Newly hired public employees will be required to live in New Jersey or to move to the state within one year of taking a public position under a law sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross (DCamden/ Gloucester) that recently too effect.

“With our economy still fragile and many residents remaining out of work, this residency requirement is another step we are taking to help New Jerseyans,” said Senator Norcross.

“The New Jersey First Act ensures that, going forward, we make an effort to support our residents as they seek employment. With this law, we will also help keep tax dollars in the state and assist in protecting our state’s economic health.” The “New Jersey First Act” provides one year for individuals hired on or after Sept. 1 to locate within the state. It also creates a process for employees facing extreme hardship or other extraordinary circumstances to seek an exemption from the residency requirement by petitioning a five-member committee established under the law. Current employees living over state lines are exempt from the residency requirement.

“By exempting current employees and establishing a fair process for new workers to obtain exemptions, we’ve ensured that no one will be unduly burdened by this law,” said Senator Norcross. “Further, we’ve made sure that applicants for a public position in New Jersey will have sufficient time to relocate if necessary.”

The law (S-1730) covers all state, county and municipal employees, as well as employees of public authorities, boards, agencies and commissions. The law also applies to employees working within the educational system. However, it does provide some flexibility to institutions of higher education to ensure they are able to compete with similarly situated colleges and universities in other states.

“What we’re saying is: If you want to work in New Jersey and have your salary paid by taxpayers, you’ll have to live here, too,” said Senator Norcross. “This is a reasonable request of those who run government and education systems in our state. Put simply, it will ensure that public workers become part of the communities in which they work, that they live by the rules they enforce and contribute to the tax system that pays their salaries and supports their benefits.”

The law was signed by the Governor in May, with an effective date of Sept. 1.