CD 2012-006

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Subject: New Deduction code 5F3 for the Recovery of Union Dues Paid by the Employer

| May 29, 2012 Updated January 5, 2015

1. Purpose

1.1. The purpose of this directive is to provide information on a new deduction code to be used to recover union dues paid by the employer on behalf of an employee.

2. Cancellation

2.1. This directive supersedes the Compensation Directive 2005-008 entitled, "Union Dues Deductions - Making the Employee Whole", dated May 19, 2005.

3. Background

3.1. As a result of the Public Service Labour Relation Board (PSLRB) decisions of December 11, 2003, and April 26, 2004, the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada (TBS) established that:

  • when union dues are owed to a bargaining agent (BA), the full payment of arrears owing must be paid within thirty (30) days of that discovery; and
  • an employee cannot over-contribute or under-contribute union dues.

3.2. Recovery of the union dues paid to the BA by the department on behalf of the employee must be made, at a minimum, the equivalent of one month of dues every month.

3.3. Currently, this recovery is done with the deduction code 540 "Debt to the Crown". To differentiate the recovery of the union dues from other debts due to the Crown, the new deduction code 5F3 "Recovery of union dues remitted to the bargaining agent by the employer to make the employee whole" (REC-Dues Remitted) was set up in the Regional Pay System (RPS) on April 1, 2011.

4. Policy

4.1. The TBS Directive on Union Dues, took effect on March 1, 2011 and replaced the Treasury Board Manual Chapter 11, Union Dues Check-off, dated May 1, 1995. The objective of the directive is to ensure consistent and effective practices with respect to the administration of union dues across the core public administration.

5. Procedures/Instructions

5.1. Refunding Dues to an Employee

5.1.1. Where union dues paid by the employee were remitted to the wrong BA, the department must request a reimbursement from the incorrect BA and pay the correct BA the union dues owed.

5.1.1. Example:

An employee in a AS group substantive position is acting in a CS group position but the union dues deducted are still those for the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) instead of those for the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC).

When the error is discovered, the compensation advisor will stop the PSAC union dues deduction and commence the deduction for the PIPSC union dues. The compensation advisor will then ask the departmental finance office to remit the total amount of union dues owed to the new BA (PIPSC) on behalf of the employee and request a reimbursement to the employee from the former BA (PSAC).

5.1.2. Once the former BA authorizes a full refund, the compensation advisor must start the recovery of the union dues using code 5F3 for the same amount paid by the departmental finance office. Please refer to sections 5.5. and 5.6. for instructions.

5.1.3. If the former BA authorized only a partial refund of the dues paid (i.e. BA refunds only up to a period of 12 months), the compensation advisor must request a payment through the departmental finance office, to refund the employee the amount not reimbursed by the former BA.

5.1.3. Example:

The amount owed to the new BA (PIPSC) is $500 and the amount paid by the employee to the former BA (PSAC) is $800. The former BA (PSAC) authorized a partial refund of $100

Steps to follow:

  • Calculate the amount of arrears owed to PIPSC: $500
  • Amount to be paid to PIPSC on behalf of the employee via the departmental finance office: $500
  • Amount to be recovered from the employee using deduction code 5F3: $500
  • PSAC owed a refund to the employee: $800
  • PSAC approved a partial refund of: $100
  • PSAC refunded to the employee via the RPS: $100
  • Amount to be paid to the employee for the reimbursement of over deducted PSAC dues via the departmental finance office:  $700

5.1.4. Once the finance office has processed the refund to the employee, the compensation advisor must inform the pay office (PO) of the amount refunded. The request will include the employee's name, department, paylist, Personal Recorder Identifier and the total amount refunded. This will permit the PO to decrease the current year Master Employee Record (MER) field 717 (Union Dues) with a PAC30 transaction to reduce the amount of union dues paid by the employee, which appears in the employee's T4/Relevé 1.

If there is an insufficient amount to decrease or there is no amount in the current year MER 717, the PO will add the amount in the MER 700 (YTD- Gross Pay and Allowances) with a PAC30 transaction. This will increase the current year gross earnings on the T4/Relevé 1 to reflect the amount reimbursed.

5.1.5. Once the over-deducted dues have been refunded to the employee, the compensation advisor will start the recovery from the employee's pay of the dues paid to the new BA by the department on his behalf. Please refer to sections 5.5. and 5.6. for instructions.

5.2. Recovering Dues from an Employee

5.2.1. When an employee becomes subject to a collective agreement and the union dues are not processed within the required time frame, or an insufficient amount was deducted, the compensation advisor is responsible to ensure that the difference in union dues is paid to the BA within 30 days of discovering that union dues are owed.

5.2.2. The compensation advisor will recover the amount paid by the department to the BA on the employee’s behalf. Effective immediately, the recovery must be done with the deduction code 5F3 "REC-Dues Remitted". The deduction taken with this code automatically updates the MER 717 to be reflected on the T4/Relevé 1 and is credited back to the department.

Please refer to sections 5.5. and 5.6. for details.

| As of January 1, 2015, compensation advisors will follow this same process for employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association (CATCA) because these bargaining agents will no longer issue receipts to their members to report the amount of union dues deducted on their income tax returns.

5.3. Transfer-In With a Change in Bargaining Agent

5.3.1. When an employee changes departments and is appointed to a new position under a different BA, the union dues deduction must be changed.

To start the new union dues deduction, the new department must submit a PAC16C/DEC transaction effective the first of the month in which the transfer is processed using the deduction code and amount of the new BA.

5.3.2. The union dues arrears for the period between the effective date of the transfer and the month where deductions commenced must be paid by the departmental finance office within 30 days. The amount must then be recovered with the deduction code 5F3 on the employee's pay.

5.3.3. The compensation advisor may also need to refund to the employee the union dues paid to the former BA with a PAC16R/DER transaction.

5.4. Secondment and Assignment Situations in a Different Bargaining Unit

5.4.1. When an employee is in a Secondment / Assignment situation and the tasks performed are those of a different bargaining unit, union dues must be paid to the BA associated to the new tasks. In these situations, the RPS cannot be used to remit union dues to the new BA. Since the employee continues to be paid in his substantive position by the home organization, the Bargaining Unit Designator (BUD) code of the substantive position remains on the master file. The RPS has an edit in place that will not allow a union deduction code other than the one associated with the employee's BUD code on file.

5.4.2. To collect the union dues when an employee is on secondment/assignment in a position with a different bargaining group, the advisor must follow these steps:

  1. Stop the current union dues deduction of the substantive position with a PAC16S/DES transaction.
  2. Complete and forward the Bargaining Agent Identification Notice of Change form This information is only accessible to federal government employees, and only to federal departments and agencies.(TBS/SCT 340-51) to the appropriate Bargaining Agent(s) as instructed on the form.
  3. Start a payroll deduction with a PAC16C/DEC transaction with deduction code 5F3 in order to deduct the union dues for the secondment/assignment position. A closed period ongoing monthly deduction must be done using the end date (Effective Date To) of the secondment/assignment agreement.
  4. Send the requisition for payment form to your departmental finance office for them to remit, each month, the amount deducted with code 5F3 to the new BA.
  5. If the secondment/assignment period ends earlier, stop the ongoing 5F3 deduction with a PAC16S/DES transaction.
  6. Start the union dues deduction of the substantive position with a PAC16C/DEC transaction.

5.5. 5F3 Input Instructions

5.5.1. The employee may choose to have this recovery of union dues collected as a lump sum on the next regular pay or by monthly deduction that will be taken on the next cycle 2 of the regular pay.

5.5.2. The compensation advisor inputs a closed period PAC16C/DEC transaction with code 5F3 for either a lump sum or an ongoing monthly recovery.

5.5.3. Amounts deducted with this code will automatically be included in the current year MER 717 and reflected on the T4 and Relevé 1, when applicable.

5.5.4. The 5F3 transaction must always be created using the first day of the following month in the "Effective From" date (field 63) and the last day of the month of the recovery period in the "Effective To" date (field64).

5.5.5. If the deduction with code 5F3 has an incorrect "Effective To" date resulting in the deduction stopping too late, a refund to the employee of the over-deducted amount must be processed by the departmental finance office who received the funds of the amount deducted. Once the reimbursement is processed, the compensation advisor must inform PO of the amount refunded in order to amend the union dues amount reported on the current tax slips.

In this instance, the PO will decrease the current year MER 717 with a PAC30 transaction. This action will reflect the decrease of union dues in the employee's current year T4/Relevé 1.

If there is an insufficient amount to decrease or there is no amount in the current year MER 717, the PO will add the amount in MER 700 with a PAC30 transaction. This transaction will increase the amount of the gross earnings in the current year that will appear on the T4 and Relevé 1 slips.

5.5.6. Please note that no arrears code was created for the 5F3 deduction code since the activity must be reflected on the current year tax slips and refunds of over-deducted amounts must be paid by the departmental finance office.

5.6. Example of Data Input With Deduction code 5F3:

5.6.1. Where the departmental finance office has made a payment in the amount of $372.00 to the BA, for 6 months of union dues, the compensation advisor must recover from the employee the 6 months of union dues for the total amount of $372.00

5.6.2. As an example, on May 14, 2012, the compensation advisor inputs a PAC16C/DEC 5F3 closed period with June 1, 2012 in field 63 and November 30, 2012 as the end date in field 64 (6 months in the future) and a monthly amount to be recovered of $62.00 in the Rate/Amount field 66 ($372 divided by 6).

5.6.3. If the employee decides to pay off the amount owed prior to the end of the established end date, the compensation advisor stops the monthly deduction by entering PAC16S/DES and on the following RPS update, creates a PAC16C/DEC with a lump sum payment in field 66 to recover the balance owing.

5.6.4. If there has been a miscalculation and the monthly amount is not correct, the compensation advisor will calculate the new monthly deduction and input a PAC16A/DEA to modify the monthly rate while keeping the same repayment period.

5.7. Cancelled Payment with a Deduction 5F3

5.7.1. If a payment that includes a deduction 5F3 is cancelled, the amount deducted will not be reversed and the MER 717 will not be modified. The deduction will be moved to MER 953 (Net Overpayment - Current year) and recovered on the next available funds.

5.8. Account Temporarily Struck Off Strength (T-SOS) or Struck Off Strength (SOS) With a 5F3 On-Going Deduction

5.8.1. If there remains an outstanding amount being recovered under code 5F3 at the time the account is placed in T-SOS or SOS status, it must be treated as a debt to the Crown.

5.8.2. The RPS will automatically stop any ongoing monthly deductions under 5F3 that is on the master at time of T-SOS. It should be noted that the deduction will not resume if a re-taken on strength transaction is later submitted.

5.8.3. When the T-SOS or SOS action is done prior to the effective to date (field 64) of the monthly or lump sum deduction, the RPS will calculate and add the remaining amount to be recovered with code 5F3 to the MER field 953.

Once the outstanding amount is transferred in MER 953, all payments made to the employee will be reduced until the amount is fully recovered.

5.8.4. If the employee chooses to pay the amount by personal cheque, the compensation advisor will have to process a PAC20/CRT 566 (Recovery of Overpayment - Current year) or PAC20/CRT 567 (Recovery of Overpayment - Previous year) to remove the amount in MER 953 or 954 (Net Overpayment - Previous year) as applicable at the time of repayment.

Since the amounts in MER 953 or 954 include all types of overpayments and does not distinguish the amounts for union dues, once the recovery has taken place, the compensation advisor will submit a request to PO to increase the current year MER 717.

5.8.5. Exceptions:

  • Accounts on 6C, 7A and 7B pay cycle
  • Accounts on Leave with Income Averaging
  • Accounts on Pre-Retirement Transition Leave
  • Death in service

5.8.6. For the above-mentioned exceptions where the T-SOS requires PO intervention, the RPS will not automatically stop the 5F3 deduction. The compensation advisor must report a PAC16S/DES 5F3, prior to processing the T-SOS and will immediately inform PO of the monthly amount of the 5F3 deduction as well as the end date of the initial recovery period via the Free Form Text (FFT).

When the SOS transaction requires PO intervention, the deduction will automatically stop. However, the compensation advisor must indicate the same details in the FFT.

5.8.7. If a payment for the last regular pay is due to the employee, the PO will process a PAC77/SDE with the deduction code 5F3 to recover the remaining amount as a lump sum amount, with a rate base 0. This deduction will automatically update the MER 717.

If no payment for the last regular pay is due to the employee or if there are insufficient funds to collect the outstanding balance with the PAC77/SDD, the PO will place the remaining balance in MER 953 to indicate there is an overpayment.

The compensation advisor will verify the Salary Recovery and Pending Dues Sub-Set (SRS) screen to ensure the balance has been reported. If termination entitlements are due, the recovery will be automatically taken from those payments. If no termination entitlements are due or if a balance is still outstanding, the compensation advisor will inform the employee of the amount to be paid. Once the employee submits a cheque, the compensation advisor will input a PAC20/CRT transaction and will advise the PO as detailed in section 5.8.4.

6. Implementation of Deduction code 5F3

6.1. Union deductions currently taken under code 540 should be stopped and a new deduction with code 5F3 should be started.

6.2. Compensation advisors are reminded that union dues taken with code 540 must be reported to the PO in order for them to increase the current year MER 717.

6.3. For those compensation advisors who may have used the deduction code 5F3 between October 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011, you will need to inform the PO of the amount deducted in that period because the deductions taken with code 5F3 during this period did not update MER 717. The automation of the update to the MER was implemented in the RPS on April 1, 2011.

The PO will need to increase the current year MER 717 by this amount to show the amount deducted.

7. Personnel-Pay Input Manual (PPIM)

7.1. The PPIM 9-5-4 was updated to include the information contained in this directive.

8. Inquiries

8.1. Any inquiries on the information contained in this document should be addressed to your Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) Compensation Services Office.

Original Signed by
Carrie E. Roussin

Carrie E. Roussin
Director General
Compensation Sector
Accounting, Banking and Compensation

Reference(s): CJA 9006-13-1, 9006-13-4