Frequently Asked Questions Regarding
2007-2011 Full Time/Part Time Unit Agreement
For additional information regarding health benefits click here: Health Benefits & Negotiations
New Annual & Bi-weekly Draft Salary Guides
What’s the net wage increase in this Contract?
If you are on Step 12 and you participate in the Alternate Benefit Pension Program, the net wage increase will be 11.94% AFTER paying the 1.5% health deduction. If you are on lower Steps the net increase will range from 33% to 15% .
If you are on Step 12 and one of the few remaining college/university employees participating in the PERS or TPAF pension system, the net wage increase will be 11.37%. Those in lower Steps will range anywhere from 32% to 14% AFTER paying the 1.5%.
Over 71% of our unit will receive additional steps during the life of this contract and will net more than 15%.
Also remember that the 1.5% health benefit deduction is tax deductible. That means that in net money, the money you get in your check, the cost of healthcare will be about 1%.
When will the salary increases take effect?
Upon ratification of the tentative Agreement, salary increases will be retroactive to July 1, 2007 for all 12-month employees and to September 1, 2007 for all 10-month employees. In addition, all salary increases related to range adjustments and promotions that are effective September 1st, will be included in that retroactive date.
The 1.5% Health Plan deduction will also be retroactive to July 1, 2007.
But we didn’t get everything we want and now we have to pay something.
Yes, that’s correct. However, negotiating entails compromises. We negotiated a very good contract in terms of wage increases, made only modest concessions and protected our excellent health benefits & pensions for the future. Given the State’s continuing budget problems, we think we bargained a fair and responsible Agreement.
I was granted a half-year sabbatical leave in the spring of 2007 to take effect in the fall of 2007. Because it was granted in the spring, will I still only get three quarters of my salary?
No. You will receive full salary because the new rate takes effect this fall. Additionally, full-year sabbatical leaves will now be at the rate of three quarters salary.
I’ve heard that my College can make me report to teach before September. Is this true?
No, that’s not true. There is a new Side Letter of Agreement called “Alternative Period for Faculty Workload” that allows an institution to change the regular September 1st to June 30th academic year to an alternative period. However, it must negotiate the procedures for doing so with your local union and faculty participation is solely on a voluntary basis.
I am a Professional Staff member and want to utilize the new Flex time provision in the agreement. Can I set my schedule to what I want it to be?
You must get approval from your appropriate campus vice-president or their designee prior to making any adjustments in your standard length work day. You will still be required to put in a standard length work day even if the starting and ending hours may be different. Remember that Flex Time is not Comp time.
What's the story with this new health plan?
There will be a new health plan - a PPO that will begin in April 2008. This plan will have the same benefits as NJ Plus. That includes the same hospital, lab, tests, surgery, deductibles, in patient, out patient, mental health, chiropractic, nursing home benefits, etc. Exactly the same as what we have now.
So what's the difference between this plan and NJ PLUS?
1) There will be a broader network in New Jersey and a network in every other state in the country. There will be in network doctors, including specialists, and in network hospitals, labs, and clinics in every state in the country. Out of network will be unrestricted. You can go anywhere you want, to any doctor out of network and the State will pay 70% of the cost after the deductible ($250).
2) You will not have to go to a primary care physician to get a referral. You can go to any doctor in the network by making a direct appointment.
3) There will be a $15 co-pay instead of a $10 co-pay. If you go to the Emergency Room, the co-pay will be $50 instead of $25 unless you are admitted, in which case there will be no co-pay.
My spouse & I are both State workers covered under the State’s health plan. I earn $75,000 and my spouse earns $48,000. Do we both have to have 1.5% deducted from our pay for health benefits?
The spouse earning $48,000 can be the person of record claiming state health benefits for you and your family and 1.5% will be deducted from that base salary. You can certify that you have coverage through your spouse and will not have to pay 1.5% of your salary.
But I don’t need healthcare. My spouse has it elsewhere and I am covered.
If you certify that you have healthcare elsewhere, you can waive your State coverage and not pay the 1.5%.
I teach overload & summer session. Will the 1.5% health deduction also come out of that pay?
No. The 1.5% is deducted only from an employee's base salary.
Why can’t we wait to vote to ratify until after we find out which health care provider the State chooses to replace NJ PLUS and the Traditional Plan?
Public employee unions cannot negotiate over which health care provider and network the State chooses to replace NJPLUS and the Traditional Plan; what is negotiable are the elements of the plan, i.e., making sure the level of coverage remains the same or even improves – as is the case with no longer needing a referral to see a specialist. The State can change to
another plan administrator as has been the case in the past.
What about the health care concessions? What about family coverage and the HMOs?
Everyone pays 1.5% for healthcare no matter what coverage they have. That 1.5% is paid before your pay is taxed. That means that in net money---the money you see in your pay check---the cost of healthcare will be about 1%. If you choose to remain in an HMO, you can and you will still pay 1.5% of pay, even if currently the HMO costs you more. If you have a family, you aren’t penalized for that and you pay 1.5% of your salary. And we have negotiated a better health plan than the one we had because a PPO that requires no referral from a primary care physician is a better plan.
Remember, we are getting additional % wages to pay for additional % cost of healthcare. Everyone gets the increase in the %, everyone pays a % toward the healthcare. It couldn’t be more fair.
I am in the Traditional Plan. How will the elimination of the Traditional plan impact me?
You will most likely pay less than you are now – especially if your caregivers are in network. If you have to go out of network, you will pay 30% instead of the 20% that you pay currently under the Traditional Plan. There is a maximum out-of pocket expense that, when reached, will provide 100% coverage for out-of network coverage.
All of the benefits of the current NJ PLUS plan will remain in the new PPO with the addition that no referrals will be required (sometimes referred to as a "gate keeper") to see a specialist and that the new PPO is intended to have a nationwide service/provider area.
There is a comparison spreadsheet of the Traditional Plan vs. the new PPO and NJ PLUS. You can review the comparison charts by clicking here: Health Benefit Comparison
For additional information regarding health benefits click here: Health Benefits & Negotiations
I've got an HMO. Can I keep my HMO?
Yes. You can stay in an HMO that is one of those offered by the State, and you will pay 1.5% of your salary. You will not pay the 5% of the premium.
Will I have to change doctors?
No. We anticipate that with the new PPO and its nationwide service area, the broad range of network doctors should include current doctors. If your current doctor is not in the network, you can keep your physician by going out-of network. We also believe that the new PPO will provide greater flexibility in choosing a new doctor, if you feel that you must.
Under the new health care plan, can I waive my medical coverage and still keep my dental coverage?
What are the changes to the prescription drug co-pays?
Prescription drugs co-pays will be as follows:
Brand names where there is no generic equivalent and brand names where the employee's doctor certifies that the employee is medically unable to take the generic version of the medication — $10
Brand names where there is a generic equivalent, unless the employee meets the standard set forth above — $25
90 days Mail Order
Brand names where there is no generic and brand names where the employee's doctor certifies that the employee is medically unable to take the generic version of the medication — $15
Brand names where there is a generic equivalent, unless the employee meets the standard set forth above — $40
What will I pay for my health care after I retire?
Members who have accrued 25 years of service after July 1, 2007 and who retire on or after July 1, 2007 who are in PERS will contribute 1.5% of their annual pension benefit for their State health benefits.
Members who have accrued 25 years of service after July 1, 2007 and who are in the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) e.g. TIAA-CREF, who retire on or after July 1, 2007, will pay 1.5% of fifty percent of their highest annual salary for their State health benefits.
In both instances, the State has agreed to waive the 1.5% contribution if the retiree participates in a Retiree Wellness Program, which it plans to implement in 2008.
Members who have accrued 25 years of service prior to July 1, 2007 will not be affected by any changes in the new agreement. They can retire pursuant to the paragraphs A. through C. in Letter of Agreement IV pertaining to this group of employees. (Letter of Agreement IV is on page 126 of the 2003-2007 Agreement.) This language will also be in the new agreement.
What about the cap on the pension plan at $97,000 and raising the normal retirement age to 60? Am I affected?
No. The cap applies to only the very few of our bargaining unit members who remain in PERS and TPAF pension plans. Raising the normal retirement age to 60 applies only to newly hired employees.