Changes to the pay system
June 12, 2012
Like our colleagues in other public service unions, we were informed only recently by the Treasury Board that it intended to introduce a “pay in arrears” system starting in January 2014 – this despite repeated assurances that no changes to the pay system were being contemplated.
The pay in arrears system would bring about a change in pay periods for public service employees. Currently, you are paid on Wednesday for a two-week period commencing on Sunday of the previous week; the pay you receive includes your hours of work for Thursday, Friday and in some cases Saturday of the pay week. For example, the pay issued on June 19, 2013, covers the period from June 9 to 22.
Under the new system, instead of being paid on Wednesday of the second week for the two weeks currently in progress, you would be paid on Thursday for the previous period of two weeks. So, if we revisit the above example, under the new system, the pay of Wednesday, June 19 would be issued on Thursday, June 20, but it would cover the period from Sunday June 2 to Saturday June 15. This is known as a “pay in arrears” system.
The main problem with this change, which we heard about through the grapevine, since the Treasury Board did not consult any bargaining agents on the subject, is that employees would receive an “advance” for the first pay period in January so as not to have a period without pay; this advance would then be recovered through deductions from employees’ pay over the next 24 pay periods. So you would be given an advance of funds that you have already earned in part, and those funds would then be deducted from your subsequent pay amounts. This unprecedented shell game will generate phantom income for the government. Employees would eventually receive their last two weeks of pay after they leave their jobs.
We will of course be working in conjunction with other public service bargaining agents to obtain additional information about this, and to make sure that no public service employees are penalized if this changeover actually does take place this coming January. Under the collective agreements that are currently in place, the parties must hold consultations regarding any changes to terms and conditions of employment during the effective periods of those agreements. If you have any questions on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org