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October 2019 Legislative Summary

Wednesday, October 2, 2019   (0 Comments)

Summary of Selected Recently Enacted Legislation

P.L. 2018, c. 5 commonly known as “Pass-the-Trash” Law

P.L. 2018, c. 5 requires all applicants for positions in school districts* to provide past employment information to prospective employers; to authorize the disclosure of certain information by previous employers; and to disclose investigations, disciplinary actions, and licensure sanctions related to child abuse or sexual misconduct.   The law establishes penalties for applicants that do not disclose the required information.

P.L. 2018, c. 5 also requires employers to review the employment history and make certain inquiries regarding child abuse and sexual misconduct of prospective employees who will have regular contact with students.  Employers are expected to respond to inquiries within 20 days.  Employers that do not receive employment inquiry responses are protected from liability if they choose not to hire the applicant.  Employers that receive information that disqualifies an applicant or employee are entitled to rescind the offer of employment or terminate the employee.

Information obtained under this act is not subject to OPRA.  Disclosure of employment information by an employer under this act is subject to immunity from civil and criminal liability.  School districts are prohibited from entering agreements that limit the applicability of P.L. 2018, c.5.

*For the purposes of this summary, school districts includes public school districts, charter schools, nonpublic schools, and contracted service providers holding a contract with a school district, charter school or nonpublic school.

 

Suggested Action Items

·         Ensure employment applications include all required information from prospective employees

·         Document communications and attempts to contact applicants’ previous employers

·         Create your District’s Disclosure Release Form

·         Identify the District employee that will respond to requests for employee information

 

Effective Date: June 1, 2018

 

Useful Links

Pamphlet Law P.L.18 c.5

DOE Frequently Asked Questions

Sample Disclosure Release Form

 

 

P.L. 2018, c. 10 commonly known as Earned Sick Leave

P.L. 2018, c. 10 requires employers to provide earned sick leave to each employee working for the employer in the State. For every 30 hours worked, the employee shall accrue one hour of earned sick leave, except that an employer may provide an employee with the full complement of earned sick leave for a benefit year up front if it so desires.  Earned leave will begin to accrue on the later of the effective date of the act or the date of hire. In either case the employee is not eligible to use the earned sick leave for 120 days. Time off is allowed for various reasons such as closure of the school of a child of the employee, time to care for a family member, etc.  If the need to use the leave is foreseeable, an employer may require advance notice not to exceed 7 days prior to the leave. For leaves of three or more days the employer may require reasonable documentation. An employer can pay the full amount of unused earned sick leave in the final month of the benefit year only if they forgo the accrual process for earning sick leave during the next benefit year.  An employer may offer employees a payment of unused earned leave in the final month of the benefit year. The employee has 10 days to accept or decline a payment. If they decline or opt for a 50% payment the employee is entitled to carry forward any unused or unpaid earned leave.  Payout upon separation of employment is not allowed unless the employer policy or collective bargaining agreement provides for it.

Suggested Action Items

·         Retain records for 5 years as required

·         Provide notice of employees’ rights under the act in writing within 30 days of the notice becoming available and at the time of the employees’ hiring. Must be available in several languages.

·         Post notice in a conspicuous and accessible place.

Effective Date:  180 days after May 2, 2018

Useful Links

https://www.nj.gov/labor/forms_pdfs/mw565sickleaveposter.pdf

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/PL18/10_.PDF

 

P.L. 2018, c. 15 commonly known as the “Workplace Democracy Act”

P.L. 2018, c. 15 requires employers to provide to exclusive representative employee organizations access to members of the negotiations units.  Access includes but is not limited to the right to meet with individual employees on the premises during the work day to investigate and discuss grievances, workplace-related complaints and other workplace issues, the right to conduct worksite meetings during lunch and other non-work breaks and the right to meet with newly hired employees for 30-120 minutes within 30 days of hire without charge to the pay or leave time of the employees.

 

 A public employer shall not encourage negotiations unit members to resign or relinquish membership in an exclusive representative employee organization and shall not encourage negotiations unit members to revoke authorization of the deduction of fees to the organization.  A public employer shall not encourage or discourage an employee from joining, forming or assisting an employee organization.

Employees who have authorized the payroll deduction of fees to such employee organizations may revoke such authorization by providing written notice to their public employer during the 10 days following each anniversary date of their employment. Within five days of receipt of notice from an employee of revocation of authorization for the payroll deduction of fees, the public employer shall provide notice to the employee organization of an employee’s revocation of such authorization. An employee’s notice of revocation shall be effective on the 30th day after the anniversary date of employment.

Suggested Action Items

·         Report required employee information to the negotiations unit within 10 days of hire.

·         Report the same required employee information for all negotiations unit members beginning January 1, 2019 and every 120 calendar days after that.

Effective Date: May 18, 2018

Useful Links

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/PL18/15_.PDF

 

P.L. 2018, c. 118 commonly known as Bus Lap & Shoulder Belts

P.L. 2018, c. 118 requires that buses manufactured 180 days after August 25, 2018 shall be equipped with seats of a minimum seat back height of 28 inches, or 24 inches as measured from the seating reference point, and three-point lap and shoulder seat belts for each seating position on the bus or other child restraint systems that are in conformity with applicable federal standards.

Suggested Action Items

·         Revise bus specifications.

Effective Date:  180 days after August 25, 2018

Useful Links

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/PL18/118_.PDF

 

 

P.L. 2018, c. 151 commonly known as Bus Driver Physicals

P.L. 2018, c. 151 requires school bus drivers to submit medical certificates to their employer to prove continuing physical fitness and to submit to medical examinations that includes certain screenings.  Drivers over age 70 must submit proof every year and drivers over 75 must submit proof every six months.

The physical shall be performed by a medical examiner listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.   In addition to the physical exam, the driver must submit to a medical exam for the presence of alcohol, narcotics or habit-producing drugs as well as an exam that includes hearing and visual acuity tests.

Suggested Action Items

·         Ensure medical certificates encompassing all component of the required exams are remitted on a timely basis.

Effective Date : May 18, 2018

Useful Links

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/PL18/151_.PDF

 

P.L. 2018, c. 152 commonly known as Suspension of Bus Driver Licenses

P.L. 2018, c. 152 requires that a Board of Education or pupil transportation contractor provide a statement to the Department of Education within one day of notification by the DOE that a school bus driver employed by either has had their bus driver license suspended or revoked that the driver no longer operates a bus for the board or contractor.

Suggested Action Items

·         24 hour notification to DOE of driver removed from operating a bus.

Effective Date: December 17, 2018

Useful Links

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/PL18/152_.PDF

 

 

 

 

P.L. 2018, c. 160 commonly known as Bus Driver & Aide Training

P.L. 2018, c. 160 requires that the employer administers a safety education program for all permanent and substitute school bus drivers and school bus aides that it employs.  The training shall be conducted twice a year and include:

1)      Student management and disciplines

2)      School bus accident and emergency procedures

3)      Conducting school bus emergency exit drills

4)      Loading and unloading procedures

5)      School bus stop loading zone safety

6)      Inspecting the school vehicle for students left on board at the end of a route

7)      The use of a student’s education records, including the employee’s responsibility to ensure the privacy of the student and the student’s records, if applicable.

8)      Defensive driving techniques

9)      Railroad crossing procedures.

 

Suggested Action Items

·         Semi-annual training of all permanent and substitute drivers & bus aides.

Effective Date: December 17, 2018

Useful Links

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/PL18/160_.PDF

 

P.L. 2019, c. 9 commonly known as Bus Driver Suspension Notification

P.L. 2019, c. 9 requires that a Board of Education or pupil transportation contractor provides a statement to the Department of Education within one day of notification by the DOE that a school bus driver employed by either has had their bus driver license suspended or revoked due to the accumulation of 3 or more moving violations or accumulation of 6 or more motor vehicle penalty points for convictions after August 1, 2019, that the driver no longer operates a bus for the board or contractor.

 Suggested Action Items

·         Removal of Bus Driver from operating a bus & notification to the DOE within 24 hrs.

Effective Date: August 1, 2019

Useful Links

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/PL19/9_.PDF

P.L. 2019, c. 17 commonly known as Transportation Supervisor Certification

P.L. 2019, c. 17 requires that school district transportation supervisors who are newly hired or who have less than 11 years of experience as a school district transportation supervisor as of the 2021-2022 school year shall complete the School Transportation Supervisors Certification Program offered by the Center for Government Services at Rutgers or any other certification program designated by the Commissioner of Education.  Those individuals who have less than 11 years experience as a transportation supervisor as of January 31, 2019 will have four years to complete the certification program.   Those employed after January 31, 2019 with less than 11 years’ experience as a transportation supervisor will have four years from the date of employment to complete the program.

 Suggested Action Items

·         Review experience level of your Transportation Supervisor.

·         If necessary, negotiate who will bear the cost of the program.

·         Monitor successful completion of the program.

Effective Date: January 31, 2019

Useful Links

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/PL19/17_.PDF

 

P.L. 2019, c. 33 commonly known as “Alyssa’s Law”

P.L. 2019, c. 33 requires that each public elementary and secondary school building shall be equipped with at least one panic alarm for use in a school security emergency including, but not limited to, a non-fire evacuation, lockdown, or active shooter situation. The alarm shall be directly linked to local law enforcement authorities or, in the case of a school building located in a municipality in which there is no municipal police department, a location designated by the Superintendent of State Police, and shall immediately transmit a signal or message to such authorities upon activation. The alarm shall not be audible within the school building.  Alternatives may be installed if approved by the Department of Education. Bond proceeds shall be used to fund the full cost of the panic required panic alarms. The New Jersey Schools Development Authority shall adopt, rules and regulations.

Suggested Action Item

·         Review regulations when issued for compliance and reimbursement.  None issued currently.

Effective Date: September 1, 2019

 

Useful Links

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/PL19/33_.PDF

P.L. 2019, c. 43 commonly known as Bus Signage

P.L. 2019, c. 43 requires that every bus shall have a sign or legends which will inform drivers of any vehicle of their duty with respect to passing a bus while loading or unloading.  Additionally, the rear of the bus will display identifying information such as a telephone number or website address to allow the public to report a bus driver’s misconduct.  The commissioner of Education in consultation with the NJ Motor Vehicle commission and State Police shall promulgate regulations.

 Suggested Action Items

·         Regulations have not been promulgated.  Consider temporary removable signage.

Effective Date: July 1, 2019

Useful Links

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/PL19/43_.PDF

 

P.L. 2019, c. 169 commonly known as the Elimination of the Superintendent Salary Cap

P.L. 2019, c. 169  requires that each executive county superintendent performs such duties as : recommend consolidation of certain school districts’ administrative services, recommend the elimination of unnecessary State education mandates, eliminate non-operating schools, recommend a school district consolidation plan , promote coordination and regionalization of pupil transportation services, promote cooperative purchasing, maintain a database of special education programs and a list of all special education students served out of district, etc.

The Department of Education shall not regulate the maximum salary amount a board may provide to a superintendent.  The review and approval of the contract shall be consistent with standards such as comparability of salary and benefits, non-excessive separation clause, contractual provisions regarding sick leave, vacation leave and travel.

 Suggested Action Items

·         Review detailed contract restrictions if your superintendent opts to re-open their contract.

·         Abide by  public hearing notice for re-opened contracts. 30 days prior to scheduled board action and 10 day notice of the public hearing to the public.

Effective Date: July 19, 2019

Useful Links

N.J.S.A. 18A:11-11

 

P.L. 2019, c. 184 commonly known as Reenrollment of Certain Retired TPAF members

P.L. 2019, c. 184 states that the cancellation, reenrollment and additional retirement allowance provisions of a former member of the retirement system who has been granted a retirement allowance for any cause other than disability who becomes employed again and is a certificated superintendent or a certificated administrator does not apply and may have their contract extended beyond two years upon approval by the Commissioner of Education as being in the best interest of the school district.

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.

 Suggested Action Items

·         Monitor specifics when employing retirees.

Effective Date: July 19, 2019

Useful Links

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/PL19/184_.PDF

 

 

 

 

 

 


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