Civil Service Regulation 32 (Employee Disability) FAQs
Civil Service Regulation 32 was developed and adopted in 1953 to provide employment benefits for uniformed and investigatory municipal employees who incur injuries or disabilities in the performance of their work. In 1961 the benefits of this Regulation were extended to cover the City's non-uniformed Civil Service personnel.
Revisions to the program were made through contract negotiation and binding arbitration between the City and its unions in 1992. Changes are designed to achieve substantial savings without significantly disrupting the basic benefits available to eligible employees.
The Regulation provides a comprehensive and generous disability program which encompasses a wide range of situations which affect disabled employees. These situations may involve medical care and treatment, disability compensation, hospitalization, leave with pay, medical evaluation, vocational assessment, secondary employment, medical review and appeal, voluntary or involuntary separation from City employment and, indirectly, pension rights and privileges.
This manual is based upon Civil Service Regulation 32, applicable Pension Ordinances, and labor contracts and agreements involving the City of Philadelphia. While every effort has been made to accurately set forth Regulation 32 policy and benefits within the pages of this booklet, nothing contained herein shall be construed as altering existing Regulation 32 policy or superceding the authority of any source documents pertaining thereto.
- Q: What is the purpose of Regulation 32?
A: It is a Civil Service regulation that provides benefits to the Civil Service employee who has suffered a service-incurred disability and who is no longer able to perform fully the duties of his or her position.
It does not apply to non-service incurred injuries or disabilities and is a benefit separate and distinct from those awarded and/or administered by the Board of Pensions and Retirement.
A: The employee is offered a positive program of medical and vocational rehabilitation and continues to receive full monetary compensation when working in a limited duty or secondary employment capacity. Employees in no-duty status or awaiting secondary placement shall be compensated at their disability salary ( Reg. 32.023 ), however.
Disability salary is a designated percentage of the salary an employee was paid on the date of disability, as adjusted in accord with any later up or down change of rate of pay of his former position, plus any earned pay increases he would have received had he not been disabled. The following percentages shall be used to compute disability salary:
- Uniformed and investigatory Police personnel: 80%.
- Uniformed Fire personnel: 80%.
- Civilian personnel: 75%.
A: It covers all full-time uniformed, non-uniformed and investigatory employees. It does exclude, however, temporary, emergency, seasonal and part-time employees, as well as those paid at an established hourly rate ( Reg. 32.011 ). ( Disability benefits for so-called exempt employees are outlined in Administrative Board Rule #11, section C., 7.)
- Q: What is to be understood by the term disability?
A: Disability is a physical or mental condition caused by accident or occupational disease, including heart and lung ailments, which is service-connected and prevents an employee from performing his or her regular duties. Disability does not include any condition which is self-inflicted or caused by another person for reasons personal to the employee and not because of his or her employment ( Reg 32.022 ).
- Q: What is the date of disability?
A: The date of the earliest event which caused a specific disabling condition or conditions or proximately contributed to their development. If such disabled employee continued full, normal, active duties without interruption following the disabling event, the date of disability arising therefrom shall be the date of the first interruption in full, normal, active duties caused by said disability. The date of disability shall not be further deferred or restated by reason of any subsequent resumption of full, normal, active service ( Reg. 32.021 ).
- Q: Who determines the nature and extent of the disability?
A: The Medical Director shall initially determine the nature and extent of the disability ( Reg. 32.0311 ).
- Q: If the disabled employee or the employee's department is not satisfied with this determination, may review of the facts be obtained from another medical authority?
A: Yes. The disabled employee or the appointing authority has the right to ask that a Medical Board review the determination of disability. This request, in writing, must be filed with the Personnel Director not later than fifteen (15) days after receipt by the employee of a written notice of a determination made by the Medical Director ( Reg. 32.0312 ).
- Q: How conclusive are the recommendations of such a medical board?
- Q: Once established, may disability status be questioned by the employee?
A: Yes. Upon written request filed with the Personnel Director an employee may, not more than once in each calendar year, obtain a review and redetermination of the status of the employee's disability ( Reg. 32.034 ).
- Q: In recognition of differences in disability and related work incapacities, what categories of disability are found under Regulation 32?
A: Regulation 32 benefits are provided under three (3) disability categories:
- Temporarily disabled employees ( Reg. 32.0121 ).
- Permanently and totally disabled employees ( Reg. 32.0122 ).
- Permanently and partially disabled employees ( Reg. 32.0123 ).
- Q: What is a temporary disability?
A: A temporary disability is a disability determined not to be permanent ( Reg. 32.029 ).
- Q: What is a permanent and total disability?
A: A permanent and total disability is a disability determined as not medically correctable and likely to continue for the remainder of the employee's life which prevents an employee from performing any kind of gainful employment ( Regs. 32.027 , 32.0210 ).
- Q: What is a permanent and partial disability?
A: A permanent and partial disability is a disability determined as not medically correctable and likely to continue for the remainder of the employee's life which prevents an employee from performing the normal duties of the employee's position, but which does not prevent the employee from performing the duties of some other position in the Civil Service ( Regs. 32.026 , 32.027 ).
- Q: What happens with a temporarily disabled employee?
A: The employee remains with his or her department for the period of the non-permanent disability (but not for more than one (1) year from the date of disability) receiving the appropriate level of disability compensation (see Q&A #2).
The appointing authority or the Personnel Director may assign a temporarily disabled employee to other duties during the period of disability. Such assignment shall be consistent with the employee's physical condition and shall be approved by the Medical Director ( Regs. 32.041 , 32.042 ).
- Q: To what extent does the employee's department enter into control of such temporarily disabled cases?
A: At any time, and from time to time, the appointing authority may require a temporarily disabled employee to be re-examined and a redetermination made of the employee's disability status. Any employee determined to be able to resume regular duties shall do so upon instructions from the appointing authority ( Regs. 32.043 , 32.044 ).
- Q: If a temporarily disabled employee under Regulation 32 fails to regain his or her former work capacity during the period of maximum benefits is he or she separated from City government?
A: Yes. An employee determined to be temporarily disabled may be continued in such status for a period not to exceed one (1) year for each work related injury. Upon recommendation of the Medical Director, the period in temporary disability status may be extended in six (6) month increments at the discretion of the appointing authority. An employee may be continued in temporary disability status for a period not to exceed three (3) years in the aggregate, during an employee's employment with the City. At the termination of such maximum payment period the employee shall be separated from City government ( Reg. 32.045 ).
- Q: What happens to the employee for whom a determination has been made indicating a service-connected permanent and total disability?
A: Any permanently and totally disabled employee shall continue to be compensated at disability salary for one (1) year except in cases wherein the appointing authority extends the period in six (6) month increments, in which case the compensation shall not exceed, in the aggregate, three (3) years ( Reg. 32.0511 ).
The employee shall also receive, so long as he or she is under active treatment with a physician authorized by the Medical Director, medical care and hospitalization required in connection with such disability as approved by the Medical Director ( Reg. 32.0512 ).
- Q: Is this determination of disability final or may it later be questioned?
A: At any time during the three (3) year period as deemed advisable, an employee may be re-examined and a redetermination made of the employee's disability status ( Reg. 32.052 ).
- Q: In consideration of the benefits provided under Regulation 32, does a permanently and totally disabled employee waive any benefits?
- Uniformed and investigatory Police personnel shall forfeit vacation leave and compensatory time. (Payment for sick leave shall be calculated in accordance with Regualtion 21.142)
- Uniformed Fire personnel shall forfeit compensatory time. (Vacation balances shall be paid in full. Payment for sick leave shall be calculated in accordance with Regulation 21.143)
- Civilian personnel forfeit vacation leave and compensatory time. (Payment for sick leave shall be calculated in accordance with Regulation 21.141)
- Q: What happens to the employee for whom a determination has been made indicating a permanent partial disability?
A: The employee is separated from his or her original position and notified to report to the Personnel Department for a counseling interview with the Placement Officer ( Reg. 32.0611 ).
In the interview the employee is encouraged to express freely pertinent information concerning his or her general background, vocational and employment interests and preferences and disability reactions. The City will provide skill and vocational assessments based upon the employee's aptitudes, disability, education, interests and work history to aid in the selection of an appropriate secondary position ( Reg. 32.0612 ).
At the conclusion of the counseling session the employee elects whether or not to participate in the secondary placement program.
- Q: What are the benefits of participating in the secondary placement program?
A: The program provides vocational guidance to the employee as well as continuation of salary. Once vocational assessment (based upon the employee's aptitudes, disability, education, interests and work history) is completed, secondary employment, which may lead to an alternative career path with earnings greater that those of the primary job class, is provided.
In addition, the program provides continuation of health and life insurance benefits to those working or awaiting placement. Employees working secondary jobs will receive sick leave benefits available to regular employees who work in that particular job class. Employees who participate in the placement program will also receive supplementary pay ( Reg. 32.062 ). The following general salary increases shall be granted to employees participating in the placement program:
- Uniformed and investigatory Police personnel:
- Effective 1/1/95: a 2% wage increase.
- Effective 1/1/96: a 3% wage increase.
- Uniformed Fire personnel:
- Effective 1/1/95: a 2% wage increase.
- Effective 1/1/96: a 3% wage increase.
- Civilian personnel:
- Effective 4/1/95: a 2% wage increase.
- Effective 4/1/96: a 3% wage increase.
Service-connected disability pensions awarded to placement program participants subsequent to receipt of a wage increase shall be calculated at the higher salary.
- Q: What are the implications of not accepting rehabilitative employment?
A: Employees not accepting rehabilitative employment will remain separated from municipal employment provided that their rights to disability benefits under this Regulation shall continue not more than one (1) year from the date of disability ( Reg. 32.0613 ). Such former employees may then apply for a disability pension. Also, employees participating in the secondary placement program may resign from the program at any time to apply for disability pension benefits.
It should be noted, however, that the granting of ordinary and disability pensions is determined solely by the Board of Pensions and Retirement. In the event that a pension is denied, no benefits will be reinstated to the employee under Regulation 32.
- Q: What are the obligations of the employee who elects to participate in the placement program?
A: Employees who participate in the placement program obligate themselves in the following ways:
- Employees are to be available for placement interviews and scheduling during normal business hours: Mondays through Fridays, 8:30am - 5:00pm, except City holidays. (Employees who will be outside the City limits during placement availability hours shall provide the Placement Officer with a telephone number where they may be contacted.)
- Employees are to keep the Placement Officer informed of any changes in their address and/or work availablity status.
- Employees receiving any disability benefit shall be required to report and verify any outside earned income, in such manner as the City may determine, including but not limited to the provision of federal tax returns ( Reg. 32.0625 ).
- Employees are to maintain residency within the City of Philadelphia and meet all other usual conditions of City employment ( Reg. 30.01, et. al. ).
- Q: Having elected to take a secondary position under Regulation 32, does the employee have to await actual commencement of work before being placed in salary status?
A: No. The employee is compensated without any break in payments at the disability salary ( Reg. 32.0642 ).
- Q: What special precautions are taken in the placement program under Regulation 32 to insure against the aggravation of the disability in the secondary position?
A: Prior to secondary placement the Medical Director, or his designate, shall examine the employee having in his possession full medical case records and being already familiar with the case through previous disability proceedings, to determine if the employee can perform the duties of a specific class of secondary position. Each specific job class shall have been audited to determine the physical requirements of the job and any restrictions for the employee shall be noted by the Medical Director or his designate. The Placement Officer shall determine the employee's qualifications and use the information supplied by the Medical Director or his designate to determine classes of positions for which the employee would be eligible ( Reg. 32.0612 ). The City shall make any reasonable accomodations necessary to effect placement.
- Q: When the disabled employee is referred by the Personnel Department for a secondary position under Regulation 32 is a department obliged to accept the employee for appointment?
A: No. While each employee referred for placement is deemed physically able to satisfactorily perform the duties of the secondary position, the department may deny placement to any individual for cause.
- Q: What compensation does the employee who has been terminated from primary employment receive while awaiting placement in a secondary position under Regulation 32?
A: The employee is compensated at disability salary ( Reg. 32.0642 ).
- Q: What compensation does the employee receive upon assuming the duties of a secondary position under Regulation 32?
A: The employee receives the minimum pay step of the position supplemented by the difference between the salary of the position and the employee's adjusted pre-injury salary ( Regs. 32.0621 , 32.06213 ).
The adjusted pre-injury salary (not to be confused with the disability salary) is 100% of the salary an employee was paid on the date of disability, as adjusted in accord with any later up or down change of rate of pay of his former position, plus any earned pay increases he would have received had he not been disabled.
As the employee receives pay step increases in the secondary position the supplementary compensation (disability pay added to make up the difference between secondary pay and adjusted pre-injury salary) is decreased accordingly and finally eliminated should the pay from the secondary position equal or exceed the adjusted pre-injury salary ( Reg. 32.06213 ).
When authorized to work an overtime schedule the employee's overtime pay is computed solely on the basis of the salary from the secondary position.
- Q: Is the disabled employee on probation when appointed to the secondary position?
- Q: May the employee who becomes dissatisfied because of disinterest, boredom, dislike of the duties or the environment of the secondary position request placement in another position or resign from the placement program?
A: Yes. Employees working in secondary jobs may request alternative secondary employment. In such instances they should remain working in the current secondary position until a new position is available.
An employee may also choose to resign and apply for disability pension. An employee resigning may not be reinstated into the secondary placement program, even if a service-connected disability pension is denied.
- Q: What happens to balances of vacation and sick leave accumulated in the original position when an employee is placed under Regulation 32?
A: The employee carries vacation and sick leave credit into the secondary position. He or she does not earn such leave while awaiting placement ( Reg. 32.0642 ).
However, while vacation leave is granted in all City employment at the discretion of the department involved, under Regulation 32 it may be used only after the employee has worked for at least six (6) months, unless otherwise approved by the Personnel Director.
- Q: If the Personnel Department is unable to place or maintain the employee in a secondary position because of the service-connected disability, or because of a lack of suitable vacancies, how long will the employee be compensated at disability salary under Regulation 32?
A: The employee shall be compensated at disability salary for a period not longer than six (6) months (extendable to 12 months at the sole discretion of the City) ( Reg. 32.0642 ).
- Q: How is the disabled employee made accountable for absenteeism from the original position due to the service-connected disability?
A: Absenteeism from the original position due to the service-connected disability will be charged to injury (IOD) time, provided that the medical treatment and advice of the City appointed care providers is accepted and followed.
- Q: How is the disabled employee made accountable for absenteeism from the secondary position due to the service-connected disabilty?
A: Absenteeism from the secondary position due to the service-connected disabilty will be charged to IOD time. In the event that the 3 year (783 day) career total is exceeded the employee's Regulation 32 benefits shall cease. The employee, in this instance, may continue working in the secondary position, but without the supplementary pay ( Reg. 32.0623 ).
If the employee does not wish to continue working after cessation of the supplementary pay he or she may apply for pension.
- Q: How is the disabled employee made accountable for absenteeism from the secondary position due to an unrelated sickness or disability?
A: Where the disability or sickness is not service-connected the absenteeism is charged to sick or vacation leave in accordance with City policy.
- Q: What provisions are there in Regulation 32 for medical care and treatment of an employee who has suffered a service-connected injury or disability?
A: The employee will receive, so long as he or she is under active treatment of the City appointed care providers, free care and hospitalization required in connection with the disability ( Regs. 32.047 , 32.054 , 32.0614 ).
- Q: What happens to the employee who has incurred a temporary, permanent and partial or permanent and total service-connected disability injury and refuses surgery or treatment as recommended by the City's treating physician?
A: An employee who has incurred a temporary, permanent, partial or total service-connected disability injury must cooperate with and accept all reasonable and appropriate City provided medical care, including diagnostic testing, physical therapy and established corrective surgical procedures in order to continue to receive benefits under this Regulation.
A Regulation 32 employee who is instructed by a physician under authorization from the Medical Director to accept reasonable medical treatment, and does not do so, is being insubordinate, even if the employee disagrees with the treatment. In such a situation the employee may appeal to the Civil Service Commission. Should the employee file an appeal with the Civil Service Commission within thirty (30) days of such refusal to accept the treatment, the employee's absence from work for the period between the date of filing such appeal and the date a decision thereon is entered by the Commission shall be charged against accrued sick leave, vacation leave or holiday compensatory time. In the event that accrued sick and vacation leave and compensatory time are utilized and exhausted during the period prior to the Commission's decision, the employee shall thereafter be carried without pay. A Commission decision adverse to the employee will entitle the City to recover wages paid by the City for sick leave so used retroactive to the date of the appeal.
In the event the treatment ordered is to undergo surgery against the recommendation of the employee's private physician, this regulation provides for an intermediary step wherein a doctor shall be selected from a standing panel of surgeons chosen by the City and the unions to render a determinative opinion as to the efficacy of surgery. All appeals to the Civil Service Commission from this determinative opinion shall be made in accordance with the above section ( Regs. 32.047 , 32.054 , 32.0614 ).
If after exhausting all appeals the employee has an adverse judgment, Regulation 32 benefits shall cease and the employee shall be separated from municipal government.
- Q: Can an employee with a service-connected disability go to his or her own physician for disability healthcare?
A: Yes, however, the employee will be responsible for any fees charged by the physician ( 32.0313 , 32.0314 ) and absence from work will be charged to accrued sick or vacation leave instead of IOD time. The City at all times reserves the right to medically evaluate the individual so treated by examination or a review of medical records.
- Q: Are non-disability healthcare benefits available to injured employees and their eligible dependents while awaiting placement under Regulation 32?
- Q: When an employee is placed in a secondary position which has union representation different from that of his or her primary position, how are the employee's union membership, healthcare, and life insurance benefits affected?
A: A disabled employee accepting placement in a secondary position with union representation different from that of his former job will receive continuation of the life insurance benefits which were provided in the primary position.
The employee will also be permitted to continue receiving the non-disability healthcare benefits of the primary job but only if he or she joins, and agrees to remain in, the bargaining unit of the secondary job.
- Q: When a Regulation 32 employee refuses to return to the secondary position, despite instructions to do so from the City appointed care provider, how is this refusal regarded and what procedure is available to remedy the situation?
A: The employee is being insubordinate. The procedure to be followed here is identical with that described in Q&A-37 above.
- Q: If the disabled employee or the employee's department is not satisfied with the determination made by the Medical Director or his designate, may review of the facts be obtained from another medical authority?
A: Yes. A Medical Board, consisting of three (3) physicians designated as needed, and selected by the Philadelphia County Medical Society or other professional sources apart from City government, may be brought together, providing the request was made not later than fifteen (15) days after receipt by the employee of written notice of the determination made by the Medical Director ( Reg. 32.0312 ).
- Q: How conclusive are the recommendations of such a Medical Board?
- Q: To what extent does the employee's department enter into control of disability cases?
A: The department periodically, and as deemed necessary, may require the employee to be re-examined and ask for a redetermination of the disability. If the employee is able to resume regular duties, the department restores him or her to such work ( Regs. 32.043 , 32.052 ).
- Q: Is this determination of disability final or may it be questioned later?
A: It may be questioned as long as the employee receives Regulation 32 benefits ( Reg. 32.034 ).
- Q: When the disabled employee has utilized the maximum benefit period under Regulation 32, retires, voluntarily leaves City service, or is discharged, what development then takes place?
A: He or she is separated from City government and may apply for injury pension. So long as the disabled employee is under active treatment by the City appointed care provider he or she can receive the medical care and hospitalization required in connection with his or her disability as approved by the Medical Director ( Regs. 32.046 , 32.053 , 32.0642 ).
- Q: What occurs when an employee reaches the retirement eligiblity date for his or her pension plan?
A: The supplementary pay of an employee placed in a secondary job shall cease, irrespective of pay from the secondary position, upon the employee achieving eligibility for retirement, or at the expiration of one (1) year from the disability date, whichever is later ( Reg. 32.0623 ). An employee working in a secondary position who achieves his or her retirement eligibility date may elect to do one of the following:
NOTE: Any employee considering such a pension plan change is strongly advised to contact the Board of Pensions and Retirement to receive proper counsel about the consequences of such a decision.
- The employee may continue working, but without supplementary compensation.
An employee with a retirement eligibility date below 55 years of age can extend their supplementary pay eligibility period by making an irrevocable decision to switch to a pension plan with a higher retirement eligibility date, but only as indicated below:
Police Personnel enrolled in: May switch to: Plan D (retire at 45) Plan J (retire at 55) Plan B (retire at 50)
Plan Y (retire at 60)
Fire Personnel enrolled in: May switch to: Plan X (retire at 45) Plan J (retire at 55) Plan A (retire at 50) Plan Y (retire at 60)