News & Press: Legislative Update

January 2020 Legislative Summary

Thursday, January 23, 2020  
Posted by: Lisa Dekovitch

Summary of Selected Recently Enacted Legislation

Please note due to the recent enactment of these laws the summaries are in some cases based on the bills as they were originally introduced since the final laws were not yet posted.  Please refer to the final versions &/or your board attorney/solicitor before taking any actions.

P.L. 2019, c. 292 commonly known as emergency action plans for responding to serious or potentially life-threatening sports-related injuries.

This law requires that a school district and a nonpublic school that includes any of the grades six through 12 establish and implement an emergency action plan for responding to a serious or potentially life-threatening sports-related injury.  The plan will document the proper procedures to be followed when a student sustains a serious injury while participating in sports or other athletic activity.  The plan will be specific to the activity site and is required to be developed in consultation with local emergency medical services personnel.

The law requires that the emergency action plan be reviewed annually and updated as necessary.  In addition, the plan must be rehearsed annually in each school by the individuals who will be responsible for executing the plan in an emergency.

Effective:  This act shall take effect immediately and shall first apply to the first full school year following the date of enactment.

 

P.L. 2019, c.293 commonly known as Interscholastic Heat Participation Policy

This law requires each school district which is a member of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association to adopt the association’s “Heat Participation Policy” for conducting practice or games in all sports during times of high heat or humidity.  Under the law, the association’s policy must address the scheduling of practice or games during times of various heat and humidity levels; the ratio of time devoted to workouts to time allotted for rest and hydration during various heat and humidity levels; and the heat and humidity levels at which practice or games will be canceled.

The law also requires these school districts to purchase a WetBulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) tool to measure the heat stress in direct sunlight at the practice or game site.

Effective :  This act shall take effect in the first full school year following enactment.

 

P.L. 2019, c. 307 commonly known as Promoting School Meal Programs

This law requires the Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Department of Education, to develop promotional material for the “School Meal Program” and provide every school district with the “School Meal Program” promotional material, which is required to include, but need not be limited to, pamphlets, presentation material, webinars, and sample letters schools may send to parents. 

Effective: This act shall take effect immediately.

 

P.L. 2019, c. 373 commonly known as Misclassification of Employees

This law provides for the assessment of penalties for violations of State wage, benefit and tax laws in connection with the misclassification of employees.

The law authorizes the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, in the case of a violation of a State wage, benefit and tax law in connection with failing to properly classify employees, to impose the following penalties in addition to any other remedies or penalties authorized by law: authorized to assess and collect:

     1.    An administrative “misclassification penalty” up to a maximum of $250 per misclassified employee for a first violation and up to a maximum of $1,000 per misclassified employee for each subsequent violation; and

     2.    A penalty to be provided for the misclassified worker of not more than 5 percent of the worker’s gross earnings over the past twelve months from the employer who failed to properly classify them.  The employer may be required to make these penalty payments to the commissioner to be held in a special account in trust for the worker, or paid on order of the commissioner directly to the worker.

 

 Effective:  This act shall take effect immediately. 

 

P.L. 2019, c. 375 commonly known as Misclassification of Employee- Post Notice

This law requires employers to post a notice for their employees regarding employee misclassification.  Specifically, under the law, an employer is required to conspicuously post notification, in a place or places accessible to all employees in each of the employer’s workplaces, in a form issued by the commissioner, explaining:

     1.    The prohibition against employers misclassifying employees;

     2.    The standard that is applied by the department to determine whether one is an employee or an independent contractor;

     3.    The benefits and protections to which an employee is entitled under State wage, benefit and tax laws;

     4.    The remedies under New Jersey law to which workers affected by misclassification may be entitled; and

     5.    Information on how a worker or a worker’s authorized representative may contact, by telephone, mail and e-mail, a representative of the commissioner to provide information to, or file a complaint with, the representative regarding possible worker misclassification.

The law prohibits an employer from discharging or in any other manner discriminating against an employee because the employee has made an inquiry or complaint to his employer, to the commissioner or to his authorized representative regarding possible worker misclassification, or because the employee has caused to be instituted or is about to cause to be instituted any proceeding regarding worker misclassification under State wage, benefit and tax laws, or because the employee has testified in the proceeding.

 Under the law, an employer who violates any of those provisions will be guilty of a disorderly persons offense and will, upon conviction, be subject to a fine.  An employer will also be required to offer reinstatement in employment to a discharged employee and to correct any discriminatory action, and to pay the employee all reasonable legal costs of the action, all wages and benefits lost as a result of the discharge or discriminatory action, plus punitive damages equal to two times the lost wages and benefits, under penalty of contempt proceedings for failure to comply with the requirement.

Effective:  This act shall take effect on the first day of the third month next following enactment, except that the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development may take any anticipatory action in advance as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.

 

P.L. 2019, c. 399 commonly known as Disclosure of Wage Information

This law requires all employers, public and private, to provide each employee with a statement of earnings which shall include information regarding the employee’s wage calculation.

Current law requires private employers to furnish each employee with a statement of all deductions made from the employee’s wages for each pay period in which deductions were made.  This law expands that obligation by requiring that all employers, public and private, provide employees with a statement of earnings for each pay period to include, in addition to any deductions made, the following information:

·        the employee’s gross earnings;

·        the employee’s net earnings;

·        the employee’s rate of pay; and

·        the number of hours worked by the employee during the pay period, if relevant to the employee’s wage calculation.

 By requiring the disclosure of this information, employees will have the ability to determine whether their wages are being properly calculated. 

Effective:  This act shall take effect on the 120th day next following enactment.

 

P.L. 2019, c. 401 commonly known as Teacher Loan Redemption & Tuition Reimbursement Program

Establishes loan redemption program and tuition reimbursement program for certain teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Effective: The authority, in consultation with the Department of Education, shall adopt pursuant to the provisions of the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), rules and regulations necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act. This act shall take effect immediately.

 

P.L. 2019, c.445 commonly known as Reduced Price Reimbursement

Notwithstanding any other law, or rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto to the contrary, no public school student eligible for a reduced price breakfast under a School Breakfast Program established pursuant to P.L.2003, c.4 (C.18A:33-9 et seq.), or a reduced price lunch pursuant to P.L.1974, c.53 (C.18A:33-4 et seq.), shall be required to pay for any reduced price breakfast or reduced price lunch.

The State shall pay the difference between the federal allocation for reduced price breakfasts and reduced price lunches and the total cost of the reduced price breakfasts and reduced price lunches served by public schools to eligible students.

Effective:  This act shall take effect on the 180th day following the date of enactment, except the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education may take any advance administrative action as may be necessary for the implementation of this act. .  The Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Education, shall adopt rules and regulations pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), establishing the schedule for, and the manner in which, reimbursements shall be made to school districts.

 

P.L. 2019, c. 478 commonly known as Security Audit

Requires school districts and nonpublic schools to conduct an audit of security features of buildings, grounds, and communication systems and to submit audit to NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and DOE.

Effective: This act shall take effect immediately and shall first be applicable to the first full school year beginning after the date of enactment.

 

P.L. 2019, c. 494 commonly known as On-line Education Services

 This law prohibits an operator of an online education service (service) offering education for grades kindergarten through 12 from knowingly:

     1)    using information, including educational records, created or gathered by the operator, to amass a profile about a student for any purpose other than the furtherance of kindergarten through 12 grade education;

     2)    selling an educational record to any person unless in the course of the purchase, merger or other type of acquisition of an online education service by another entity, provided that the online education service continues to be subject to the provisions of the law with respect to previously acquired student educational records; and

     3)    disclosing an educational record collected or maintained by the service only under certain circumstances. 

Effective: This act shall take effect immediately, but shall remain inoperative for 180 days following the date of enactment.

 This summary is intended as an introductory guide for School Business Administrators.  Please read the complete law for further information and consult your Board Attorney for specific guidance.


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