The rules for working after retirement have changed recently, sparking some confusion about when retired members can return to work in the public sector in New Jersey. School nurses may now return to work full time for up to a two-year period while collecting a pension. Teachers and other professionals providing special services can return to work full time during the 2022-23 school year while still collecting a pension as long as the district has established a critical need with the commissioner of education.
It is important to keep in mind that anyone who returns to work in the public sector must have a bona fide severance of employment and make no prearrangement to return to work until the required period of separation has been met. The mandatory separation period is as described below.
Returning to employer from which you retired
Ten-month employees who retire in July or August must wait 180 calendar days after Sept. 1 of the new school year. For example, if you just retired July 1, 2022 and you want to work in any capacity in your former district, the earliest you can return is March of 2023. If you retire in July or August, neither of those months count toward the 180-day separation.
12-month employees AND 10-month employees who retire in any month other than July or August must wait 180 calendar days after the retirement date. For example, if you retired May 1, 2022 and you want to work in any capacity in your former district, the earliest you can return is November of 2022. If you are a 10-month employee and you do not retire in July or August, the months of July and August count toward the 180-day separation.
If seeking employment at any other public entity in New Jersey:
• Ten-month employees who retire in July or August must wait 30 calendar days after Sept. 1 of the new school year.
• Twelve-month employees AND 10-month employees who retire any month other than July or August must wait 30 calendar days after their first pension check is due and payable—typically 30 days after your retirement date, so long as you didn’t make any last-minute changes to your retirement selection.
Working for a subcontractor in a public school
Working for an agency such as Source for Teachers is considered public employment because you are working in a public school. Also, working for a company that the school district subcontracts with for things such as transportation, food services or security is also considered public employment, even though you are paid by a private company.
Working as a “dual member”
Anyone who is a dual member, for example, someone who has a full-time teaching position and teaches part time at a community college, can retire from the teaching position and continue to work part time at the community college so long as you halt contributions to the defined contribution retirement plan at the college (ABP or DCRP) and do not withdraw any monies from your defined contribution account.
More information available
Please make sure that you are not putting your hard-earned pension in jeopardy. More detailed information on working after retirement can be found on the Division of Pensions’ fact sheet. If you need more information, please contact the New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits at 609-292-7524 or state.nj.us/treasury/pensions.