Assemblyman RALPH R. CAPUTO
District 28 (Essex)
Permits school nurse who is retired from TPAF to return to employment for up to two years without reenrollment in TPAF.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning a return to employment by a school nurse after retirement from the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund, and amending N.J.S.18A:66-53.2.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. N.J.S.18A:66-53.2 is amended to read as follows:
18A:66-53.2. a. Except as provided in subsection b. of this section, if a former member of the retirement system who has been granted a retirement allowance for any cause other than disability, becomes employed again in a position which makes him eligible to be a member of the retirement system, his retirement allowance and the right to any death benefit as a result of his former membership, shall be canceled until he again retires.
Such person shall be reenrolled in the retirement system and shall contribute thereto at a rate based on his age at the time of reenrollment. Such person shall be treated as an active member for determining disability or death benefits while in service and no benefits pursuant to an optional selection with respect to his former membership shall be paid if his death shall occur during the period of such reenrollment.
Upon subsequent retirement of such member, his former retirement allowance shall be reinstated together with any optional selection, based on his former membership. In addition, he shall receive an additional retirement allowance based on his subsequent service as a member computed in accordance with applicable provisions of this article; provided, however, that his total retirement allowance upon such subsequent retirement shall not be a greater proportion of his final compensation than the proportion to which he would have been entitled had he remained in service during the period of his prior retirement. Any death benefit to which such member shall be eligible shall be based on his latest retirement, but shall not be less than the death benefit that was applicable to his former retirement.
b. The cancellation,
reenrollment, and additional retirement allowance provisions of subsection a.
of this section shall not apply to a former member of the retirement system who
is a certificated superintendent or a certificated administrator and who, after
having been granted a retirement allowance, becomes employed by the State
Department of Education in a position of critical need as determined by the
State Commissioner of Education, or becomes employed by a board of education as
a certificated superintendent or a certificated administrator, or who is a
certified school nurse and who, after having been granted a retirement
allowance, becomes employed by a
board of education as a certified school nurse, on a contractual basis for a term of not more than one year; except that the cancellation, reenrollment, and additional retirement allowance provisions shall apply if the former member becomes employed within 120 days of retirement, or if the former member becomes employed as a certified school nurse within 60 days of retirement, with the employer from which the member retired. Nothing herein shall preclude a former member so reemployed with a board of education from renewing a contract for one additional year; provided that the total period of employment with any individual board of education does not exceed a two-year period, unless so approved by the Commissioner of Education as being in the best interests of the school district; and provided that no such renewal shall provide the former member an election regarding whether or not to be reenrolled.
c. A former member of the retirement system who has been granted a retirement allowance, for any cause other than disability, may become employed again with the former employer in a position as a coach of an athletics activity if: (1) the employment commences after the retirement allowance becomes due and payable; (2) the former member had attained the service retirement age, applicable to that member, as of the date of retirement; and (3) the compensation for the employment is less than $15,000 per year. This subsection shall be effective if the qualified status of the retirement system under federal law can be maintained upon its application, and such modifications to the system as may be available shall be made to allow for its application. As used in this section, "former employer" means the employer with which the former member held employment immediately prior to retirement.
(cf: P.L.2019, c.184, s.1)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill would permit a certified school nurse who retired from the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) to return to work full time as a certified school nurse with a board of education without being reenrolled in the TPAF. If the retired school nurse returns to work with the former employer, it must occur more than 60 days after the retirement. This bill will permit the school nurse to receive the TPAF retirement allowance as well as a salary. The bill permits the return to work under a contract for one year, which may be renewed only for one additional year.
Current law has a substantially similar provision to permit certain TPAF retirees to return to work with a board of education in a TPAF position as a certificated superintendent or certificated administrator for a limited period of time, without reenrollment in the TPAF.
There may be additional requirements that would have to be met in certain circumstances for a return to work in order to comply with the laws and regulations of the federal Internal Revenue Code.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Murphy declared a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency by signing Executive Order No. 103 on March 9, 2020. That declaration of the Public Health Emergency was extended many times since then in order to allow the State to continue to take methodical, strategic, and appropriate action to address the continuing pandemic. Schools in the State were closed for many months in 2020 and plans have been developed to safely reopen the schools for the 2020-2021 school year.
The work of a certified school nurse is demanding and sensitive even in normal times. They provide health screenings and care for students with chronic illnesses, disabilities, and mental health conditions. They serve as advocates for students. While there is a shortage of school nurses in other states, New Jersey is not yet one of those states. However, filling the position of school nurse is not easy, and may be especially difficult for the 2020-2021 school year and thereafter.
Now more than ever, the school nurse is an essential employee of every school district in the State. It is imperative that the State address the critical need for school nurses and provide means for school districts to employ well-qualified and experienced individuals for these essential positions.