Canadian civil servants mark Phoenix payroll system’s 2nd birthday with rallies Canadian civil servants mark Phoenix payroll system’s 2nd birthday with rallies

Canadian civil servants mark Phoenix payroll system’s 2nd birthday with rallies
07 Mar 2018

Federal public servants have joined rallies across Canada to mark the second anniversary of the troubled Phoenix payroll system.

Robyn Benson, president of one of the country’s largest trade unions the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) said that, even though the Federal budget has provided more money to fix Phoenix and explore the possibility of adopting new applications, the measures did not go far enough.

According to Ottawa Citizen, another CAN$431 million (US$335 million) over six years was pledged in the budget to fix ongoing payroll problems. Part of the plan involves hiring more HR staff in the 101 departments that use Phoenix, but Benson said it was unclear whether these “compensation advisors” would be permanent employees.

The federal government also promised to amend the tax law from this year in order to address major complaints by public servants who have been overpaid. The change would mean they only have to pay back the net rather than the gross amount they owe, a change that PSAC and other unions have been lobbying for.

But it is not clear whether all employees who were overpaid during 2016 and 2017 will be exempt from paying back the gross amount, Benson said. More than half of the nation’s 300,000 public servants have experienced problems with their pay.

According to CBC, the minister responsible for Phoenix Carla Qualtrough said the government was aware of problems associated with a similar system launched in Australia and have learned from its mistakes. There are no plans to scrap it immediately, she added, although the government is looking at a possible replacement to be introduced in two or three years' time.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

Federal public servants have joined rallies across Canada to mark the second anniversary of the troubled Phoenix payroll system.

Robyn Benson, president of one of the country’s largest trade unions the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) said that, even though the Federal budget has provided more money to fix Phoenix and explore the possibility of adopting new applications, the measures did not go far enough.

According to Ottawa Citizen, another CAN$431 million (US$335 million) over six years was pledged in the budget to fix ongoing payroll problems. Part of the plan involves hiring more HR staff in the 101 departments that use Phoenix, but Benson said it was unclear whether these “compensation advisors” would be permanent employees.

The federal government also promised to amend the tax law from this year in order to address major complaints by public servants who have been overpaid. The change would mean they only have to pay back the net rather than the gross amount they owe, a change that PSAC and other unions have been lobbying for.

But it is not clear whether all employees who were overpaid during 2016 and 2017 will be exempt from paying back the gross amount, Benson said. More than half of the nation’s 300,000 public servants have experienced problems with their pay.

According to CBC, the minister responsible for Phoenix Carla Qualtrough said the government was aware of problems associated with a similar system launched in Australia and have learned from its mistakes. There are no plans to scrap it immediately, she added, although the government is looking at a possible replacement to be introduced in two or three years' time.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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