2020-2021 Employment Practices
Risk Control Program
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 the completed form to MEL Fund Office, 9 Campus Drive, Suite 216, Parsippany, New Jersey 07054.
Members that did not qualify for the 2019-2020 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, 2021 (extended from June 1, 2021) 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 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.
Public Official’s Training Credit
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. Click here for details.
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 5% of the member’s MEL premium portion of their assessment. An updated schedule will be posted here as additional sessions are scheduled.
Required Elements for the Incentive
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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. Click here to view all manuals.
- 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.
- 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. Click here to view all handbooks.
- Volunteer Handbook | The MEL has drafted an abbreviated optional model handbook for members to use for volunteers. Click here to view.
- Model Local Unit Civil Rights Resolution (municipalities only) | Adopt the model resolution.
- 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 over the next 12 months. Your JIF will contact you with the details. This requirement can also be met by attending the instructor-led webinar, “Protecting Children from Abuse: Managers & Supervisors.” Click here for more information and the program schedule.
- 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.
- 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. Click on links below to access this program online.
- MEL EPL Helpline | A new MEL EPL Helpline was put into place in 2019. Click here for the notice and here to download the contact information flyer.
Background Checks Vendors
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:
- CastleBranch, Wilmington, NC – Response Document
- Adam Safeguard & Inquiry Systems Inc., Toms River, NJ – Response Document
- Southern Background Services, LLC – Hazlehurst, GA – Response Document
- Tabb Inc., Chester, NJ – Response Document 1, Response Document 2
- TruView BSI, LLC, Hicksville, NY – Response Document