Program Overview

95% of MEL members have adopted the MEL’s model employment practices risk control program and are eligible for lower deductibles. These programs must be updated every two years to remain eligible.

Members with updated loss control programs receive the standard EPL deductible of $20,000 per claim plus a 20% co-pay capped at $50,000 and may be eligible to buy down deductibles and co-insurance caps. (See note below concerning members with adverse EPL claims experience).

To qualify for the lower deductibles, have your General Counsel or Employment Attorney complete this form checking the minimum requirements for updating the plan. It is not necessary to attach any further documentation. Mail completed form to MEL Fund Office, 9 Campus Drive, Suite 216, Parsippany, New Jersey 07054.

Members that did not qualify for the 2021-2023 incentive must adopt the EPL loss control plan and submit to the MEL for review. Have your General Counsel or Employment Attorney complete this form checking the minimum requirements for the plan. The following must be attached to this form: (1) the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual, (2) the resolution adopting this manual, and (3) the Employee Handbook. Mail the completed form and attachments to the MEL Fund Office, 9 Campus Drive, Suite 216, Parsippany, New Jersey 07054.

Members submitting the required form by November 1, 2023 will continue to or newly qualify for the deductible incentives. Members submitting this form after the deadline will become eligible for the deductible incentive upon approval of the application, but not retroactively.

Members without updated loss control programs will have a deductible of $100,000 per claim plus a 20% co-pay with no cap. (See note below concerning members with adverse EPL claims experience).

Members with adverse loss experience will have a deductible of $75,000 if they have an updated loss control plan and $150,000 if they do not – in addition to the co-pay provisions as outlined above. In a few cases, the insurance carrier will establish higher deductibles for members on probation because of an exceptionally adverse experience.

The MEL is continuing the public officials training throughout the state for elected public officials and authority commissioners. Sessions were conducted at the League Convention and the AEA Convention in Atlantic City. In addition, the course is available on-line through MSI’s Learning Management System (LMS).

The MEL will provide a credit for each member’s MEL assessment by $250 for each municipal elected official and authority commissioner who completes the course. The credit is also extended to the member’s CEO (i.e. municipal manager/administrator or authority executive director). The maximum credit is approximately 5% of the member’s MEL premium portion of their assessment. An updated schedule will be posted here as additional sessions are scheduled.

This course details ways to control workers’ compensation and liability insurance costs. Municipal elected officials, authority commissioners and a member’s CEO (i.e., municipal manager / administrator or executive director) who completes this course by the extended deadline of May 31, 2023, may qualify for a $250 credit (capped at approx. 5% of MEL assessment) in their local unit 2023 assessment.

1. To log into the MSI’s New Learning Management System for the first time, you will need to receive an activation email with code by contacting your agencies Training Administrator or Andrea Felip at the MSI office at 856-552-4740 or

2. Once you receive your activation code via email, follow the link and one-time instructions to activate your account. The activation process will give you a new username and allow you to create a password.

3. Once logged into the LMS, navigate to the ‘Request Training’ button on the upper right portion of your Home Screen.

4. Find and select the 2022-2023 Elected Officials Risk Management Seminar in the dropdown and click submit at the bottom of the screen.

5. The course will now show in the Assigned section in the center of your Home screen.

6. Click the title to launch the course.

7. For additional help if needed, this video will walk you through the steps to enroll in online learning. How to Register for Online Learning

The Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund prepared new Model Personnel Manual and Employee Handbook that is more than simply updating existing model. MEL contracted with Matt Giacobbe of Cleary, Giacobbe, Alfieri, Jacobs, LLC who did a complete review and revisions.

In 2020, the model documents were significantly updated. Since the model documents are notably different from prior models, Mr. Giacobbe and Mr. Fred Semrau (MEL Fund Attorney) have conducted two webinars to review the changes and answer questions. Both webinars were recorded. Click here to view the webinar presented on October 29, 2020. Click here to view the second webinar presented on March 12, 2021. These webinars address changes relevant to the majority of the MEL model personnel handbook (although not the changes presented this year).

  1. Employment Attorney/Advisor – An Employment Attorney or an Employment Advisor usually provides advice concerning personnel matters. However, the local unit may designate its General Counsel if experienced in employment matters.
  2. Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual – The MEL has prepared a completely revised the Model Personnel Policies and Procedure Manual, with a model for civil service members and one for non-civil service members, that members are free to use at their discretion. Members can adopt the model, take sections from the model and place them in their existing personnel manual, or write their own policies that cover the subjects in the model.
  3. Conscientious Employee Protection Act Notice – This notice (in both English and Spanish) must be posted on the bulletin board and distributed to all personnel. The notice required by the NJ Department of Labor is included in the Model Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual.
  4. Employee Handbook – The handbook must be updated and distributed to all personnel. The MEL has developed a Model Employee Handbook that is separate and distinct from the Personnel Manuals. Members are free to use at the civil service or non-civil service versions at their discretion.
  5. Volunteer Handbook – The MEL has drafted an abbreviated optional model handbook for members to use for volunteers.
  6. Model Local Unit Civil Rights Resolution (municipalities only) – Adopt the model resolution.
  7. Managerial and Supervisory Training – Court decisions made personnel training for managerial and supervisory “mandatory.” A signed acknowledgment that the manager or supervisor has completed training within the last 12 months must be placed in the personnel files. Training is also mandatory for the Municipal Judge, the heads of volunteer emergency service organizations such as Volunteer Fire Departments, EMS units, and the heads of organizations such as Library Boards and Planning Boards, etc., that are involved in personnel matters. The MEL has developed a Model that the local JIFs will conduct. This requirement can also be met by attending the instructor-led webinar, “Protecting Children from Abuse: Managers & Supervisors.” Click here for the MSI Live schedule.
  8. Police Chief, Captains and Lieutenants Training – Because Police Departments are involved in a high percentage of employment-related litigation, Police Chiefs and at least one other command officer must complete employment practices training that takes into consideration the Attorney General’s guidelines for police operations. Sessions are currently being scheduled and will be distributed and posted when complete. Visit the Law Enforcement page on the MSI website.
  9. Training for All Other Personnel – Court decisions also require employers to offer anti-harassment and related personnel training to all employees. The latest training for non-supervisory employees has been added to the MEL Safety Institute.
  10. MEL EPL Helpline – The Helpline was put into place in 2019. Click here for the contact information flyer.

Model Employment Practices Policies & Procedures Manual & Handbooks

Every two years, the MEL distributes a model personnel policies and procedures manual, employee handbook, as well as model resolutions and ordinances. Below are copies of the newly revised models updated to reflect suggestions from the members, statutory changes and court decisions.

Personnel Policies & Procedures

Employee Handbook

New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

(These exhibits have been updated for 2021/2022 as of June 30, 2020)

Each member local unit may adapt these models for their particular organization. Where the model uses the term “local unit type,” insert Township, Borough, Village, Authority, etc., as appropriate.

For most local units, the “CEO title” is the full-time Manager, Administrator or Executive Director and not an elected official except in a few municipalities such as Strong-Mayor Faulkner Act or Commissioner forms. Even many of these towns have a full-time professional CEO with the title of Manager or Administrator. In small local units, the CEO may be the Clerk.

The Personnel Administrator assists the CEO in the implementation of personnel practices. This is typically the Human Resources Director, the Clerk, the CFO or the CEO’s assistant. Insert the appropriate title in the model. In many relatively small local units, especially small authorities, the CEO also performs the personnel administration functions. In these cases, modify or delete references to the personnel administrator.

Advice concerning personnel matters is usually provided by an Employment Attorney or an Employment Advisor. However, the local unit may designate its General Counsel if experienced in employment matters. Where the model uses the term “Employment Attorney/Advisor title” insert the appropriate title.

These sample policies and procedures are not intended to be all-encompassing and are believed to conform to current law and practice at the time of printing. However, municipalities and authorities are cautioned to seek legal advice from a qualified employment attorney before adopting any employment policies and procedures.

The MEL wishes to thank the numerous members and professionals who contributed their time and talent to prepare these models. The MEL Model Personnel Committee and the Safety and Education Committee will continue their work to keep the models and training programs as up-to-date as possible. We encourage you to contact the MEL office if you wish to participate in this process.

Have questions about employment practices?

The MEL Safety Institute is pleased to announce the establishment of a New MEL Employment Practices Helpline (EPL), a dedicated resource to guide members on employment related issues.

The MEL EPL Helpline is staffed by attorneys that specialize in New Jersey employment law and understand the MEL JIF system.  The three law firms staffing the EPL Helpline are affiliated with local Joint Insurance Funds (JIFs).

Who can use the EPL Helpline?  MEL member municipalities will select and approve two individuals to use the helpline.

What hours is the EPL Helpline available?  The helpline will be staffed during normal business hours, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Voicemail can be left after hours for a callback.

What kinds of issues can be addressed?  Any employment-related topics or policies and procedures related to issues such as:

  • Hiring
  • Termination
  • Harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Promotion/Demotion
  • And more…

What are the MEL EPL Helpline numbers? MEL members can choose to call any of the MEL EPL Helpline firms listed below.

  • Helpline 732-583-7474:  Jodi Howlett, Cleary Giacobbe Alfieri Jacobs LLC, 955 State Route 34, Suite 200, Matawan, NJ 07747
  • Helpline 609-522-5599:  David S. DeWeese, The DeWeese Law Firm, 3200 Pacific AvenueWildwood, New Jersey 08260
  • Helpline 973-334-1900: Fred Semrau, Dorsey & Semrau, 714 Main Street, Boonton, NJ 07005

What happens after the call? The attorney will provide the member with a transcript of the call that includes recommendations. If the issue is beyond the scope of the MEL EPL Helpline the attorney will provide direction to the member on where to get appropriate assistance. All calls are confidential.

Click here to download the EPL Helpline Flyer.

Background Checks 
At the March meeting, the Board authorized the release of a Request for Qualifications to qualify vendors able to provide Background Checks. The MEL’s “Protecting Children From Abuse” model policy calls for increased background checks and members were looking for assistance in identifying vendors. We have received submissions from the following 5 vendors.

List of Responders:

1. CastleBranch, Wilmington, NC – Response Document

2. Adam Safeguard & Inquiry Systems Inc., Toms River, NJ – Response Document

3. Southern Background Services, LLC – Hazlehurst, GA – Response Document

4. Tabb Inc., Chester, NJ – Response Document 1, Response Document 2

5. TruView BSI, LLC, Hicksville, NY – Response Document


Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund
9 Campus Drive, Suite 216,
Parsippany, NJ 07054

Phone: 201.881.7632
Fax: 201.881.7633

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