On August 17 Governor Murphy signed into law A-1627/S-1873, which protects the pension rights of former employees who continue to serve their communities as volunteer first responders. The new law provides that PERS and PFRS retirees can continue to provide volunteer firefighter or emergency services after retirement while collecting pensions based on their prior paid service. The law clarifies the definition of ‘bona fide severance’ in order to comply with State and federal law. The law permits a public employee who also volunteers as a firefighter or first aid worker, rescue squad worker, or emergency medical technician in the municipality to continue to serve as a volunteer after retirement. If the retired public employee job duties were similar, there must be a break of service of at least 30 days after retirement. The new law still does not permit a paid firefighter employed by a part-paid fire department to serve as a volunteer with the department from which they retired.
The League strongly supported this legislation which stems from a League Conference resolution in 2014 as a result of the Division of Pension and Benefits guidance on post-retirement employment restrictions for public employees. We thank the sponsors Senators Sarlo and Kean, Assemblywoman Schepisi, and Assemblymen Bucco, Auth, Danielson, and DiMaio for their efforts in advancing this legislative fix to permit volunteers to continue to serve their communities.
P.L. 2018, c. 96 took effect on August 17, 2018.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481 x112.