NJSA 2B:11-1 Judicial Employees Unification Act
2B:11-1. Short title
1. Sections 1 through 12 of this act shall be known and may be cited as "The Judicial Employees Unification Act."
2B:11-2. Findings, declarations
2. The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. As a result of voter approval in November of 1992 of a constitutional amendment and pursuant to the provisions of the "State Judicial Unification Act," P.L.1993, c.275 (C.2B:10-1 et seq.), the State is to assume certain costs of the judicial system;
b. The most important resource of the judicial system is its personnel;
c. State assumption of the costs of the judicial system offers the opportunity to bring judicial employees, whose positions were previously funded by the 21 counties, into a truly unified judiciary;
d. Both the representatives of the judiciary and the majority representative of the employees of the judiciary have freely and voluntarily entered into a letter of agreement, not part of this act, concerning certain aspects, as described therein, of the employer-employee relations process in the judiciary, which letter is enforceable in accordance with its terms;
e. It is, therefore, altogether fitting and proper to ensure fair treatment of county judicial employees upon their transfer to State service and in the process effectuate a unified judiciary so that its more than 7,800 trial court employees, together with the 1,500 State-level judicial employees, will provide greater effectiveness in the trial court operations, greater accountability in the courts and greater flexibility in meeting the demands placed on the States judiciary.
3. As used in this act,
a. "Transferred employee" means any person employed by a county on December 31, 1994 who becomes an employee of the State pursuant to the provisions of the "State Judicial Unification Act," P.L.1993, c.275 (C.2B:10-1 et seq.).
b. "State judicial employee" means any person, including but not limited to transferred employees, employed by the State on or after January 1, 1995, to provide any services and direct support necessary for the effective operation of the judicial system, including but not limited to employees working for the courts and the law library, employees who act as court aides and those involved in bail processing and probation, and excluding justices and judges as defined in N.J.S.2B:2-4.
c. "Department" means the Department of Personnel.
d. "Medicare" means the coverage provided under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act as amended in 1965 or its successor plan or plans.
2B:11-4. Elections for majority representatives
4. Elections to establish majority representatives in new Statewide collective negotiations units will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of P.L.1941, c.100 (C.34:13A-1 et seq.) with such elections to be conducted by the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC). As soon after the enactment of this act as is practicable, there shall be a 30-day open period during which representation petitions may be filed to determine statewide negotiations units and majority representatives of judicial employees. PERC shall conduct elections as soon thereafter as is practicable. Judges secretaries, law clerks and Central Appellate Research staff shall not be eligible for representation by employee organizations under provisions of the New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act, P.L.1941, c.100 (C.34:13A-1 et seq.) nor shall those employees who are confidential employees or managerial executives under that act. Notwithstanding any representation proceedings which occur pursuant to this section, the judiciary shall continue to negotiate in good faith in county-based negotiations units where collective negotiations agreements for 1994 have not been executed.
2B:11-5. State service applicable; tranferred employees; personnel procedures
5. a. Subject to the judiciarys rights to create new unclassified positions and make unclassified appointments under court rule, and with the exception of employees of the Administrative Office of the Courts under N.J.S.2A:12-2, and certain positions in the centralized Clerks Offices under subsection b. of N.J.S.2B:13-1 or N.J.S.2B:13-13, the judiciarys personnel practices shall be governed by the State Government Services provisions of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes and the rules promulgated thereunder. Transferred employees holding provisional, permanent or probationary civil service status at the time of transferring to State service shall retain such status and attendant rights as are available in those categories under State career service. Transferred employees who were in a provisional title under the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.11A:4-13 prior to transferring to State service, shall not be subject to displacement by persons on preexisting State eligibility lists, including special reemployment, regular employment and open competitive lists, for the title held by the provisional employees. Employees in the unclassified service, pursuant to N.J.S.11A:3-5, N.J.S.2B:5-2 or Rule 1:33 of the Rules Governing the Courts of New Jersey, shall retain such status and attendant rights.
b. No later than December 1, 1994, each county shall submit to the judiciary lists identifying all transferred employees for review by the judiciary and majority representatives of judicial employees. The judiciary shall, within five working days of receipt, provide a copy to the department and the majority representatives of judicial employees. Such lists shall show each transferred employees current title, civil service status and date of appointment to that title, and the employees permanent title and date of appointment if the employee is currently holding a provisional appointment and the employee is permanent in another title. Within 120 days from the date of submission of such lists by the judiciary to the department, the department shall announce tests for generating promotional and open competitive lists for judicial positions where provisional appointments have been made or where there is a need for promotional or open competitive tests by request of the appointing authority.
c. Any civil service promotional list affecting transferred employees or employees to be transferred which expires between the date of the enactment of this act and June 30, 1995 shall be extended provided that the life of the list does not have a duration of more than 54 months, except where a newer civil service promotional list is in existence. If the list is a county-based list, the list shall be used only in that particular county. Existing county special or regular reemployment lists will be used when applicable.
d. In the event the judiciary or the department conducts a system-wide classification study and a result thereof is that an existing title is abolished and replaced with another title, employees who were permanent in the abolished title shall be made permanent in the replacement title. Such permanency shall be made effective retroactive to the date of permanency in the abolished title provided the duties, responsibilities and qualifications are substantially comparable to or less than those of the employees previous title. In the event the duties, responsibilities and qualifications are not substantially comparable to or less than those of the previous title, the employee shall be made permanent in the replacement title as of the date of the reclassification.
e. Notwithstanding the provisions of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes and the rules promulgated thereunder, during the period which begins on January 1, 1995 and ends on June 30, 1998, the judiciary, in consultation with the department, shall establish a compensation plan for State judicial employees. Consultation with the department shall involve that departments representation at collective negotiations sessions and review of the possible impact on the executive branch of any compensation plan or pay schedule which the judiciary contemplates.
(1) During this period, the compensation plan, pay schedules, holidays and overtime shall not be preempted from the scope of negotiations for State judicial employees, provided however that the department shall continue to have the responsibility for the classification of positions for State judicial employees and for the administration of the compensation plan and pay schedules which are established for State judicial employees.
(2) On or before September 30, 1997, the commissioner of the department, after taking into consideration the previously negotiated compensation plan, shall prepare a proposed compensation plan for State judicial employees to become effective no later than July 1, 1998, which either adopts the compensation plan developed by the judiciary or proposes modifications in such plan, together with express written reasons therefor. If the judiciary or any of its collective negotiations representatives disagrees with all or any part of such proposed modifications, the disputed issues shall be submitted to a reviewer mutually selected by the commissioner, the Administrative Director of the Courts and a designee of the judiciarys majority representatives. The reviewer shall submit a report and recommendations to the Merit System Board, which shall render the final binding determination prior to June 30, 1998.
(3) Nothing contained in this subsection shall affect any rights of employees in any branch of State government other than the judicial branch, nor shall anything contained herein be construed to create a different scope of negotiations than that applied to executive branch employees, except for the provisions contained in subsection e. (1) which provide a broader scope of negotiations for a limited 42 month period.
f. On or before December 31, 1994, each county shall transfer to the assignment judge for that county the official personnel file of each transferred employee.
2B:11-6. Seniority, benefits, etc. tranferred
6. a. Transferred employees who become State judicial employees shall receive State credit for years of employment service retroactive to the date utilized by the county of employment as of December 31, 1994, to determine credit for employment service and computation of Supplemental Compensation on Retirement (SCOR).
b. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 7 and 8 of P.L.1981, c.417 (C.2A:17-56.13 and C.2A:17-56.14), beginning January 1, 1995, the State shall honor and accept all wage garnishment and child support orders entered against all transferred employees at the time of the transfer. Judgment creditors and county probation departments with wage garnishments and child support orders in place against transferred employees will not be required to re-serve the State with the appropriate order or notice to maintain the garnishment or child support order in place at the time of the transition. Each county shall be required 45 days before the transition to provide the State with the names of those transferred employees subject to garnishments, either under court order or by notice of the county probation department, and copies of each order or notice to enable the State to honor the garnishment or child support order. The State shall be required to withhold only 50% of the amount due under the wage garnishment or child support order in effect at the time of transfer for the first pay period under which the transferred employees are placed onto the State payroll. Furthermore, each county shall be solely responsible for complying fully with the terms of all wage garnishment and child support orders in effect up until and through December 31, 1994.
c. Accumulated vacation leave and sick leave for transferred employees shall be transferred and credited to their State leave accounts immediately upon their becoming State judicial employees, but no employee may bring to State service more vacation leave time than that amount normally allotted to that employee in that county in calendar year 1994. Compensatory time and personal or administrative leave as well as accumulated vacation leave in excess of time earned in calendar year 1994 in county-funded employment shall not be transferable to State service but shall remain a county obligation. The determination of how to satisfy this obligation, whether to be granted by the judiciary as paid time off during 1994 or paid to the employee by the county by December 31, 1994, consistent with their policies or contractual obligations, shall be made by the assignment judge. Transferred employees who become State judicial employees pursuant to this act shall not be considered new employees, and any legislation requiring State residency of new State employees or which limits any benefits of new State employees shall not apply to them.
2B:11-7. Transfer to the Public Employees Retirement System
7. a. Any transferred employee who is a member of a county pension fund or retirement system shall become a member of the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) on January 1, 1995, subject to the same conditions and entitled to the same rights and benefits applicable to other employees of the State. Any credit for public service which has been established in the county pension fund or retirement system for the transferred employee shall be credited to the transferred employee under PERS. The contribution rate of the member of PERS shall be determined in the manner set forth in section 25 of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-25), except that the number of years of service under the county pension fund or retirement system credited under PERS shall be deducted from the members age in determining the age upon which the contribution rate is based.
b. No later than May 1, 1995, the county pension fund or retirement system in which a transferred employee is a member shall remit to PERS the accumulated deductions of the transferred employee to the county pension fund or retirement system, and a pro rata part of the employer contributions to the fund or system constituting the employers obligation to the fund or system for the transferred employee. The actuary of PERS shall determine the liability for service under a county pension fund or retirement system credited under PERS under this act. If the sum of the accumulated transferred employee deductions and the pro rata part of the employer contributions are less than the liability determined by the actuary, the difference shall be paid by the county in the same manner and over the remaining time period for the accrued liability of PERS as provided in section 24 of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-24). The county and the county pension fund or retirement system shall provide the Division of Pensions and Benefits any information it may require to administer this act.
2B:11-8. Temporary disablity, unemployment insurance benefits
8. Immediately upon becoming State judicial employees, all transferred employees shall become eligible for New Jersey Temporary Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance benefits consistent with the regulations of those programs. Employment service with the county shall be credited toward any waiting periods for coverage or eligibility for benefits under New Jersey Temporary Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance.
2B:11-9. Health, medical benefits
9. a. Immediately upon becoming a State judicial employee, all transferred employees shall receive all the health and medical benefits, including dental and prescription drug plans, on the same basis as other State judicial employees. Employment service with the county shall be credited toward any waiting periods for coverage or eligibility for benefits under the State program and plans for transferred employees who elect coverage at the time they become State judicial employees.
b. All health and medical benefits otherwise provided for in either county-negotiated collective negotiations agreements or in accordance with county past practice or individual county policies or both shall be pre-empted for transferred employees effective January 1, 1995.
2B:11-10. Reimbursement for premium charges for Part A of Medicare
10. Any transferred employee who:
a. was a member of a county pension fund or retirement system on December 31, 1994;
b. retires from employment as a State judicial employee;
c. is eligible for and receives State payment of the premium or periodic charges for health care benefits after retirement; and
d. pays the premium charges under Part A and Part B of the federal Medicare program covering the retirant and the retirants spouse,
hall be reimbursed by the State for the premium charges under Part A.
2B:11-11. Health care benefits upon retirement, eligibility
11. A transferred employee shall be eligible for health care benefits after retirement on the same basis as other State judicial employees under the "New Jersey State Health Benefits Program Act," P.L.1961, c.49 (C.52:14-17.25 et seq.). In addition, notwithstanding the provisions of section 8 of P.L.1961, c.49 (C.52:14-17.32), the State shall pay the premium or periodic charges for health care benefits after retirement for a transferred employee and the transferred employees dependents covered under the State health benefits program, but not including survivors, if the transferred employee has at least 10 years of service credited in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) or a county pension fund or retirement system as of December 31, 1994, retires from employment as a State judicial employee, and is at least 62 years of age at the time of retirement, as follows:
a. for a transferred employee formerly employed by a county of the fifth class having a population of not less than 220,000 but not more than 230,000 according to the 1990 federal census, who has at least 15 years of service with the county alone or in combination with service as a State judicial employee credited in PERS, for three years.
b. for a transferred employee formerly employed by a county of the second class having a population of not less than 390,000 but not more than 400,000 according to the 1990 federal census, who has at least 15 years of service with the county alone or in combination with service as a State judicial employee credited in PERS, for 90 days.
c. for a transferred employee formerly employed by a county of the second class having a population of not less than 500,000 but not more than 510,000 according to the 1990 federal census, who has at least 15 years of service with the county alone or in combination with service as a State judicial employee credited in PERS.
d. for a transferred employee formerly employed by a county of the third class having a population of not less than 135,000 but not more than 145,000 according to the 1990 federal census, who is a veteran as defined in section 6 of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-6) and has at least 20 years of service with the county alone or in combination with service as a State judicial employee credited in PERS.
e. for a transferred employee formerly employed by a county of the second class having a population of not less than 420,000 but not more than 430,000 according to the 1990 federal census, who has at least 15 years of service with the county alone or in combination with service as a State judicial employee credited in PERS, and shall reimburse the employee for premium charges under Part B of the federal Medicare program covering the retired employee and the employees spouse.
f. for a transferred employee formerly employed by a county of the third class having a population of not less than 60,000 but not more than 70,000 according to the 1990 federal census, who has at least 15 years of service with the county alone or in combination with service as a State judicial employee credited in PERS, and shall reimburse the employee for premium charges under Part B of the federal Medicare program covering the retired employee and the employees spouse.
g. for a transferred employee formerly employed by a county of the third class having a population of not less than 90,000 but not more than 100,000 according to the 1990 federal census, who has at least 20 years of service with the county alone or in combination with service as a State judicial employee credited in PERS.
2B:11-12. Right to review, void certain adjustments
12. For the purposes of application of all provisions of this act, the judiciary shall review and may void as against public policy any extraordinary adjustments made during 1994 in employee salary, other compensation or benefits or computation of years of credit of employment services, except that this shall not apply to any collectively negotiated agreement.
Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the