FAQ: Phoenix Damages Agreement
General questions about the agreement
- Does this mean I won’t get my money from Phoenix?
You will still receive any outstanding amounts owed to you that you may not have received due to Phoenix.
- Does this mean I won’t be eligible for other damages?
No. In fact, the agreement creates a faster, dedicated process for resolving individual claims. It’s also important to note that the agreement does not close off the possibility of negotiating further compensation at the bargaining table or further negotiations outside of collective bargaining should they be warranted.
- What is being awarded?
As a start, up to five days of leave are being awarded to every employee (2 days for employees who worked at least one day in 2016-17, 1 day for 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively). In addition to resolving some of the damages contained in our group policy grievance, we have also created an expedited process for resolving more serious damages cases and expanded what is eligible for reimbursement.
- Why did it take two years to come to this agreement?
There were several reasons. Firstly, the process of negotiating an agreement involved multiple parties with a variety of interests. Second, the scope of the problem accelerated over the duration of these talks. Finally, these negotiations were intertwined with collective bargaining, which lengthened the process of Phoenix negotiations.
- Which period do these damages cover?
The agreement covers damages for the following four fiscal years: 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.
- What if another union negotiates a better settlement?
In the highly unlikely event that another union secures improvements to this deal, the employer has committed to making those same improvements to this deal.
Questions regarding the leave bank credits
- How was five days of leave reached as appropriate compensation?
The five days of leave were reached as an attempt to address the immense frustration caused to employees and as a product of negotiation with the employer. Leave was chosen instead of a monetary form of compensation, as it is a tangible benefit that is both flexible and easily administered without having to further bog down the Phoenix pay system.
- What criteria do I need to meet to qualify for the leave bank credits?
In order to qualify for each fiscal year’s worth of leave, an employee needed only be employed for one day in that fiscal year(s), whether or not they were on leave, assignment or otherwise not active. For example, if you were hired to the federal public service on September 1, 2017, and have been employed since then, you will get three days of leave credited to your leave bank (2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 fiscal years).
- Are the leave days prorated if I didn’t work the full year?
To qualify for each year’s leave, you only need to have been employed one day in that fiscal year. You will receive the compensatory leave for each of the four years in which you were employed for one day.
- Can I cash out the leave days?
These additional days are treated the same as annual leave and are subject to the same cash-out provisions in your collective agreement.
- How long will it take for the leave days to be added to my leave bank?
The employer has committed to fully implementing the agreement within 150 days of signing.
- What are the criteria to use the leave days? It is the same as vacation days?
All of the criteria are the same as the annual leave provisions in your collective agreement.
- What if I am retired or recently joined the public service?
The same criteria outlined in Question 8 apply to retired or new employees to the public service, where retirees will have their additional days automatically cashed out. These days are subject to any applicable statutory deductions and are non-pensionable.
- Can we expect more leave days in the future seeing how Phoenix issues will continue?
Further negotiations will take place later in this fiscal year if Phoenix is still affecting members. For as long as there are Phoenix issues, we will seek damages and compensation through all appropriate channels.
Questions about additional damages and compensation
15. I have incurred direct expenditures due to Phoenix, what should I do?
You can complete a Claim Form for Additional Financial Expenses Incurred Because of Phoenix Pay System Errors here: https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/pay/claim-form-expenses-incurred-phoenix-errors.html.
There is no minimum threshold for out-of-pocket expense reimbursement. More details on eligible expenses will follow soon.
- I had to use sick leave because of stress related to Phoenix, am I eligible for compensation?
The agreement allows for the reimbursement of sick leave for members who took such leave because of Phoenix. There is no threshold for this reimbursement.
- I was severely impacted by Phoenix, do I have another recourse for more damages?
Employees will be able to file claims and the employer will engage in a detailed review of these claims. While a threshold of $1,500 will apply, this threshold is lower than the value of the leave each member will receive as compensation. It’s also important to recognize this is not a deductible amount; if an arbitrator ultimately rules that you are eligible for $5,000 in damages, you will get all $5,000.
- How does this Phoenix damages agreement affect collective bargaining?
The collective bargaining process is not affected. This is a partial grievance settlement and not a collective agreement.
- I currently have a grievance due to Phoenix, how does this affect my grievance?
This agreement only resolves what is dealt with within this framework. If you’re still owed pay or if you have any outstanding damages claims above and beyond this agreement, your grievance will proceed. If you have a grievance outstanding, please contact your Labour Relations Advisor, as we will manage open grievances on a case-by-case basis.