that those employees who have previously authorized payroll deductions for a purchase of service credit or those employees who have received a quotation for a purchase of service credit from the Division of Pensions and Benefits within the 90 days prior to the effective date of this act may effectuate the purchase to qualify for eligibility under this act so long as that entire purchase is paid in full by July 15, 2008 or the date of the expiration of the purchase quotation, which ever date is earliest.

An "eligible State employee" means a full-time employee of the Executive Branch of State government eligible to participate in the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program of the State of New Jersey, but not including an employee of the Department of Human Services, Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs, Department of Corrections, Juvenile Justice Commission in but not of the Department of Law and Public Safety, Office of the Public Defender in but not of the Department of the Treasury, and Department of Children and Families.

The term does not include an employee of Rutgers, The State University; the New Jersey Institute of Technology; the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; or a State college or university.The term does not include an employee of a public authority, board, commission, corporation, or other agency or instrumentality of the State allocated in, but not of, a principal department of State government pursuant to Article V, Section IV, paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, authorized to participate in the Public Employees' Retirement System under section 73 of Chapter 84, P.L. 1954 (C.43:15A-73) or Chapter 25, P.L. 1990 (C.43:15A-73.2 et seq.), or an employee of a public agency or organization as defined in section 71 of Chapter 84, P.L. 1954 (C.43:15A-71), or a person participating in the Public Employees' Retirement System under the provisions of Chapter 167, P.L. 1972 (C.43:15A-135 et seq.),  Chapter 259, P.L. 2001 (C.43:15A-142 et seq.), Chapter 366, P.L. 2001 ( C.43:15A-155 et seq.) or Chapter 202, P.L.1953 (C.32:23-1 et seq.).

“Eligible Judiciary employee” means a full-time employee of the Judicial branch of State Government eligible to participate in the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program of the State of New Jersey.  The term does not include a Justice of the Supreme Court, or a Judge of the Superior Court, or a Judge of a Municipal Court or an employee of a Municipal Court.

An eligible State employee who retires and receives a benefit will not be eligible for appointment to, or employment in, any position or capacity in the Executive Branch of State government, other than employment on an hourly basis for emergency management purposes, for a period of three years following the effective date of retirement.  An eligible State employee who retires and receives a benefit will be barred from being awarded any contract for professional services by the Executive Branch of State government, or from performing professional services for the State as part of a contract awarded to a third party by the Executive Branch of State government, for a period of three years following the effective date of retirement. 

An eligible Judiciary employee who retires and receives a benefit pursuant to this section will not be eligible for appointment to, or employment in, any position or capacity in the Judicial Branch of State Government for a period of three years following the effective date of retirement.  An eligible Judiciary employee who retires and receives a benefit will be barred from being awarded any contract for professional services by the Judicial Branch of State Government, or from performing professional services for the State as part of a contract awarded to a third party by the Judicial Branch of State Government, for a period of three years following the effective date of retirement.

When the needs of the Executive Branch of State government require the services of an employee who elects to retire and receive a benefit, a State department may delay the effective date of retirement of the employee until the first day of any calendar month after August 1, 2008, but not later than July 1, 2009.  For each such delayed retirement, the State department must request the approval of the State Treasurer by submitting in writing an explanation of the needs of the department, the services required of the employee, and the reasons why that particular employee’s services are so essential as to necessitate a delay.  The delay will be effective only upon approval of the request by the State Treasurer. A request by an eligible State employee for a delay in the effective date of retirement, whether the employee provides reasons for the delay or not, will not be considered by the State Treasurer unless the State department submits a request for a delay to the State Treasurer with the explanation described above.

When the needs of the Judicial Branch of State Government require the services of an employee who elects to retire and receive a benefit, the Judiciary may delay the effective date of retirement of the employee until the first day of any calendar month after August 1, 2008, but not later than July 1, 2009, pursuant to protocols to be issued by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

An eligible State employee or an eligible Judiciary employee who applies to retire and receive the benefits will be deemed to consent, by that application, to a delay in the employee’s effective date of retirement with regard to an eligible state employee, if the State department requests and receives approval for such a delay or, with regard to an eligible Judiciary employee, if the Chief Justice determines that such a delay is appropriate.  Such an employee’s receipt of the benefits provided by this law will be conditioned upon faithful performance of service by the employee during the period of delay.

A request by an eligible State employee or an eligible Judiciary employee for a delay in the effective date of retirement, whether the employee provides reasons for the delay or not, will not be sufficient reason to approve a delay.

The Division of Pensions and Benefits in the Department of Treasury will report in writing to the Joint Budget Oversight Committee beginning on August 15, 2008, and annually thereafter on or before August 15, through 2014, on the results of the additional retirement benefits provided.

The law limits the hiring of replacements for individuals taking advantage of the retirement incentives. It provides that the number of employees hired in the Executive Branch to fill the vacancies created directly or indirectly because eligible employees retired to receive additional retirement benefits pursuant to the law shall not exceed, in total for all departments in the Executive Branch of State government, 10 percent of the total number of employees who retired pursuant this law. A similar separate limitation applies to replacement in the Judiciary.

In addition, the State Treasurer shall report to the Joint Budget Oversight Committee every six months for the first two years and annually thereafter, on the impact of that act on the State workforce, including an analysis of the allocation of position reductions that occur in each department and division as a result of that act and the plans adopted by each department to maintain the essential governmental services provided by that department.

To view this law, click here: Chapter 21, P.L. 2008 Adobe PDF (47K)

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Chapter 250, P.L. 2007

Date Approved: January 4, 2008.

Effective Date:  January 4, 2008.

Description:

This law prohibits the investment of New Jersey public employee retirement system funds in any foreign company that has an equity tie to the government of Iran, or its instrumentalities, and is engaged in business operations with entities in the defense sector or nuclear sector of Iran, or engaged in business operations with entities involved in the natural gas or petroleum sectors of Iran, or with that government.  It does not apply to the activities of any foreign company providing humanitarian aid to the Iranian people through either a governmental or non-governmental organization.

This law requires the State Investment Council and the Director of the Division of Investment to divest any investments held in violation of the prohibition after consulting with an independent research firm that specializes in global security risk for portfolio determinations selected by the State Treasurer.  Periodic progress reports by the division are required.

This act would be void if: 1) the Congress or the President of the United States declares that the government of Iran has ceased to acquire or develop weapons of mass destruction and to support international terrorism; or 2) the United States revokes all sanctions imposed against the government of Iran.

The law also provides that State Investment Council members, and State officers and employees involved therewith, would be indemnified and held harmless by the State of New Jersey from all liabilities and losses that these individuals may sustain or cause by reason of any decision to restrict or eliminate investments pursuant to this act.

To view this law, click here: Chapter 250, P.L. 2007 Adobe PDF (28K)

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