Changes to employment rules after retirement

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Recent staffing shortages during the COVID pandemic have caused the New Jersey legislature to make some changes to the rules governing the return of retirees to public school employment.

The first change allows certified school nurses to return to public school employment for up to two years after a authentic retirement. For the provisions of what constitutes a bona fide retirement, see the box below. The provisions are similar to administrators returning to work on a temporary basis while continuing to receive a pension. A contract issued by a local school board to a retiree employed as a graduate school nurse may not exceed one year but may be renewed for an additional year with that school board.

The second change, which was passed by the Legislature and signed into law in January, allows retired teachers or any professional staff who provide special services to return to public school employment without being re-enrolled in the retirement. The school district must demonstrate critical need, as determined by the Commissioner of Education, when seeking to re-employ a retiree.

The provisions are similar to the restrictions for school nurses in that the retiree must have a bona fide retirement. A contract issued by a local school board to a retiree employed as a teacher or to any member of the professional staff may not exceed one year but may be renewed for an additional year with that school board. Anything beyond this second year would have to be approved by the Education Commissioner.

Unlike the provision for school nurses, this change is only applicable for the remainder of the 2021-22 school year or the 2022-23 school year. If you have any questions, call the New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits at 609-292-7524.

Here is what constitutes a good faith retreat:

1. For re-employment in the District, the member retired from:

  • There may be no employment, including part-time, volunteer or contract work, for a period of 180 days from the date of retirement or the date the pension board approves the retirement, the later date being chosen.
  • The 180-day count begins September 1 for July 1 retirees who were 10-month employees.
  • No re-employment pre-arrangement until the 180-day count has been completed.

2. For re-employment in a New Jersey public school district other than the one from which the member retired:

  • No employment, including part-time, voluntary or contract work, for a period of 30 days after the pension is due and payable.
  • No prior arrangement for re-employment until 30 days after pension is due and payable.

Note: Due and Payable means that the retirement has been approved by the Board of Directors and no changes have been made to the beneficiary or option after the retirement date. If you have any questions, you can contact the NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits at 609-292-7524.

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