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3 N.J.A.R. 317

Teachers' Pension & Annuity Fund, Board of Trustees; Chaleff, William v
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Citation: 3 N.J.A.R. 317
Decision Date: 1981
Synopsis: William Chaleff contested the decision of the Board of Trustees of the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund denying his application to purchase for pension credit, a child-care or 'paternity' leave of absence, which had been approved by his employer. The Board de- nied the request based on its determination that there was no provi- sion in the applicable statute, N.J.S.A. 18A:66-8, for the purchase of such credit time. The administrative law judge found that soon after the birth of Chaleff's child, Chaleff took an employer-approved leave of absence. During the leave, which lasted from October of 1978 to September of 1979, Chaleff performed all the tasks normally involved in child care while his wife returned to work. Noting that pension statutes are remedial in nature and thus should be liberally construed, the judge determined that N.J.S.A. 18A:66-8 which permits purchase of credit for maternity leave should be broadly interpreted to encompass purchase of time for infant child care. The judge based his determination on the fact that the statute itself permits the purchase of pension credit for a period of 24 months--from which one might infer that a substantial portion of this time would be devoted to the care of the child. In addition, the judge determined that a narrow construction of the word 'maternity' as used in the statute might violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Finally, the judge noted that construction of the word 'maternity' to include care of an infant child by the father would not adversely affect the fiscal integrity of the Pension Fund. Accordingly, the administrative law judge ordered that the petition- er's application to purchase for pension credit a child-care leave of absence be approved. Richard Friedman, Esq., for Petitioner Robert Walsh, Deputy Attorney General, for Respondent (James R. Zazzali, Attorney General of New Jersey, Attorney)
Citation Tracker rejected, Bd. of Trustees; affirmed -188 N.J. Super. 194 (App. Div. 1983); certification denied-94 N.J. 573 (1983) [Updated through 1991]