NEW JERSEY – Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco to meet increased demand for some public services during the ongoing COVID pandemic is now law.
Governor Murphy Friday signed Bucco’s bill (A-3914/S-2376), which provides for the temporary employment of former public workers who retired from the Public Employees’ Retirement System, the Police and Fireman’s Retirement System or the State Police Retirement System during the Public Health Emergency or State of Emergency.
“Our state is facing pressing challenges due to coronavirus, and residents need assistance that is not available when public employees are stretched too thin,” Bucco (R-25) said. “By utilizing the expertise of recent retirees who are thoroughly trained, skilled, tested and ready to help, the state can meet the increased demand and New Jerseyans can receive the services they need.”
The new law will help fill voids in the ranks of law enforcement and firefighters, and also bolster the rosters dealing with backlogs and delays in processing unemployment claims and providing motor vehicle services.
It also temporarily lifts the usual 30-day waiting period for new hires becoming eligible for health benefits coverage, and removes the limit on the number of Class Two special law enforcement officers that may be employed during the crisis, allowing any candidate who completed the Alternate Route Training to be appointed as a Class Two special officer until the end of the emergency.
“The usual rules and regulations were not working to the public’s advantage, and this is a sensible approach to providing critical support services during the crisis,” Bucco said. “The pandemic is hurting people, and this measure gives the administration more resources to help in problem areas, including the overwhelmed unemployment and motor vehicle systems. Bolstering the workforce in these and other areas will help alleviate unnecessary stress and frustration that our residents cannot afford during these critical times.”
In addition, members of the State Police who reach the mandatory retirement age of 55 while in active service are not required to leave the job during the public emergency, and mandatory retirement ages are suspended for members of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System.