Government commits to ‘move away from Phoenix’ and build new pay system

Government commits to 'move away from Phoenix' and build new pay system

The Phoenix pay system led to many protests across the country. File photo.

The Phoenix pay system led to many protests across the country. File photo.

The federal Liberals say the flawed Phoenix pay system is destined for the ash heap – and the government will spend $16 million over the next two years looking for a replacement that can rise in its place.

The commitment to begin development of a new pay system is included in Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s latest budget and comes just one day before angry civil servants were set to protest the second anniversary of the launch of the problem-plagued system.

Starting in April, the government will begin efforts “on a way forward on a new pay system” in consultation with technology providers, pay system experts and public service unions.

In the meantime, the budget provides a sobering estimate of just how long it will take – and how expensive it will be – to deal with problems created by the current pay system.

The budget sets aside an additional $431.4 million over six years to fix existing pay problems for more than 300,000 workers.

Since its launch in February 2016, tens of thousands of federal employees have been underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all.

The government says it will also consider changing tax laws so civil servants who are dealing with pay issues are not forced to pay taxes they may owe on mistaken overpayments until their pay problems are resolved.

The budget also opens the door to a potential settlement of lawsuits that have been launched as a result of the pay debacle.

At least one civil service union is hailing the budget measure as a positive step.

Story by The Canadian Press


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