Preventing pay issues: Timing matters

From Public Services and Procurement Canada

The Phoenix pay system has caused frustrating and challenging pay issues for employees across the country. With close to 100,000 requests submitted every month for pay adjustments such as actings, new hires, terminations, and transfers between departments, problems arise. Many of these requests are processed automatically when submitted in advance and on time. However, late submissions require time-consuming and complex manual processing by a compensation advisor. This results in processing delays and a growing backlog of unprocessed pay requests.

The key phrase to remember with Phoenix is: timing matters. You can help prevent new pay issues by taking 3 simple actions:

Preventing pay issues

Watch the video to learn more about how new pay issues can be prevented.

Transcript: Preventing pay issues: Timing matters

(Upbeat instrumental background music fades in. A young, short-haired man in a blue checkered shirt begins speaking to the camera.)

The Phoenix pay system has caused frustrating and challenging pay issues for employees across the country.

(Music continues in background.)

Compensation experts are working hard to address existing pay problems.

Now this situation isn’t your fault, but you can help prevent new pay problems from happening.

(The scene dissolves to an animated graphical representation of the Phoenix Pay System over a blue map of Canada. Animated pay requests enter the system on the left, and are visually processed successfully through the system to the right. Narration continues.)

Generally, about 300,000 employees receive their regular, bi-weekly pay with few issues.

Problems arise when requests are submitted for pay adjustments, such as actings.

Many of these pay requests are processed automatically when they are submitted on time. However, those submitted late result in processing delays.

(As he says “Generally, about 300,000 employees receive their regular, bi-weekly pay with few issues,” the animated words 300,000 Employees appear in the upper right corner. As he says “many of these pay requests…,” the animated words are replaced with Processed automatically when submitted on time. As he says “However, those submitted late result in processing delays,” the animated words are replaced with Processing delays when submitted late.

A Caution! logo appears in the pay system graphic, and we see animated pay request delays piling up at the bottom of the screen.)

For example, it’s very common for acting paperwork to be submitted after an acting has started making it difficult to process. As a result, employees may have to wait months to get their acting pay.

(Our narrator returns and continues speaking to the camera. He is now on the left side of the screen. A graphic representation of a monthly calendar appears on the right side of the screen. As he speaks, animated pages of the calendar tear off and disappear.)

When acting information is entered into Phoenix before an acting starts, employees will receive their acting pay on the next available pay.

(Narration and animated calendar continue.)

The key phrase to remember with Phoenix is: timing matters. You can help prevent new pay issues by taking three simple actions:

(The calendar disappears, and our narrator moves to the centre of the screen. As he says “Timing matters”, he spreads his hands apart and the animated words TIMING MATTERS appear in capital letters across his chest. The animated words quickly drop and disappear.)

First, learn how to use Phoenix. Public service pay is complex, and using Phoenix can be challenging. Understanding how to use Phoenix will help prevent new pay issues. Take the online training today.

(Our narrator moves to the left side of the screen. As he says “First, learn how to use Phoenix,” an animated graphic of a laptop computer appears on the right side of the screen. The laptop reads: Learn how to use Phoenix and Take the online training today.)

Second, plan ahead: Phoenix works better when pay requests are entered on time. Submitting requests for actings or term renewals before they happen will help in providing quick, trouble-free payments. Overtime added within six months is completely automated and will appear on your next pay.

(The laptop drops and is replaced by the animated words PLAN AHEAD over an animated graphic of an alarm clock with turning hour and second hands. As he says “Submitting requests for actings…,” the clock is replaced by the animated laptop which reads REQUEST SUBMITTED along with an animated checkmark. As he says “Overtime added…,” the animated laptop is replaced by 6 animated monthly calendars.)

And finally, approve quickly. Managers should approve their employees pay requests as soon as they are submitted. Get into a regular routine of checking for requests awaiting approvals and submit completed hiring paperwork for students and new employees as soon as possible. This will help get your employees paid as quickly as possible.

(As he says “and finally, approve quickly…,” the 6 animated monthly calendars are replaced by the animated words APPROVE QUICKLY. As he says “pay requests,” the animated words PAY REQUEST appear in a box. As our narrator points to the box and says “as soon as they are submitted,” the box changes into a check mark. As he says “Get into a regular routine of checking for requests awaiting approvals,” he points and the animated words Check for requests awaiting approval appear. As he says “and submit completed hiring paperwork for students and new employees as soon as possible,” he points and the animated words Submit hiring paperwork as soon as possible appear. Our narrator says “This will help get your employees paid as quickly as possible.”)

(Fade to white.)

(The animated words Visit Canada.ca/phoenix-help for more information appear on screen.)

(Public Services and Procurement Canada logo appears.)

(Government of Canada logo appears.)

(Background music fades.)

(Fade to black.)

Experiencing problems with your pay

Communications toolbox

We have many resources available that employees can download or print such as posters and an electronic pop-up. You can view these resources on the Communications toolbox page.

Quick reference guide to support employees facing pay issues

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The infographic “Quick reference guide to support employees facing pay problems” is a quick reference guide to help support employees with their pay issues.

Box 1: Emergency salary advance / priority payment

You may apply for an emergency salary advance or a priority payment if you didn’t get paid or received an incorrect pay.

Departments and agencies are responsible for issuing pay advances and priority payments to their employees. Contact your manager or human resources unit for guidance.

Box 2: Updating personal information

To update your direct deposit information:

  • Log in to the Phoenix pay system
  • Go to Main Menu, then Self-Service, then Payroll and Compensation and then Direct Deposit
  • Edit the information and save

Update your personal information by using the self-service functionality of your internal HR management system (for example, MyGCHR and HRMIS) or contacting your HR unit.

Box 3: Understand your pay stub

You can visit the website to get clarification on the information relating to your pay stub, such as:

  • pay codes and abbreviations
  • deductions schedule
  • calculating your annual salary
  • gross pay
  • taxes and benefits
  • and much more

Box 4: Preventing pay issues

Timing matters when submitting requests for actings, new hires, terminations and transfers. Help prevent pay issues by taking these 3 actions:

  • Planning ahead: When possible, submit pay requests ahead of time to allow for processing.
  • Approving quickly: Managers should be approving pay requests as soon as they come in.
  • Taking training: Take the online training to learn how to use Phoenix and ensure pay requests are completed accurately.

Note that overtime is fully automated when submitted within 6 months and approved by your section 34 manager.

Box 5: Claims

You can claim the following if you have incurred expenses or financial losses because of the Phoenix pay system:

  • out-of-pocket expenses such as interest charges and late fees
  • reimbursement for tax advice
  • requests for an advance for government benefits
  • impacts to income taxes and government benefits

Box 6: Overpayments

Overpayments can be avoided when submitted on time. Flexible repayment options are available if you have an overpayment.

  • Confirm with your manager and HR unit that your staffing and pay documents are accurate, up to date and submitted into Phoenix
  • Submit a feedback form or call the Client Contact Centre
  • Await a letter from the Pay Centre confirming the amount owed and repayment options

Box 7

For more information, visit Canada.ca/phoenix-help

For departments and agencies served by the Pay Centre, contact the Client Contact Centre for inquiries that can’t be handled by your HR unit: 1-855-686-4729

Preventing pay issues: Timing matters

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Preventing pay issues: Timing matters

Related links

Pay Bulletin

Read up on helpful information about your pay system

Experiencing problems with your pay

What to do if you are not getting paid or getting paid incorrectly

Getting started with Phoenix self-service

Basic Phoenix tasks, fact sheets and support resources

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