Ottawa·Phoenix Falling

Returned from maternity leave to a job without paycheques

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.

'My credit card is maxed, my savings are depleted and I am racking up interest and NSF fees'

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 a public servant who recently returned from maternity leave:

I am sure you have received a ton of emails about this, but after getting off the phone with the Pay Centre and again there has been no progress on my file, I feel the need to try and broadcast my story in any way I can.

I returned to work from maternity leave on April 25, 2016 after having my second child. I have still to this date not been paid and will not be receiving a paycheque this coming pay day as for some reason they still have not "processed" my file. My file was transferred to a team leader on June 14 and I have spoken to the Pay Centre three times since then to try and tell them that I am in serious financial crisis and they still have not found the time to get me back in the system. 

It is my son's third birthday on Wednesday and I can't even buy him a present.- Public servant who recently returned from maternity leave

My husband and I are a young family just at the beginning of our careers so we don't have a lot of back up money. My husband's wages aren't enough to cover all our expenses alone. I am at the point where I have borrowed money from several family members and even a coworker to cover my bills and groceries.

My credit card is maxed, my savings are depleted and I am racking up interest and NSF fees that I feel I should not have to pay for in the end but of course I'm sure they will not be reimbursing us for this.

It is my son's third birthday on Wednesday and I can't even buy him a present. I keep trying to be hopeful and telling myself, 'Don't worry, you will be in the system this time,' and every time I call (after dialling over and over to get through and waiting for over one hour sometimes) it turns out they are still "working on it."

Yes, they offer emergency advances but that does not make up for two months without a paycheque and the first time I requested one it took them two weeks to get it to me! They are also creating more work for themselves from all the advance requests which is just taking more time away from them actually working on people's files!

Thank you for taking the time to read this email and for continuing to report on this issue. I don't know any other employer in this country that could get away with doing this without being brought to the labour board so please keep shaming them for ruining people's lives!