We asked, you answered
In last month’s Pay Bulletin, we included a feedback form and asked for your comments and suggestions. When it comes to Phoenix, we know that people have many questions and concerns. The feedback we received was thoughtful and helpful as we look to improve our communications materials moving forward.
Here’s a summary of what we heard and what we’re doing about it.
The aim of the Pay Bulletin is to provide as much information as possible about how progress is being made towards the goal everyone wants to achieve: proper and timely pay for all public servants. Many employees told us that the one piece of information they want is a timeline for when their pay issues will be resolved. Right now, this remains a challenge because we continue to experience many “firsts” with the pay system (such as processing many collective agreements at once), and this makes it difficult to accurately plan and forecast. At this time, we can’t provide a clear timeline for resolving pay issues. However, we can explain how we’re working through the transactions awaiting processing at the Public Service Pay Centre.
Much of our current effort is being directed to collective agreements. This work is much more complicated than expected: the transactions are taking longer, and the work is requiring more people than planned. We expect to have the implementation of the collective agreements done later this year, at which time we’ll turn all our resources to the transactions awaiting processing. So how long will it take to get through those? Well, compensation advisors actually need to open up each pay file before they know how much work is involved and how long it will take. What we can say is that we expect wait times to begin decreasing noticeably in the new year. Right now we are hiring more people and introducing more effective ways to process transactions. This additional capacity and greater efficiency means that the number of outstanding transactions should consistently shrink month over month in 2018.
Video and links
There were some comments about technical issues with our last Pay Bulletin. Several of you commented that the video we provided could not be viewed by some departments, particularly National Defence. We apologize for this and have found a solution to ensure that future videos will be accessible to all public servants. In addition, many of you pointed out that the link to maternity leave information was broken, which is now fixed. Thank you for bringing these issues to our attention.
Retirees and former employees
Several comments noted that retirees and people not currently actively employed in the federal public service face particular challenges, such as accessing the Compensation Web Applications (CWA) to see their pay stubs. We encourage retirees to contact the Pay Centre in order to have their pay stubs sent to them in hard copy. We are also developing other guidance for retirees for future editions of the Pay Bulletin and through our social media accounts.
Compensation Web Applications pay stub
Many of you noted that it is difficult to understand your pay stub. There is still work to do to make pay stubs more user-friendly, but we are developing a revised guide that will be available shortly, and this information should start to help employees better understand their pay details.
Employees in non-Pay Centre departments
Some readers commented that more information directed at employees in non-core agencies, departments and councils would be helpful, everything from bargaining status to how pay escalation processes work. This is a challenge, as there are many variables when communicating to so many different departments. However, we are working with our partner departments to see how information and materials can be adapted so they are useful for all employees.
Transactions beyond normal workload and service standards
Quite a few readers were concerned about the use of the phrase “Transactions beyond normal workload,” and noted that it wasn’t useful to them. This phrase is simply an acknowledgement that every month there are always about 80,000 transactions awaiting processing at the Pay Centre. Under normal circumstances, these transactions are processed over the course of a month, in line with our service standards (which are 20 days for most transactions). Therefore, the number we report, the transactions beyond normal workload, is the number of transactions that are in excess of that 80,000. It is the best measure we have at this time to show the amount of extra work we have to do to get the Pay Centre to a steady state.
In addition, several of you had questions and concerns regarding the service standards referenced in the dashboard. Some wanted to know what those service standards are, and you can find them on the service standards page of our website. Others wanted more information about the age of specific transactions that have exceeded their service standards.
The intention of our dashboard has always been to present information to employees that is clear and useful. Given the feedback received, we will assess how more information about service standards can be reported in the future.
Some readers commented that they would like more information about the relationship between the pay system and Sun Life Financial and how benefits are being affected. We agree that more information is needed on this issue and are looking to develop content for both our website and the Pay Bulletin to help employees facing this particular situation.
Pay action request and Phoenix feedback forms
Comments also showed that there remains some confusion about the use of the pay action request (PAR) form and the Phoenix feedback form, as well as some misinformation as to what happens to a PAR form or a Phoenix feedback form when it gets submitted. Please read the article called Experiencing problems with your pay in this month’s Pay Bulletin for more information on these issues.
Calculators and other process tools
The comments received included requests for calculators of various kinds, mass retro calculators, or methods to calculate the yearly salary rate being used for a pay period. While some calculators are available online via the CWA, we are investigating the feasibility of developing further tools for employees.
Finally, we received several comments concerning process improvements, such as improving the Phoenix feedback form and the Track myCASE system. Public Services and Procurement Canada is assessing process improvements such as these, and enhancements will be made as soon as possible.
We are committed to making the Pay Bulletin a useful tool for employees. We are very grateful to the readers who took the time to give us their honest feedback. This input will allow us to continually improve. The feedback form is included in every Pay Bulletin, and we encourage readers to keep their suggestions and comments coming.
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