Ottawa·Phoenix Falling

Pay problems on parental leave make public servant feel 'penalized'

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.

'I feel like I'm penalized for taking the parental leave'

Phoenix pay problems a 'lot of stress'

7 years ago
Duration 1:49
Federal public servant Alex Ienzi is facing pay problems while on leave caring for his five-month-old son to support his wife who is recovering from a car accident.

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.

Here is Alex Ienzi's story:

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Friday, April 8 was my last day of work and Monday, April 11, I was to begin my nine-month parental leave.

Months prior to me leaving, I contacted our pay centre to figure out what was needed to be done, what forms needed to be filled out. This was not a easy task — many of my emails were not replied to. As well as many of my phone calls, where I was on hold for over an hour, led to more questions.

Finally, I did have everything done but up until my last day of work I was still trying to get confirmation that I had done all the required steps, which I did on my very last day April 8.

Normally, I would not be taking nine months off as my wife would be taking most of the parental leave. Unfortunately, she was involved in a serious car accident and I was needed to take the time off to take care of her, our newborn and our three year old.

It's been now nearly four months and I am still waiting for my record of employment to be sent to Service Canada. As well, I am still receiving my regular pay. 

I have made several calls to our pay service centre and they have told me at least four times that my request has need marked urgent and will be escalated.

I have spoken to Service Canada and they have told me there is nothing they can do because I have not received my record of employment. Also I should be contacting my employer to have them stop my pay which is very difficult because when I do call them all they do is tell me they are marking my ticket as urgent and escalating the issue.

This is a very tough time, like I said, my wife is going through her issues with the accident.

I have two young children and I have mortgages and bills which is stressful enough.

Taking parental leave I am told is a great opportunity to bond with your children but all I do is stress about my parental pay not knowing what will happen — I have no idea what to do at this point.

I have 15 years of service and this stress should not be something that I should be dealing with. I have never claimed any [EI] or any other benefit prior to this. With my first child, I only took one week.

I feel like I'm penalized for taking the parental leave.