New Jersey Tenure FAQs

What is tenure under New Jersey employment law?

Tenure is a status conferred by Title 18A of New Jersey statutes through which the New Jersey Legislature has conferred on certain public school employees an added layer of job protection.


How does tenure protect eligible New Jersey public school employees?

Under New Jersey’s tenure laws, a local board of education many not terminate or reduce the compensation of a public school employee who has earned tenure except for reasons of incapacity, inefficiency, conduct unbecoming a public employee, or other just cause.  The board may only take such action after it has given the tenured employee written notice of the charges and specifications, and then given her a hearing. Even if the board sustains the charges after the hearing, tenured employees have additional appeal rights.


Who is eligible for tenure under New Jersey employment law?

Several categories of education employees are eligible for tenure under New Jersey employment law.  The first category is “teaching staff members.” Most employees on the professional staff of a local board of education who are required to have a valid certificate are considered teaching staff members, including principals, assistant principals, teachers, nurses, athletic trainers and high school athletic directors.  The second category includes superintendents and administrative principals.  The Third category includes certain administrative employees such as secretaries, assistant secretaries, business managers and business administrators.  The fourth category is janitors and maintenance employees.  Public college faculty may acquire tenure though a different regulatory framework.


How do “teaching staff members” earn tenure?

Teaching staff members such as teachers and principals, etc., may earn tenure through one of three paths.  The first path is by being employed for four consecutive calendar years.  The second path is by being employed by the local board of education for a period of four consecutive academic years followed by employment at the commencement of the next consecutive academic year.  This path is often referred to as “four years and a day.”  The third path is to be employed by a local board of education for the equivalent of at least four academic years plus one extra day within a period of five consecutive academic years; since the law defines an academic year as forty months, the employee must be employed for at least forty months and one day within five consecutive academic years.  Local boards of education cannot change this statutory period for teaching staff members.


How do business managers, board secretaries and school business administrators obtain tenure?

Business managers, board secretaries and school business administrators obtain tenure by serving in that position for at least three consecutive calendar years.


How do secretaries and other clerical employees earn tenure?

Secretaries and other clerical employees earn tenure under New Jersey employment law by being employed for a period of three consecutive calendar years, or for “three years and a day,” ie., three consecutive academic years plus employment at the beginning of the next academic year.  Unlike the tenure period for teaching staff members, this period may be shortened by the local board of education.


How do janitors and maintenance employees earn tenure?

Janitorial and other maintenance employees may earn tenure through three different paths.  Under the first path, they earn tenure immediately when they start their employment if their employment contract does not list a specific term of employment.  Under the second path, they will have job protection only for the period listed in their employment contract.  However, in a third path, they may earn tenure through a sort of a hybrid middle ground, where their union contracts provide for them to be employed for the initial term specified in their initial employment contracts, and then receive tenure after a specific period of time.


How do administrative principals and district superintendents obtain tenure under New Jersey employment law?

Administrative principals and district superintendents receive tenure during the terms of their individual employment contracts.  Title 18A provides that the terms of these contracts are three to five years.  Superintendents and administrative principals are considered by the law to be reappointed if they have not received written notice from their board of education that their contract will not be renewed or if they come to be reemployed under a new contract for a different time period.


Do you represent education employees in tenure disputes?

Yes, we do.  McLaughlin & Nardi, LLC’s employment attorneys represent employees in all areas of New Jersey employment law.  This includes representing New Jersey teachers and other public education employees in tenure hearings and appeals.  Fill out the contact form on this page or call us at (973) 890-0004 to schedule a time to meet with one of our New Jersey employment lawyers.  We can help.

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