Federal Pay Woes To Stretch Past April


Pity the federal public servant. Want to know why?

Check out this story from the Ottawa Business Journal:

It’s unlikely that any single person will be held accountable for the government’s failed employee pay system, a senior federal bureaucrat told a news conference Wednesday.

The costs of dealing with the pay problems will also likely continue well into the new fiscal year, which begins April 1, said Marie Lemay, deputy minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada.

The department continues to struggle with a backlog of about 8,000 cases of government employees who have experienced problems with their paycheques, ranging from being underpaid to being overpaid, or not being paid at all.
To read the full story from the Ottawa Business Journal, click here.



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5 thoughts on “Federal Pay Woes To Stretch Past April

  1. Will the Phoenix ever rise?

    I am not sure how many weeks I’d have to go to work without being paid before quitting. I quess I might have given my boss a couple of weeks grace then it would have been – bring me bars of gold or silver by Friday or else it’s bye-bye.

    Are employees dedicated or trapped? Trapped would be my vote.

    This issue should not have been allowed to go on for so long. If they couldn’t fix it within a few weeks, then they should have hired as many payroll clerks as it took and started writing paycheques.

    Pshaw on the Federal powers-that-be.

    Tells you an awful lot about the mind-set of the entitled elite when they are so willing to sacrifice their employees’ mental health and well-being.

  2. Converting software systems is not new. The concept, as was taught to me back in the mid 1980’s was, and has remained ever since:
    1. ensure that the new system is robust and works;
    2. ensure that everyone who will be using the software is properly trained;
    3. run the two systems in parallel (i.e. data is entered into both systems, with the results compared) for at least two consecutive periods of identical results.

    Does this require extra resources? Yes. Is this hard on the employees? Yes. Is it “rocket science”? No.

    Failing to ensure that each of the three steps are taken care introduces an exponential level of risk, with the most likely outcome being failure. So, which of these three simple steps were not followed? Based on media reports from the press conferences held by senior federal government officials, it appears that the federal government failed on steps two and three. It has been acknowledged that staff have not used the software properly, implying that staff were not properly trained. Had the federal government run the systems in parallel, then they would have been in a position to run Phoenix off until they resolved step two, unless of course step one is also, an as yet unacknowledged problem.

    So, why were they surprised that when they achieved the most likely outcome, notably failure?

    1. I am going to call a spade a spade here. They were surprised because they are stupid and incompetent.

      Just by not running a parallel system until all bugs were fixed proves that. I was a programmer in the ’60s and step 1, 2 and 3 are all mandatory.

      Another point … wonder how long it would take to fix if MPs and senators didn’t get reimbursed for their expense accounts on a timely basis?

  3. I remember reading a while ago, that no senior civil servant associated with this project would get their bonus until all problems were fixed. I hope that they really meant that no senior civil service associated with the project would be getting any bonus ever in respect of this project, except unless someone totally outside was called in to fix this mess.

    If this were the private sector, there would have been myriad of lawsuits by now. Amazing how the civil service rolled over for the Liberals on this one.

  4. Shows an alarming level of incompetence in senior management, and very poor judgment at the executive level.

    A lousy executive can get away with a lot if they have diligent employees, and lousy employees can be prompted to produce better work by executives who care about details and ask the right questions. Or in this case they collectively make a mess of it and there’s zero consequence, and ultimately that’s the problem with public service.

    And now everybody goes around saying how “unacceptable” all of it is, though we continue to accept it, and with no end in sight. As reported in The Hill Times, the extra staff hired to answer phones can’t actually look at pay files or answer any question about pay. All they can do for callers is fill out the online feedback form on their behalf over the phone. They have no pay training and no security clearance. There is no way for an employee to speak to anyone at an actual pay office. Can you imagine working at a place, not getting paid, and not being able to speak to anyone who may be able to do something about it? It’s incredible.

    Meanwhile the “focus” is on an arbitrary number of files up to July 2016, even though new files are still taking several months to get processed, with new employees being told not to expect to be paid for 2.5 months, on average.

    Why do people stay?
    – even if they left, the pay office wouldn’t issue a record of employment for many months, so no EI if you were thinking of that…
    – Ottawa’s job market has only so many alternatives when you already work for the largest employer,
    – pension and benefits … and would you leave that behind after one or two months of no pay? What if they fixed it a week after you left? They keep saying it is “unacceptable” after all.

    In the end, this is a consequence of Trudeau’s “deliverology” nonsense, the idea of let’s just deliver results and deal with risks and issues as they come. And that’s where his lack of executive experience is glaring, he doesn’t see a preventable problems like this one until it’s too late, because he doesn’t have the experience.


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