Unions call for additional comp for workers impacted by Phoenix pay system

Workers continue to experience issues each paycheque years after unions negotiated general damages settlements

Unions call for additional comp for workers impacted by Phoenix pay system

On the eighth anniversary of the launch of the Phoenix pay system, three unions called on the federal government to provide additional compensation for damages to workers who have been impacted by the system’s troubles.

The Treasury Board should begin negotiating an extension of the Phoenix general damages agreements and the severe damages claims process to compensate workers until they are paid properly and on time every time, said the unions.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) and the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) have formally requested this of the Treasury Board. 

"As we mark the 8th year of the disastrous Phoenix pay system, tens of thousands of workers continue to endure endless pay problems," said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. "Workers deserve to be compensated for the pain and suffering they still face at the hands of a broken pay system."

More than 380,000 federal workers continue to be impacted by the Phoenix system problems, said the unions.

This is the case even though they negotiated Phoenix general damages settlements in 2019 and 2020, they said.

Dayforce presents a technically viable option for the federal government's next modern HR and pay system, according to Public Services and Procurement Canada.

A growing Phoenix pay system backlog

Currently, there are 444,000 Phoenix transactions ready to be processed by the Public Service Pay Centre

Source: PSAC

"Public servants – like all Canadians – deserve to be paid accurately and on time," said Jennifer Carr, PIPSC President. "Despite promises to 'fix Phoenix', eight years later the federal government can only meet its own service standards 25% of the time, not even close to their own 95% target. That is completely unacceptable," continues Carr.

A report released in 2023 noted that the federal government distributed nearly 4.3 million compensation hours to workers affected by the Phoenix pay system woes. That amounted to more than 179,000 days of leave.

The backlog is growing, and it’s leading to “frustration and hardship for workers,” said the unions. It also weighs on workers’ mental health, and has damaging tax implications, with pay problems following them long after they've changed jobs, left the public service or retired, they said.

Source: PSAC

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat established the Next Generation Human Resources and Pay team (NextGen HR and Pay) in 2019 to explore a future HR and pay solution for the federal government. It is meant to be a digital solution that is mobile, accessible and available 24-7.

Ottawa launched the Phoenix system in 2016 to save money by consolidating pay systems from more than 45 different government departments. Since then, it has cost the government more than $2 billion to fix, according CTV News.

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