Ottawa

PIPSC wants temporary parallel pay system until 'Phoenix fiasco' is fixed

The head of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada wants the federal government to set up a temporary parallel pay system until Phoenix is fixed, and to give more employees access to emergency salary advances.

PIPSC also demands wider access to emergency pay

Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service, says the government should set up a temporary pay system to work alongside Phoenix for employees who aren't getting paid at all, or whose pay is substantially reduced. (CBC)

The head of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada wants the federal government to set up a temporary parallel pay system until Phoenix is fixed, and to give more employees access to emergency salary advances.

The temporary system would be used for employees receiving substantially reduced pay or no pay at all, Debi Daviau said at a news conference late Thursday morning.

"I was, frankly, shocked to learn yesterday ... that no mention of this much-needed temporary parallel pay system was forthcoming," Daviau said, referring to a Wednesday update on the Phoenix situation by Marie Lemay, deputy minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, or PSPC.

Phoenix, a computerized pay system, rolled out last February, leading to complaints by tens of thousands of federal employees. Some were underpaid, others were overpaid and some were not paid at all. 

'It's been almost a year'

Daviau also said unions were told in December that Treasury Board and PSPC would look into expanding salary advances — a move that would require some policy changes.

This was not their fault, and they should not be paying the price for this ill-conceived project.- Debi Daviau, PIPSC

"We were promised that the shortcomings with emergency pay would be addressed, and that someone who has not been adequately paid could have access to these salary advances," she said.

"Right now, they have nothing. It's been almost a year since the Phoenix fiasco was foisted on our members, and we need to see better systems in place to help struggling civil servants. This was not their fault, and they should not be paying the price for this ill-conceived project, and they should definitely not be asked to shoulder the burden of chasing down their pay."

PIPSC has so far issued loans to about 15 members who have demonstrated financial hardship, Daviau said.

Asked by a reporter whether having to set up a temporary system would only complicate matters more, Daviau said it's necessary.

"In my view, no amount of administrative burden is too much for the government to shoulder, given its obligation to pay its employees," she said.

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