Pay in arrears – Changeover to start in January

July 18, 2013 Since we last reported on this issue in June, the government has confirmed that it will be amending the pay system for all federal public service employees by gradually introducing “pay in arrears” starting in January 2014. This new measure will affect CAPE’s EC and TR members.
Pay periods will be revised under the new system. Instead of being paid on the second Wednesday of the current two-week period, as is now the case, public service employees will be paid for that period on the second Thursday of the following two-week period. This is known as “pay in arrears.”
After a careful review of the provisions of the EC and TR collective agreements, we have concluded that, although this change was not negotiated and will be effected without prior consultation, it does not contravene the clauses of the collective agreements of these two groups. In fact, the Employer is solely responsible for pay administration and may effect administrative changes provided that they do not in any way alter rates of pay.
The Treasury Board’s decision to implement such changes without first discussing them with the bargaining agents is unfortunate, in our view. We are also troubled by the fact that the Treasury Board denied for months that these changes were in the offing, only to finally admit that they were about to be implemented. We feel that consultations could have resolved a number of problems that are likely to arise during the changeover to this new system.
CAPE’s members and the entire federal public service were affected by the austerity measures in the 2012 federal budget that reduced the government’s ability to serve the Canadian public. As you all know, the resulting job cuts undermined morale in the public service, and the announcement of impending changes to the pay system will do nothing to improve it.
While we do not plan to file any grievances to dispute these administrative changes to the pay system, we will be meeting with Canadian parliamentarians this fall to inform them of our concerns about the cavalier manner in which the present government is treating its employees. We will also make sure they understand the nature of this accounting shell game and how it will play out in Canada’s public finances: introducing the “pay in arrears” system will mean an immediate reduction in the federal public accounts because the two weeks of deferred wages will show up as a saving in the government’s current salary expenditures. But let’s not kid ourselves: this saving on paper will be drawn from the sweat of the government’s salaried employees – and that is the message we will be communicating to Canadian senators and MPs.
If you have any questions on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact us at general@acep-cape.ca.