Phoenix pay problem backlog declines, but half of workers still impacted

OTTAWA — The backlog of problems created by the federal government's faulty electronic pay system has dropped below 200,000 for the first time since shortly after it was brought fully online in 2016.

But the government says almost half of federal employees paid through the Phoenix system are still experiencing some form of pay issue, including being underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all.

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Pay administrators reduced the backlog of problem files to 197,000 as of Jan. 22, according to the latest public-service pay centre dashboard — about half the number of cases they were dealing with at the Phoenix system's worst in January 2017.

Last week, the government introduced a claims process that will allow current and former employees to apply for compensation for severe financial costs and lost investment income resulting from the Phoenix debacle.

The process is part of an agreement reached last year with public-service unions representing more than 140,000 federal employees, which also provides for extra days off to compensate for time lost in trying to sort through individual pay problems.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents the majority of federal workers, has yet to reach a compensation agreement with the government.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2020.

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