Measures undertaken to address pay issues

We are working closely with other departments to ensure employees in need of financial assistance because of missing pay receive an emergency salary advance. We also want to assure those employees receiving inaccurate pay that their pay issues will be addressed.

We are focusing our efforts on two areas: closing cases remaining in our backlog, and moving toward our steady state by increasing our processing speed for incoming transactions.

To date, we have taken the following actions to address employee pay issues following the transition to the new pay system.

Increased services

Our call centre in Toronto is triaging pay issues, ensuring employees at the Pay Centre in Miramichi and in our satellite offices can continue to focus on processing cases.

Our satellite offices are located in Gatineau, Winnipeg, Shawinigan and Montréal, with a total of 216 compensation advisors. This total is more than double what we originally planned.

Among the advisors working in our satellite offices, 96 come from other federal organizations.

We thank the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which helped recruit employees for the new temporary pay units.

We continue to recruit and train new employees through the one-year Compensation Professional Development Program.

More proficient compensation advisors and the types of transactions in the queue have led to improved processing times at our Pay Centre in Miramichi. A dedicated group of expert compensation advisors here, and in our satellite offices, are completing work on the backlog cases, most of which pre-date Phoenix. These cases generally involve supplementary pay, such as acting pay and increments.

All other advisors are focusing on priority areas, including disability cases, return from leave and leave without pay, terminations and new hires.

On average, the queue should contain approximately 80,000 transactions. Under normal circumstances, transactions are processed within 20 days. With the release of Phoenix, processing speed dropped to about 40,000 transactions in May (note: a single employee often has multiple transactions).

As of December 14:

In the new year, we will begin posting reports to track our processing speeds against our service standards.

Enhanced training, tools and collaboration

We are meeting regularly with the chief financial officer and human resources communities to discuss issues and identify root causes and possible solutions in dealing with Phoenix.

In September, we held 13 expert-led information sessions for over 1,000 human resources representatives across government. Six more were held in October.

In these sessions, we were:

In October, the training sessions focused on four additional issues currently affecting employee pay:

These sessions helped us adjust our training materials and examine needed system enhancements.

We are working with the Canada School of Public Service to provide employees and managers with Phoenix training, enhance and clarify our existing training material and develop additional support tools for Phoenix users.

A union/management joint committee is meeting regularly. The meetings provide a forum to discuss Phoenix issues and solutions and to share feedback from employees.

We are developing enhanced tools and additional training for employees and managers across the public service.

We continue to work with departments and agencies to keep new issues to a minimum.

We are developing a toolkit for managers with reference materials, such as checklists and tips, to help employees experiencing pay issues. This toolkit will be provided to managers through departmental human resources branches.

We have also reached out to the National Managers' Community and other communities to obtain users' feedback on their experience with Phoenix.

We will look at our current client service model and find areas for improvement.

Enhanced technology and processes

We are monitoring system performance hourly to ensure that we can access and address pay cases as quickly as possible.

We are working with IBM and pay specialists to identify ways to help our pay advisors more easily and efficiently process payments.

We have established a detailed model for processing pay requests, mapped against productivity rates, incoming work, employee availability and other variables.

We are testing different approaches to data entry which might simplify and speed up our work.

We are working to ensure that the system is ready to handle upcoming pay events.

We are working on system enhancements to technology and user training that will address existing issues, speed up timelines, increase automation and help us reach our steady state:

Employees may now repay any salary overpayments by selecting one of several options such as lump sums and installments.

On Friday, September 30, 2016, all compensation advisors briefly had unrestricted access to government employee pay information.

We have met with all the heads of human resources, chief financial officers and deputy ministers to seek feedback on pay issues faced by departments. Together, we are:

Employee compensation for out-of-pocket expenses and tax implications

Employees can now submit a claim for out-of-pocket expenses related to Phoenix pay issues.

Employees are reminded that they can request financial support from their organizations if they are missing any part of their pay.

The claims process may also compensate employees facing tax implications directly resulting from the implementation of Phoenix.

We have implemented a process to ensure that overpayments recorded in Phoenix are not reflected in an employee’s annual earnings, regardless of whether or not overpayments have been repaid.

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