Commission Reaffirms its Ruling Over When Employee Health Care Contributions Become Negotiable

Ridgefield Park Board of Education and Ridgefield Park Education Association

In P.E.R.C. No. 2018-14, the Commission reaffirmed its decision in Clementon Bd. of Ed. and Clementon Ed. Ass’n, P.E.R.C. No. 2016-10, 42 NJPER 117 (¶34 2015), appeal dismissed as moot, 43 NJPER 125 (¶38 2016), and held that negotiations over health premium contributions cannot commence during the same collective negotiations agreement during which employees reach tier four contribution levels.  In Ridgefield Park, the parties negotiated that employees would contribute 1.5% of base salary.  The parties recognized that for the first year of the contract, Chapter 78 required employees to contribute at tier four rates.  After the Commission issued it Clementon decision, the Board notified employees that they would be returned to tier four rates for the balance of the four-year contract and that salaries would be frozen to recoup any underpayment.  The Commission restrained arbitration over the Association’s grievance except to the extent that the Association requested to negotiate over the timing and amount of recoupment.

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