Archived: Government of Canada update on the Phoenix pay system for September 21, 2016
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Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us once again for our regular update on government pay.
We continue to see steady progress in all our priority groups.
For Priority 3 cases, we have now closed a total of close to 24,500 employee cases in our backlog. Since early July, we have steadily increased the number of cases closed during each pay period, and we expect this to continue with processing levels on the rise.
We remain on track as per our projected progress, and I am confident that we will have these cases resolved by the end of October. This pay period, we have resolved close to 10,000 cases in the backlog.
As for Priority 1 and 2, we continue to see low numbers of reported cases.
Since my last update, we received 47 new Priority 1 cases. All have either been paid today or will be paid on the next pay day.
We also received 145 new Priority 2 cases, which will be addressed within the next six weeks.
The fact that the number of newly reported cases has remained relatively stable over the past several pay periods suggests that we may be seeing baseline levels emerge.
With the potential for human error or delays within a very complex system where employees are continually moving into, within and out of the public service, we expect to continue seeing a low number of these priority cases.
Regardless of the reason for these cases, resolution is what matters. We will continue to quickly address all Priority 1 and 2 cases as part of our regular business.
Learning curve and enhancements
Since issues first emerged this past spring, our efforts have focused on urgently addressing employee pay problems. Resolving issues continues to be our focus, and once we have eliminated our backlog, we will focus on ensuring the system works as efficiently as possible as we move toward our steady state.
Right now, we are not processing incoming pay transactions as quickly as we would like. Once users get more training and experience with the system, their proficiency will increase.
We are already seeing some improvements. Our compensation advisors are processing cases with greater ease and speed. As well, we are making enhancements to Phoenix and identifying opportunities to streamline our processes so pay can be administered more efficiently. But there is still much to be done to get to our steady state, including making sure the system is always online and running smoothly.
As you may know, yesterday we experienced an issue with servers providing secure access to Phoenix and other applications. This issue cost us valuable processing time. Both my department and Shared Services Canada are working closely to mitigate against similar situations in the future.
I'd like to take this opportunity to remind employees that they can request financial support from their organizations if they are missing any part of their pay. These payments can be issued within 24 to 48 hours, and anyone having difficulty getting them can contact us through our feedback form for assistance.
Working with departments
We continue to work very closely with our partners to ensure users are effectively interacting with Phoenix.
We are delivering focused training sessions for the human resources community. By helping human resources experts better understand how information flows accurately to Phoenix, we will decrease pay problems and shorten the time it takes to process pay requests.
Now, I'd like to take a moment to address the issue of accountability for this situation. I understand that people want to know how and why this situation was allowed to happen. I also want answers. But we have to take the time to review the facts. This work will happen through our own internal assessment and through the work of the Auditor General. I expect that multiple points of failure will be identified, and we need to understand these fully. At this point, I believe it would be wrong to state that one person, or one element, is to blame. This is too important, too big of a transformation with too big of an impact, for us not to be thorough in our evaluation of this situation.
Once we have a complete understanding of what went wrong, appropriate steps will be taken. However, right now, we remain focused on getting employees paid and ensuring our pay system works.
I know that many employees across the public service have faced financial hardship because of the current pay issues. We know how frustrating this situation is and we are working tirelessly to resolve all outstanding pay issues and help those who have suffered financial stress.
My colleague Renée LaFontaine, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Corporate Services at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, is here today to explain the new claims process that employees can use to request reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses related to public service pay problems.
Marie Lemay, P.Eng., ing.
Public Services and Procurement Canada
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