The second paragraph of the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program handbook on eligibility reads:
Any newly appointed or elected officer will be required to work a minimum of 35 hours per week to be considered “full-time” and eligible for coverage under the SHBP/SEHBP.
Question 22 of the Best Practices Inventory Question Worksheet reads:
Another aspect of pension reform involves stricter requirements for eligibility within the State Health Benefits Program and the School Employees Health Benefits Program for full time appointed or elected individuals and part-time employees.
Full time appointed or elected officials must be considered employees in order to be eligible for health coverage under the State Health Benefits Program and School Employees Health Benefits Program, beginning on May 21, 2010. The term “employee” is defined within the Chapter as “a full-time appointive or elective officer whose hours of work are fixed at 35 or more per week, a full-time employee of the State, or a full-time employee of an employer other than the State who appears on a regular payroll and receives a salary or wages for an average of the number of hours per week as prescribed by the governing body of the participating employer which number of hours worked shall be considered full-time, determined by resolution, and not less than 25.”
Any official elected or appointed after the May 21, 2010 date would not need to meet the requirements stated by the definition above provided they remain in their elected or appointed position continuously after May 21, 2010. Elected officials covered by the State Health Benefits Program are subject to the 1.5% contribution though it is expected that the State Health Benefits Commission is going to provide guidance on the definition of “full-time” as it relates to elected officials and their ability to meet the 35-hour requirement. Chapter 2 also requires that part-time employees work not less than 25 hours per week, an increase from the existing requirement of 20 hours per week.
Fairly clear but politicians being politicians work under their own set of laws as interpreted by paid-for legal opinions. Kearny tried to get their elected officials designated as full-time and in Scotch Plains we have: