Ottawa·Phoenix Falling

Leave confusion adds to bereaved daughter's grief

CBC Ottawa asked for stories from federal public servants who aren't getting paid properly — either too little, too much or not at all — since the Phoenix payroll system took over the distribution of their paycheques.

Granted compassionate leave, public servant fears penalty for double dipping

Louise Soyez returned to work to discover she'd been overpaid during her compassionate leave from the federal public service. (CBC)

CBC Ottawa has invited federal public servants to share their personal stories of financial struggle under the government's problem-plagued Phoenix payroll system.

Some aren't being paid properly. Some have been overpaid. Some, not at all. 

If you want to add your story to our coverage please email us.

Every day for the next few weeks, we'll post an excerpt from a different employee.

From public servant Louise Soyez:

I applied for compassionate leave on April 26 (pressured by my manager!) after using my vacation days and other paid leave to care for my mother who had cancer and [was] terminally ill in Laval, Que. The leave was approved.

My mother died on June 6. I had no access to a computer nor my bank account while caring for my mom in palliative care.

'You can't think about money'

6 years ago
Duration 1:14
Public servant struggled to find answers from pay centre while grieving her mother's death.

Until her death she knew I was on unpaid leave and she was giving me money through my brother.

The day she died I was lucky to get through [to] Service Canada to inform them that payment should stop as I would be considered on bereavement.

The agent said I had not receive any payments because my employer failed to provide my employment record, [which is] mandatory to receive compassionate leave.

Back to Ottawa I tried to call the Pay Centre ... to no avail. I went to my bank to realize that my salary had not stopped. I am back at work and trying to sort out the extra payments as I do not want any actions for double dipping. 

I am lucky as I did receive money, however I was thinking of other public servants caring for a loved one [who's] terminally ill (child or parent) and not receiving any compensation — this is truly negligence.