Nearly one in every two federal public servants on Vancouver Island receives their pay through the Phoenix system, which has been riddled with problems since it’s implementation in 2016.
” Every single payday I get people in tears on the phone with me trying to figure out how they are going to pay for their bills and feed their families,” said CEIU BC/YT president Vanessa Miller.
Continued problems causing, tens of thousands of workers to be underpaid, overpaid and in some cases not paid at all.
” It seems every two weeks there is a significant number of people who do get a zero paycheque and then have to approach the employer for an emergency salary advance,” said BC Public Services Alliances Canada Vice President Jamey Mills.
But it’s not for the full amount, only up to two-thirds of their gross pay.
Now, in the middle of the holidays more problems with processing payment requests. Which could mean for December 27th, the last payday of the year some workers may head into 2018 with nothing in their chequing accounts.
” To not be paid for the work over Christmas specifically this time, of course, every paycheque matters but Christmas? That’s just another nail in the coffin,” said PSAC BC young worker coordinator James Brierley.
Pay stubs were released early to find out who was impacted but even those are not always accurate.
“Many people are receiving pay over the weekend into their accounts so people are now starting to see if their pay stubs were, in fact, correct or if they were in fact impacted in addition to what they had seen online,” said Miller.
A program so flawed, any sudden change could trigger the Pheonix pay system to glitch. Brierley’s wife is about to go on maternity, leaving their future in limbo.
” Is she going to continue to be paid? Is she not going to be paid at all? Will she even qualify for employment insurance if they continue to pay her? So the stress of that while you are trying to care for a newborn is hugely impactful in our life,” said Brierley.
” If my paychecks aren’t stopped on time and I receive an overpayment because my work continues to pay me you have to pay back the gross amount, not the net so I will be billed at a higher payment to pay it back and I won’t receive my E.I to be off on parental,” said Shannon Brierley.
Glitch after glitch and hundreds of millions of dollars invested later, the federal government is still insisting it’s a system that can be fixed.