Wage Continuation Pension FAQs
The Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) has determined that earnings under the District’s Wage Continuation Program do not qualify as retirement eligible under the Retirement Code. This means that while on wage continuation, an employee neither contributes to nor earns service credit with PSERS.
Effective November 1, 2022, if you are enrolled in and use wage continuation, you will continue to receive the same benefit from the District and be paid 75% of your salary after any unpaid corridor days. However, you will no longer have retirement contributions deducted from your earnings and you will not accrue service time or salary credit toward your pension. (This will not impact any previous time spent on wage continuation prior to November 1, 2022.)
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is this change happening now?
Following a review of employee’s earnings, PSERS requested information regarding the premiums and administration of the District’s Wage Continuation Program and notified us that employee’s earnings do not qualify as retirement eligible earnings under the retirement code.
After much dialogue, we were not able to change this decision. We were able to get PSERS to grandfather all prior Wage Continuation earnings so that retirees and current employees are not negatively impacted for credit received up until now.
How does this impact my pension?
Your pension payment is based on three factors:
- Your Years of Service
- Your Final Average Salary
- Your Multiplier
You can find information on computing your Final Average Salary and determine your in PSERS Member Handbook. This new PSERS Policy impacts two factors that are used to determine your pension.
Years of Service
As wage continuation days no longer count toward service credit with PSERs, the longer an employee is on Wage Continuation, the less service credit they would accrue in a school year. Their Retirement Earning for those school years would be reduced as they would receive credit only for their salary and none for the period while they were on Wage Continuation.
Final Average Salary
An employee’s Retirement Earnings are important for the computation of their Pension. PSERS uses the “Final Average Salary” to compute an individual’s pension. The longer you are out on wage continuation, the more likely your reported retirement earnings may change for that period.
Why will I be put on an “Unpaid Leave”?
First, it is important to note you will still receive all eligible payments under the SDP’s Wage Continuation Program. From PSERS perspective, because these earning are not “Retirement Eligible” this is “unpaid” with respect to your pension.
When do the payments through Wage Continuation begin ?
If you have enrolled in the program, you must first exhaust all of your Personal Illness days and any unpaid “Corridor days”, also known as annual waiting period, before you begin to receive payment under the Wage Continuation plan.
How do I use this benefit throughout the year?
Enrollment in the Wage Continuation program does not guarantee eligibility of use. You must be approved by the Health Services Department for use of this program. If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot return to work due to illness or injury (not work related), your absences are monitored by Employee Health Services (EHS) department. Completing the following steps will ensure a smooth transition:
- For absences over 3 consecutive days, submit an Extended Illness Form SEH-3 to EHS.
- IF you have an extended absence, you will receive a letter from EHS scheduling an appointment for you to visit the SDP’s physician and provide medical reports for review of your absence.
- You will continue to use all accrued (banked) personal illness days until you have none left.
- Upon approval of your continued absence, you will have a waiting period between your last sick day and when Wage Continuation payments begin.
- Wage Continuation payments continue while you are receiving the benefit.
- The benefit may continue for up to 26 weeks if approved by Employee Health Services.
You may contact Health Services at (215) 400-4660 or by e-mail at email@example.com Their office is located at 440 N. Broad Street, Rm 134, Philadelphia, PA 19130.
How do I check my leave balance?
You can view your leave balance through the Employee Payroll Information application or by checking your paycheck. Your School District of Philadelphia email name and password are used for access. If you do not know the name and password, call the Technology Help Desk at (215) 400-5555 for assistance. Please note that the balances shown are all subject to a post separation audit. Your paycheck references this.
From the School District of Philadelphia main website (http://www.philasd.org) go to the Employee Portal. In the Employee section, enter your email name and password. Your email user name should exclude the “@philasd.org” designation.
Launch the “Payroll Information” application. Enter the last four digits of your social security number when prompted. You can then select Leave Balances tab.
Can I Purchasing Service Credit For this time?
No. PSERS has determined this is not retirement eligible, so it does not qualify for you to purchase service credit. See PSERS page on Purchasing Service Credit.