1693581513 Phoenix pay system 43 million hours of paid leave as

Phoenix pay system: 4.3 million hours of paid leave as compensation | Phoenix: a failing payment system

According to CBC, the federal government offered 4.3 million hours of paid leave to its civil servants struggling with disruptions to the Phoenix pay system.

Under a joint agreement reached in 2019 between the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) and various public sector unions, workers were granted up to five days of paid leave as compensation.

Employees who no longer worked for the state received the equivalent in cash. More than 179,000 days off were granted under this agreement.

For the years 2016 and 2017, employees were generally entitled to two days off, between 2017 and 2020 to one day off.

Holiday days have been added to annual leave for officials who have requested it. In order to benefit from these benefits, the employee had to have worked at least one day of the year for which he applied.

The most hours were allocated to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), the Department of Public Services and Procurement (PSPC) and the Department of National Defense (DND).

TBS stopped counting compensation hours on June 8, 2022 as more than 99% of applications were received.

A failing system

The outages of Phoenix’s payroll system have made headlines more than once. Thousands of federal employees went unpaid for extended periods, while others received less or more pay than agreed.

These free hours were intended to compensate for the problems that have plagued public services since Phoenix was launched in 2016. The government is currently working on replacing the remuneration system. Canadian company Ceridian was commissioned to develop a new solution in September 2021.

The last federal budget earmarked $52 million for the replacement project and addressing ongoing staffing and wage issues. .

A protester wears a sweater that says the Phoenix Pay System owes him $1,200.

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Thousands of federal employees went unpaid for extended periods, while others received less or more pay than agreed. (archive photo)

Photo: Radio Canada

For members of the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE), the harm caused by the Phoenix wage system is real and is still being felt by many.

“Marriages have failed, people have lost their homes and not receiving a fair salary is a great burden,” said CAPE President Camille Awada.

CAPE has over 24,000 members across Canada. It is the third largest union in the federal public service. Its members include economists, policy advisors, translators, terminologists and statisticians.

It is the bare minimum to form a union

Despite the 4.3 million hours granted, Mr Awada believes this does nothing to alleviate the difficulties faced by union members.

The compensation was not enough then and is still not enough today.

“I think people were relieved that the government recognized the need for compensation for the problems they faced,” he acknowledged.

Mr Awada said employees would only be compensated until 2020. Three years later, workers were still struggling with the failures of the wage system and therefore deserved renewed compensation, he said.

“I think it’s the bare minimum,” he said. The Treasury must step in and ensure that all government employees continue to be fairly compensated.

For the professor of the Labor Relations Department at UQO, Jean François Tremblay, it was necessary to find a way to move forward by providing a form of remuneration that takes each situation into account.

The issues surrounding Phoenix have affected certain officials differently. […] All of this is factored into the overall equation a little bit and we end up with a regulation that is supposed to be general but will be imperfect by definition, he points out.

Jean-François Tremblay interviewed by Radio Canada.

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Jean-François Tremblay is Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Quebec en Outaouais. (archive photo)

Photo: Radio Canada

Regarding the Phénix replacement system, Mr Tremblay stresses that it would not be surprising if it took some time, although there is a clear desire for it to move faster.

“We can understand that the new foundation is being carried out with great caution and much more simulation in order not to end up in the quagmire of recent years,” he says.

With reports from Sam Konnert of CBC News