SENATE, No. 4

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 8, 2010

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  KEVIN J. O'TOOLE

District 40 (Bergen, Essex and Passaic)

Senator  BARBARA BUONO

District 18 (Middlesex)

Assemblyman  ALEX DECROCE

District 26 (Morris and Passaic)

Assemblywoman  SHEILA Y. OLIVER

District 34 (Essex and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Van Drew, Whelan, Vitale, Lesniak, Oroho, Kyrillos, Cunningham, Beach, Gordon, Bateman, T.Kean, A.R.Bucco, Pennacchio, Cardinale, Beck, B.Smith, Doherty, Stack, Scutari, Weinberg, Madden, Sweeney, Ruiz, Sarlo, Gill, Ciesla, Haines, Assemblymen Wolfe, Russo, Biondi, Assemblywomen Handlin, Casagrande, Assemblymen Bramnick, O'Scanlon, Webber, DiMaio, A.M.Bucco, Assemblywoman N.Munoz, Assemblyman Rudder, Assemblywoman Addiego, Assemblyman Peterson, Assemblywoman Coyle, Assemblymen DiCicco and Chiusano

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Makes various changes concerning payments to public employees for unused sick leave, sick leave injury in State service, and PERS and TPAF disability retirement.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning benefits for public employees and amending and supplementing various parts of the statutory law.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section)  Notwithstanding any law, rule or regulation to the contrary, a political subdivision of the State, or an agency, authority or instrumentality thereof, that has adopted the provisions of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes, shall not pay supplemental compensation to any officer or employee for accumulated unused sick leave in an amount in excess of $15,000.  Supplemental compensation shall be payable only at the time of retirement from a State-administered or locally-administered retirement system based on the leave credited on the date of retirement.  This provision shall apply only to officers and employees who commence service with the political subdivision of the State, or the agency, authority or instrumentality thereof, on or after the effective date of P.L.  , c.     (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  This section shall not be construed to affect the terms in any collective negotiations agreement with a relevant provision in force on that effective date.

 

     2.    (New section)  Notwithstanding any law, rule or regulation to the contrary, a political subdivision of the State, or an agency, authority or instrumentality thereof, that has not adopted the provisions of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes, shall not pay supplemental compensation to any officer or employee for accumulated unused sick leave in an amount in excess of $15,000.  Supplemental compensation shall be payable only at the time of retirement from a State-administered or locally-administered retirement system based on the leave credited on the date of retirement.  This provision shall apply only to officers and employees who commence service with the political subdivision of the State, or the agency, authority or instrumentality thereof, on or after the effective date of P.L.  , c.     (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  This section shall not be construed to affect the terms in any collective negotiations agreement with a relevant provision in force on that effective date.

 

     3.    (New section)  Notwithstanding any law, rule or regulation to the contrary, a board of education, or an agency or instrumentality thereof, shall not pay supplemental compensation to any officer or employee for accumulated unused sick leave in an amount in excess of $15,000.  Supplemental compensation shall be payable only at the time of retirement from a State-administered or locally-administered retirement system based on the leave credited on the date of retirement.  This provision shall apply only to officers and employees who commence service with the board of education, or the agency or instrumentality thereof, on or after the effective date of P.L.  , c.     (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  This section shall not be construed to affect the terms in any collective negotiations agreement with a relevant provision in force on that effective date.

 

     4.    (New section)  Notwithstanding any law, rule or regulation to the contrary, an officer or employee of a political subdivision of the State, or an agency, authority, or instrumentality thereof, that has not adopted the provisions of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes, who does not take vacation leave that accrues in a given year because of business demands shall be granted that accrued leave only during the next succeeding year.  However, vacation leave not taken in a given year because of duties directly related to a state of emergency declared by the Governor may accumulate at the discretion of the appointing authority until, pursuant to a plan established by the officer or employee's appointing authority, the leave is used or the employee or officer is compensated for that leave, which shall not be subject to collective negotiation or collective bargaining.  This provision shall apply only to officers and employees who commence service with the political subdivision of the State, or the agency, authority or instrumentality thereof, on or after the effective date of P.L.  , c.     (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  This section shall not be construed to affect the terms in any collective negotiations agreement with a relevant provision in force on that effective date.

 

     5.    (New section)  Notwithstanding any law, rule or regulation to the contrary, an officer or employee of a board of education, or an agency or instrumentality thereof, who does not take vacation leave that accrues in a given year because of business demands shall be granted that accrued leave only during the next succeeding year.  However, vacation leave not taken in a given year because of duties directly related to a state of emergency declared by the Governor may accumulate at the discretion of the appointing authority until, pursuant to a plan established by the officer or employee's appointing authority, the leave is used or the employee or officer is compensated for that leave, which shall not be subject to collective negotiation or collective bargaining.  This provision shall apply only to officers and employees who commence service with the board of education, or the agency or instrumentality thereof, on or after the effective date of P.L.  , c.     (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  This section shall not be construed to affect the terms in any collective negotiations agreement with a relevant provision in force on that effective date.

     6.    N.J.S.11A:6-8 is amended to read as follows:

     11A:6-8.  a.  Sick leave injury in State service.  Leaves of absence for career, senior executive and unclassified employees in State service due to injury or illness directly caused by and arising from State employment shall be governed by rules of the Civil Service Commission.  Leaves of absence for career and unclassified employees of a political subdivision directly caused by or arising from employment shall be governed by rules of the political subdivision.  Any sick leave with pay shall be reduced by the amount of workers' compensation or disability benefits, if any, received for the same injury or illness. 

     b.    The rules promulgated by the commission to govern leaves of absence under this section shall not apply, nor shall a leave of absence pursuant to this section be available, to any career, senior executive or unclassified employee in State service who sustains an injury or illness on or after the effective date of P.L.   , c.    (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or the expiration of a collective negotiations agreement with a relevant provision in effect on that effective date, directly caused by and arising from State employment.  This subsection shall not be construed as impairing the obligations set forth in any collective negotiations agreement between the State and its employees in effect on the effective date of P.L.   , c.   (pending before the Legislature as this bill). 

(cf:  P.L.2008, c.29, s.54)

 

     7.    N.J.S.18A:66-39 is amended to read as follows: 

     18A:66-39.  a.   Before June 9, 1971, a member, who shall have been a teacher and a member of the retirement system for each of the 10 years next preceding his retirement, shall, upon the application of his employer or upon his own application or the application of one acting in his behalf, be retired for ordinary disability by the board of trustees, on a regular disability allowance if he is under 60 years of age and on a service allowance if he has reached or passed that age.  The physician or physicians designated by the board shall have first made a medical examination of him at his residence or at any other place mutually agreed upon and shall have certified to the board that the member is physically or mentally incapacitated for the performance of duty and should be retired.

     b.    On and after June 9, 1971, a member, under 60 years of age, who has 10 or more years of credit for New Jersey service, shall, upon the application of his employer or upon his own application or the application of one acting in his behalf, be retired for ordinary disability by the board of trustees. The physician or physicians designated by the board shall have first made a medical examination of him at his residence or at any other place mutually agreed upon and shall have certified to the board that the member is physically or mentally incapacitated for the performance of duty and should be retired.  No person who becomes a member of the retirement system on or after the effective date of P.L.   , c.   (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be eligible for retirement pursuant to this subsection. 

     c.     A member, under 65 years of age, shall, upon the application of his employer or upon his own application or the application of one acting in his behalf, be retired by the board of trustees, if said member is permanently and totally disabled as a direct result of a traumatic event occurring during and as a result of the performance of his regular or assigned duties, on an accidental disability allowance.  A traumatic event occurring during voluntary performance of regular or assigned duties at a place of employment before or after required hours of employment which is not in violation of any valid work rule of the employer or otherwise prohibited by the employer shall be deemed as occurring during the performance of regular or assigned duties.  No person who becomes a member of the retirement system on or after the effective date of P.L.   , c.  (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be eligible for retirement pursuant to this subsection. 

     The application to accomplish such retirement must be filed within five years of the original traumatic event, but the board of trustees may consider an application filed after the five-year period if it can be factually demonstrated to the satisfaction of the board of trustees that the disability is due to the accident and the filing was not accomplished within the five-year period due to a delayed manifestation of the disability or to circumstances beyond the control of the member.

     Permanent and total disability resulting from a cardiovascular, pulmonary or musculo-skeletal condition which was not a direct result of a traumatic event occurring in the performance of duty shall be deemed an ordinary disability.

     Before consideration of an application for accidental disability allowance by the board of trustees, the physician or physicians designated by the board shall have first made a medical examination of the member at his residence or at any other place mutually agreed upon and shall have certified to the board that he is physically or mentally incapacitated for the performance of duty, and should be retired, and the employer shall have certified to the board that the member is permanently and totally disabled as a direct result of a traumatic event occurring during and as a result of the performance of his regular and assigned duties, the time and place where the duty causing the disability was performed, that the disability was not the result of his willful negligence and that the member should be retired.

(cf:  P.L.1986, c.51, s.1) 

 

     8.    Section 42 of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-42) is amended to read as follows: 

     42.  A member, under 60 years of age, who has 10 or more years of credit for New Jersey service, shall, upon the application of the head of the department in which he shall have been employed or upon his own application or the application of one acting in his behalf, be retired for ordinary disability by the board of trustees.  The physician or physicians designated by the board shall have first made a medical examination of him at his residence or at any other place mutually agreed upon and shall have certified to the board that the  member is physically or mentally incapacitated for the performance of duty and  should be retired.

     The service requirement provisions of this amendatory and supplementary act shall not become effective for 5 years following the effective date of the act.

     No person who becomes a member of the retirement system on or after the effective date of P.L.   , c.   (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be eligible for retirement pursuant to this section. 

(cf:  P.L.1966, c.67, s.3) 

 

     9.    Section 43 of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-43) is amended to read as follows: 

     43.  A member who has not attained age 65 shall, upon the application of the head of the department in which he is employed or upon his own application or the application of one acting in his behalf, be retired by the board of trustees, if said employee is permanently and totally disabled as a direct result of a traumatic event occurring during and as a result of the performance of his regular or assigned duties, on an accidental disability allowance.  A traumatic event occurring during voluntary performance of regular or assigned duties at a place of employment before or after required hours of employment which is not in violation of any valid work rule of the employer or otherwise prohibited by the employer shall be deemed as occurring during the performance of regular or assigned duties.

     The application to accomplish such retirement must be filed within five years of the original traumatic event, but the board of trustees may consider an application filed after the five-year period if it can be factually demonstrated to the satisfaction of the board of trustees that the disability is due to the accident and the filing was not accomplished within the five-year period due to a delayed manifestation of the disability or to circumstances beyond the control of the member.

     Permanent and total disability resulting from a cardiovascular, pulmonary or musculo-skeletal condition which was not a direct result of a traumatic event occurring in the performance of duty shall be deemed an ordinary disability.

     Before consideration of the application by the board of trustees, the physician or physicians designated by the board shall have first made a medical examination of the member at his residence or at any other place mutually agreed upon and shall have certified to the board that he is physically or mentally incapacitated for the performance of duty, and should be retired, and the appointing authority shall have certified to the board that the member is permanently and totally disabled as a direct result of a traumatic event occurring during and as a result of the performance of his regular or assigned duties, the time and place where the duty causing the disability was performed, that the disability was not the result of his willful negligence and that the member should be retired. 

     No person who becomes a member of the retirement system on or after the effective date of P.L.   , c.   (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be eligible for retirement pursuant to this section. 

(cf:  P.L.1986, c.51, s.2) 

 

     10.  (New section)  a.  A person who becomes a member of the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund, N.J.S.18A:66-1 et seq., on or after the effective date of P.L.     , c.     (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall not be eligible for an ordinary or accidental disability retirement allowance, but shall be eligible for disability insurance coverage pursuant to this section.

     b.    The State Treasurer is hereby authorized and permitted to purchase from one or more insurance companies, as determined by him, group disability benefit coverage to provide for the disability benefit in the amounts specified herein.  The group disability benefit coverage may be provided under one or more policies issued to the State Treasurer specifically for this purpose or, in the discretion of the State Treasurer, under one or more policies issued to the State Treasurer which provide group life insurance coverage for members of the retirement system designated in subsection a. of this section.  Any dividend or retrospective rate credit allowed by an insurance company attributable to this program shall be credited in an equitable manner to the funds available to meet the employers' obligations under such retirement system.

     Premiums for such group insurance coverage shall be paid from a special fund, hereby created, called the "Teachers Group Disability Insurance Premium Fund."   The State Treasurer shall estimate annually the amount which shall be required for premiums for such benefits for the ensuing fiscal year and shall certify such amounts which shall be applied against the total employer contributions due for the members of the retirement system whose members are covered, depositing such amounts in the premium fund.

     During the period such group insurance policy or policies are in effect with respect to members of the retirement system, the State Treasurer shall in no way commingle moneys in this fund with any retirement system.

     c.     A person shall not be allowed the group disability benefit coverage if on the date the person enrolls in the retirement system, the person is 60 or more years of age, unless the person furnishes satisfactory  evidence of insurability and, on the effective date of the person’s enrollment, is actively at work and performing all the regular duties at the customary place of employment.

     The effective date of coverage for such a benefit shall be the first day of the month which immediately follows the date when such evidence is determined to be satisfactory.

     Such evidence of insurability shall not be required of any person enrolling in the retirement system upon transfer from another retirement system, if such retirement system provided a benefit of a similar nature and the transferring person was covered by such a benefit at the time of the transfer.  If such transferring person was not covered by such a benefit at the time of the transfer, the person may be allowed the benefit under the group policy or policies; however, any such person shall furnish satisfactory evidence of insurability if he had been unable or failed to give such evidence as a member of the retirement system from which the person transferred. 

     Any person who must furnish satisfactory evidence of insurability, and who ceases to be enrolled in the retirement system without such evidence having been given, shall continue to be subject to the same requirement if the person subsequently becomes a member.

     d.    The disability benefit coverage provided under such group policy or policies shall provide a monthly income if the member becomes totally disabled from occupational or nonoccupational causes for a period of at least six consecutive months following the effective date of the coverage.  The monthly disability benefit may be paid by the insurance company so long as the member remains disabled up to the seventieth birthday, provided the disability commenced prior to the sixtieth  birthday.  The benefit shall terminate when the member is no longer considered totally disabled or begins to receive retirement benefits.

     The member shall be considered totally disabled if the member is unable to perform each duty of the member’s occupation and is under the regular care of a physician.  After the 12 months following the commencement of such disability benefit payments, the member shall be unable to engage in any gainful occupation for which the member is reasonably fitted by education, training or experience.  Total disability shall not be considered to exist if the member is gainfully employed.  Following an agreement with the insurance company and the policyholder, the member may continue to receive disability benefits for a limited time while performing some type of work.  During the period of rehabilitation, the monthly benefit shall be the regular payment less 80% of the member's earnings from such rehabilitative position.

     e.     A member shall be deemed to be in service and covered by the disability benefit insurance provisions for a period of no more than six months while on official leave of absence without pay if  satisfactory evidence is presented to the Division of Pensions and Benefits that such leave of absence without pay is due to illness and that the member was not actively engaged in any gainful occupation during such period of leave of absence without pay.

     Disability benefit insurance provisions of the group policy or policies shall not cover disability resulting from or contributed to by pregnancy, act of war, intentionally self-inflicted injury, or attempted suicide whether or not sane.  For purposes of such disability benefit coverage, the member shall not be considered to be disabled while the member is imprisoned or while outside the United  States, its territories or possessions, or Canada.

     If the member has recovered from the disability for which the member had received benefits and again becomes totally disabled while insured, the later disability shall be regarded as a continuation of the prior one unless the member has returned to full-time covered employment for at least six months.  If the later absence is due to an unrelated cause and the member had returned to full-time work, it shall be considered a new disability.  The disability benefit insurance cannot be converted to an individual policy.

     No person shall be covered by the disability benefit provision of the group policy or policies except upon the completion of one year of full-time continuous employment in a position eligible for participation in a retirement system designated in subsection a. of this section.

     f.     The disability benefit provided under such group policy or policies shall be in an amount equal to 60% of the member's base monthly salary, reduced by periodic benefits to which the member may be entitled during the period of total disability.  The minimum monthly disability benefit shall be $50.

     The periodic benefit by which the monthly disability benefit may be reduced shall include salary or wages, retirement benefits or benefits from any source for which the State or other public employer has paid any part of the cost or made payroll deductions, Social Security disability or other benefits, including dependents' benefits, and benefits paid by Social Security at the option of the participant before the age of 65, but not including any increase  in Social Security benefits enacted after the disability benefit under such  group policy or policies have commenced, and any other periodic benefits  provided by law except on account of military service.

     When a member begins to receive a disability benefit under such group policy or policies, the insurance company shall pay an amount equal to the employee contribution which would have been required of the member and deducted from the member’s base salary in order to meet the member’s obligation for the purchase of the member’s individual retirement annuity.  Such amount shall be paid by the insurance company without reduction by any other periodic benefit which the member is eligible to receive.  Such amount shall be paid by the insurance company to the insurer or insurers for the member's retirement annuity.

     g.     Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an insurance company or companies issuing such policy or policies may credit the policyholder either directly or in the form of reduced premiums, with savings by the company or companies in the event that no brokerage commission or commissions are paid by the company or companies on the issuance of such policy or policies.

     No employer obligations shall be paid when the member is on a leave of absence without pay or when the member no longer is enrolled in the retirement system designated in subsection a. of this section. 

     h.     The group disability insurance policy or policies shall provide a member with an opportunity to purchase additional coverage.

     i.      A member who is disabled and receiving a benefit under this section shall remain eligible for employer-provided health care benefits coverage in the same manner as such coverage is provided by the employer to retirees of the retirement system.

     j.     The State Treasurer shall establish an appeals process to be used when an employer or employee disagree with the insurer on the employee’s ability to return to employment or on issues related to physical examinations.

 

     11.  (New section)  a.  A person who becomes a member of the Public Employees’ Retirement System of New Jersey, P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-1 et seq.), on or after the effective date of P.L.     , c.     (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall not be eligible for an ordinary or accidental disability retirement allowance, but shall be eligible for disability insurance coverage pursuant to this section.

     b.    The State Treasurer is hereby authorized and permitted to  purchase from one or more insurance companies, as determined by him, group disability benefit coverage to provide for the disability benefit in the amounts specified herein.  The group disability benefit coverage may be provided under one or more policies issued to the State Treasurer specifically for this purpose or, in the discretion of the State Treasurer, under one or more policies issued to the State Treasurer which provide group life insurance coverage for members of the retirement system designated in subsection a. of this section.  Any dividend or retrospective rate credit allowed by an insurance company attributable to this program shall be credited in an equitable manner to the funds available to meet the employers' obligations under such retirement system.

     Premiums for such group insurance coverage shall be paid from a special fund, hereby created, called the "Public Employees Group Disability Insurance Premium Fund."  The State Treasurer shall estimate annually the amount which shall be required for premiums for such benefits for the ensuing fiscal year and shall certify such amounts which shall be applied against the total employer contributions due for the members of the retirement system whose members are covered, depositing such amounts in the premium fund.

     During the period such group insurance policy or policies are in effect with respect to members of the retirement system, the State Treasurer shall in no way commingle moneys in this fund with any retirement system.

     c.     A person shall not be allowed the group disability benefit coverage if on the date the person enrolls in the retirement system, the person is 60 or more years of age, unless the person furnishes satisfactory  evidence of insurability and, on the effective date of the person’s enrollment, is actively at work and performing all the regular duties at the customary place of employment.

     The effective date of coverage for such a benefit shall be the first day of the month which immediately follows the date when such evidence is determined to be satisfactory.

     Such evidence of insurability shall not be required of any person enrolling in the retirement system upon transfer from another retirement system, if such retirement system provided a benefit of a similar nature and the transferring person was covered by such a benefit at the time of the transfer.  If such transferring person was not covered by such a benefit at the time of the transfer, the person may be allowed the benefit under the group policy or policies; however, any such person shall furnish satisfactory evidence of insurability if he had been unable or failed to give such evidence as a member of the retirement system from which the person transferred. 

     Any person who must furnish satisfactory evidence of insurability, and who ceases to be enrolled in the retirement system without such evidence having been given, shall continue to be subject to the same requirement if the person subsequently becomes a member.

     d.    The disability benefit coverage provided under such group policy or policies shall provide a monthly income if the member becomes totally disabled from occupational or nonoccupational causes for a period of at least six consecutive months following the effective date of the coverage.  The monthly disability benefit may be paid by the insurance company so long as the member remains disabled up to the seventieth birthday, provided the disability commenced prior to the sixtieth  birthday.  The benefit shall terminate when the member is no longer considered totally disabled or begins to receive retirement benefits.

     The member shall be considered totally disabled if the member is unable to perform each duty of the member’s occupation and is under the regular care of a physician.  After the 12 months following the commencement of such disability benefit payments, the member shall be unable to engage in any gainful occupation for which the member is reasonably fitted by education, training or experience.  Total disability shall not be considered to exist if the member is gainfully employed.  Following an agreement with the insurance company and the policyholder, the member may continue to receive disability benefits for a limited time while performing some type of work.  During the period of rehabilitation, the monthly benefit shall be the regular payment less 80% of the member's earnings from such rehabilitative position.

     e.     A member shall be deemed to be in service and covered by the disability benefit insurance provisions for a period of no more than six months while on official leave of absence without pay if  satisfactory evidence is presented to the Division of Pensions and Benefits that such leave of absence without pay is due to illness and that the member was not actively engaged in any gainful occupation during such period of leave of absence without pay.

     Disability benefit insurance provisions of the group policy or policies shall not cover disability resulting from or contributed to by pregnancy, act of war, intentionally self-inflicted injury, or attempted suicide whether or not sane.  For purposes of such disability benefit coverage, the member shall not be considered to be disabled while the member is imprisoned or while outside the United  States, its territories or possessions, or Canada.

     If the member has recovered from the disability for which the member had received benefits and again becomes totally disabled while insured, the later disability shall be regarded as a continuation of the prior one unless the member has returned to full-time covered employment for at least six months.  If the later absence is due to an unrelated cause and the member had returned to full-time work, it shall be considered a new disability.  The disability benefit insurance cannot be converted to an individual policy.

     No person shall be covered by the disability benefit provision of the group policy or policies except upon the completion of one year of full-time continuous employment in a position eligible for participation in a retirement system designated in subsection a. of this section.

     f.     The disability benefit provided under such group policy or policies shall be in an amount equal to 60% of the member's base monthly salary, reduced by periodic benefits to which the member may be entitled during the period of total disability.  The minimum monthly disability benefit shall be $50.

     The periodic benefit by which the monthly disability benefit may be reduced shall include salary or wages, retirement benefits or benefits from any source for which the State or other public employer has paid any part of the cost or made payroll deductions, Social Security disability or other benefits, including dependents' benefits, and benefits paid by Social Security at the option of the participant before the age of 65, but not including any increase  in Social Security benefits enacted after the disability benefit under such  group policy or policies have commenced, and any other periodic benefits  provided by law except on account of military service.

     When a member begins to receive a disability benefit under such group policy or policies, the insurance company shall pay an amount equal to the employee contribution which would have been required of the member and deducted from the member’s base salary in order to meet the member’s obligation for the purchase of the member’s individual retirement annuity.  Such amount shall be paid by the insurance company without reduction by any other periodic benefit which the member is eligible to receive.  Such amount shall be paid by the insurance company to the insurer or insurers for the member's retirement annuity.

     g.     Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an insurance company or companies issuing such policy or policies may credit the policyholder either directly or in the form of reduced premiums, with savings by the company or companies in the event that no brokerage commission or commissions are paid by the company or companies on the issuance of such policy or policies.

     No employer obligations shall be paid when the member is on a leave of absence without pay or when the member no longer is enrolled in the retirement system designated in subsection a. of this section. 

     h.     The group disability insurance policy or policies shall provide a member with an opportunity to purchase additional coverage.

     i.      A member who is disabled and receiving a benefit under this section shall remain eligible for employer-provided health care benefits coverage in the same manner as such coverage is provided by the employer to retirees of the retirement system.

     j.     The State Treasurer shall establish an appeals process to be used when an employer or employee disagree with the insurer on the employee’s ability to return to employment or on issues related to physical examinations.

 

     12.  (New section)  The provisions of section 42 of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-42) and section 43 of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-43) as amended by P.L.  , c.   (pending before the Legislature as this bill), and section 11 of P.L.  , c.   (C.      )(pending before the Legislature as this bill), concerning persons who become members of the retirement system on or after the effective date of P.L.  , c.    (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall not apply to a person who at the time of enrollment in the retirement system on or after that effective date transfers service credit, as permitted, from another State-administered retirement system or fund of which the person was a member immediately prior to the effective date and continuously thereafter, but shall apply to a former member of the retirement system who has been granted a retirement allowance and is reenrolled in the retirement system on or after that effective date after becoming employed again in a position that makes the person eligible to be a member of the retirement system.

 

     13.  (New section)  The provisions of N.J.S.18A:66-39 as amended by P.L.  , c.   (pending before the Legislature as this bill), and section 10 of P.L.  , c.   (C.      )(pending before the Legislature as this bill), concerning persons who become members of the retirement system on or after the effective date of P.L.  , c.    (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall not apply to a person who at the time of enrollment in the retirement system on or after that effective date transfers service credit, as permitted, from another State-administered retirement system or fund of which the person was a member immediately prior to the effective date and continuously thereafter, but shall apply to a former member of the retirement system who has been granted a retirement allowance and is reenrolled in the retirement system on or after that effective date after becoming employed again in a position that makes the person eligible to be a member of the retirement system.

 

     14.  This act shall take effect on the 60th day following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     Sections 1, 2 and 3:

     These sections implement Recommendation 36 of the Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employee Benefits Reform set forth in the final report dated December 1, 2006.  The report concluded that “this recommendation will bring supplemental compensation for accumulated unused sick leave in line with the current law and practice for State employees, thus standardizing this benefit for public employees serving at  different levels of government in the State.”

     This bill provides that supplemental compensation for accumulated unused sick leave payable to any local government or school district officer or employee cannot exceed $15,000 and can only be paid at the time the officer or employee retires.  This provision would apply only to officers and employees who commence service with a local government or a school district on or after the bill’s effective date.

     Current law limits to $15,000 the maximum amount that may be paid to a State employee for accumulated unused sick leave when the employee retires.  However, there is currently no such limit with regard to local government and to school district officers or employees, except with regard to certain high level local government and school district officers. 

 

     Sections 4 and 5:

     These sections implement Recommendation 37 of the Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employee Benefits Reform set forth in the final report dated December 1, 2006.  The report concludes that “this recommendation will bring the carry forward of unused vacation time in line with the current law and practice for State employees, thus standardizing these benefits for public employees serving at different levels of government in the State.  In addition, this recommendation will enable local governments to control public employee benefit costs which, in turn, will reduce property tax revenue needs.”

     Under this bill, local government and school district officers and employees would be allowed to carry forward vacation leave for only one successive year, except that vacation leave that could not be used because of an emergency declared by the Governor would accumulate subject to certain limits.  This provision would apply only to officers and employees who commence service with a local government or a school district on or after the bill’s effective date and only after the expiration of a current contract applicable to such officer or employee

     Current law limits vacation leave carry forward for State employees and employees of local governments that have adopted civil service.  However, there is currently no such limit with regard to other local government and to school district officers or employees, except with regard to certain high level local government and school district officers.

 

     Section 6:

     This section implements Recommendation 38 of the Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employee Benefits Reform set forth in the final report dated December 1, 2006.  The committee recommended “the enactment of legislation to eliminate the State’s sick leave injury program.  The legislation should close the program to all current and future State employees.  The legislation should take effect after the expiration of any collective bargaining agreement in effect at the time of enactment so that no obligation in a contract is impaired.”  The committee stated that “the proposals to end the sick leave injury program are sound and that employees will generally not be disadvantaged by this change because workers’ compensation benefits will continue to be available.  In addition, the State will realize savings in the form of reduced employee benefit costs.”

     This bill terminates the sick leave injury program for State employees who are injured or who become ill directly as a result of State employment after the bill’s effective date which is 60 days after enactment or after the expiration of current collective negotiations agreements. 

 

     Sections 7-11:

     These sections implement Recommendation 17 of the Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employee Benefits Reform set forth in the final report dated December 1, 2006.  The committee recommended “the enactment of legislation to replace accidental and ordinary disability benefits for new TPAF and PERS members with private disability insurance coverage.”  The committee found that this recommendation would be beneficial to public employees who become disabled and would result in savings to both the State and local public employers.

     This bill eliminates accidental and ordinary disability retirement for members of the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) and Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) who are enrolled in the retirement system on or after this bill’s effective date.  Instead, members of each system enrolled after that date will be eligible for disability insurance coverage similar to that provided by the State currently to individuals enrolled in the Defined Contribution Retirement Program.

 

     Section 12 and 13: 

     These sections provide that, with regard to any provision of this bill concerning disability retirement in the Public Employees’ Retirement System and the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund made applicable to a person who becomes a member of a State-administered retirement system on or after the bill’s effective date, that provision would not apply to a person who at the time of enrollment in the retirement system on or after that effective date transfers service credit, as permitted, from another State-administered retirement system or fund of which the person was a member immediately prior to the effective date and continuously thereafter, but would apply to a former member of the retirement system who has been granted a retirement allowance and is reenrolled in the retirement system on or after that effective date after becoming employed again in a position that makes the person eligible to be a member of the retirement system.  These sections are in line with recent prior enactments in this regard.