Phoenix for section 34 managers: Key self-service tasks

Avoid problems with your employees’ pay by ensuring you complete critical tasks using the Phoenix pay system’s self-service feature.

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Introduction to the self-service feature

The Phoenix pay system automates many of the most common pay-related transactions in the public service. To ensure that these transactions are accurate, managers need to confirm that the basic information about each of their employees entered in the pay system is correct.

Employees must complete certain tasks themselves before the Phoenix pay system will process any pay-related transactions for them. Meanwhile, the pay system’s self-service feature for managers allows managers authorized under the Financial Administration Act section 34 managers to complete certain key tasks on behalf of their employees who do not have access to self-service for employees. This is why it is critical that managers are familiar with the pay system’s main self-service features.

Establish and maintain the employee–section 34 manager relationship

All public service employees have a section 34 manager. This manager is responsible for reviewing and approving pay-related requests entered in the pay system. Establishing the employee–section 34 manager relationship in the Phoenix pay system enables the section 34 manager to input and approve self-service transactions on their employees’ behalf.

Only employees may establish their employee–section 34 manager relationship. Managers cannot do so on behalf of the employee.

Exception: Employees do not need to establish the employee–section 34 manager relationship if a timekeeper is responsible for completing time entries on their behalf.

A checklist for managers

  • Ensure all employees know the name of their section 34 manager
  • Ensure all employees know what to do if their section 34 manager leaves the department or goes on secondment
  • Communicate to employees the importance of updating the employee–section 34 manager relationship every time they change jobs, even in the case of an assignment or secondment
  • Review your list of employee–section 34 manager relationships to ensure it’s correct
    • Notify employees if you notice a problem they need to address

Review and update work schedules

Section 34 managers need to review and update their employees’ work schedules. Failure to properly manage and maintain employee schedules will result in inaccurate self-service results. This could affect employee payments.

Managers must assign a predefined or personal schedule to employees who follow a non-standard schedule or who must submit timesheets.

Exception: Employees whose departments use My Government of Canada Human Resources (MyGCHR) do not need to be concerned with this. Changes to MyGCHR schedules will automatically align with those in Phoenix.

Phoenix applies a default schedule based on a standard workweek for all employees. So managers of all salaried employees who work the standard 37.5 hours, 7.5 hours per day, Monday to Friday, should not need to assign a new schedule. Salaried employees receive their regular pay without reporting their time in self-service. Regardless, managers are encouraged to validate the default schedule for accuracy.

Managers who review and update work schedules

These managers should ensure they:

  • maintain employee schedules and make adjustments as required for employees who are:
    • new hires
    • returning from extended leave without pay
    • on pre-retirement transition leave
    • on compressed work arrangements
    • experiencing a status change (for example, part-time to full-time)
  • become familiar with employees’ varying schedules and work arrangements to ensure work schedules entered in Phoenix are accurate
  • verify that all employees are properly set up in the PeopleSoft Human Resources Management System (HRMS) or MyGCHR (My Government of Canada Human Resources) or other system
    • if the system says “hourly” the employee will be entered into Phoenix as “hourly,” that is, an employee who must report their time in Phoenix self-service to get paid
      • in this case, modify the employee’s schedule and enter timesheets
    • if the system says “salaried,” the employee will be entered into Phoenix as “salaried”
      • no timesheet is required in this case
Special cases

It is especially important to review and update schedules for the following:

  • employees with no fixed schedule or hours (also known as “as-and-when-required employees”)
  • employees on an approved rehabilitation program
  • part-time employees

“As-and-when-required” will not have a default work schedule and do not require predefined or personal work schedules. If the pay system creates a schedule for such an employee, the section 34 manager should delete it.

The Phoenix pay system automatically assigns a schedule of 1 hour to part-time employees. Managers need to ensure that they assign the appropriate schedule to these employees in the system.

Enter time and leave without pay

Section 34 managers whose employees use timesheets to report their hours and do not have access to the Phoenix pay system must:

  • input self-service entries on behalf of employees that do not have access
    • managers must also do this for those employees with extra duty pay and leave without pay of 5 consecutive days or less
  • correct employee timesheets whenever Phoenix generates an exception

Review worklists and exceptions

Section 34 managers must check exceptions or items pending in the worklist on a daily basis. The Phoenix pay system does not send automatic notification messages on items pending in the worklist.

Phoenix generates exceptions when a self-service entry does not satisfy the rules built into the system. Phoenix will generate payable time (adjustments to pay) only when such exceptions are of low or medium severity. In these cases, exceptions will appear in the manager’s worklist for section 34 approval.

High-severity exceptions

In the case of a high-severity exception, direct intervention is needed. Either the employee or the manager must correct the timesheet in the pay system before Phoenix will generate payable time (adjustments to pay).

Managers must make all corrections to an employee’s timesheet at least 1 day before the section 34 cut-off for that pay period or pay day. This is because once the manager or employee corrects the timesheet, the Phoenix overnight administration process must run. Only the next day will the entry appear on the manager’s worklist for approval.

Approve payable time and leave requests

Each individual pay cycle, section 34 managers must complete reviews and approvals within Phoenix self-service before the system cut-off. The cut-off occurs once the section 33 authorization is complete.

Employees and section 34 managers may make retroactive changes to self-service entries at any time prior to the self-service cut-off and to any previous pay period. Changes made to self-service entries in the current pay period, prior to the section 33 authorization, will delete the original transaction. Following the overnight process, a new transaction will appear in the manager’s worklist for approval.

Changes made to self-service entries that were previously paid or where section 33 authorization is complete (or, after the cut-off) will result in adjustments (negative or positive depending on the change). These adjustments will appear in the manager’s worklist for approval.

Phoenix automatically tracks self-service entries to avoid double payment or recovery for the same transaction. However, if a compensation advisor makes changes within self-service, managers will see transactions reappearing for approval. For example, applying a new rate of pay retroactively could generate recalculation of payment amounts for overtime or acting pay.

Part-time employees will see leave without pay for statutory holidays generated automatically, based on their schedule. These transactions do still require section 34 manager approval.

Employees on secondment must submit paper timesheets to their section 34 managers in their new department and in their home department. The employee’s section 34 manager from their home department will then enter and approve the transaction in self-service.

Approve payments

As already noted, the Phoenix system cut-off in each pay cycle occurs once the section 33 authorization is complete. This is usually done on the Monday of a non-pay week. The sequence leading up to the cut-off is as follows:

  1. the employee or section 34 manager or timekeeper inputs the entry in self-service by 8:30 pm eastern time on the Sunday
  2. the overnight administration process generates payable time
  3. the section 34 manager approves the self-service entry by 2 pm eastern time on the Monday
  4. Phoenix sends the approved transaction to the section 33 authorizer
  5. the section 33 authorizer authorizes the transaction by 9 pm eastern time on the Monday
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