After years of hard work, Sue Genereux earned her dream job — a coveted investigator position with the Transportation Safety Board. But more than two years of consistent Phoenix pay issues made the PSAC-UCTE member anxious and unsure if she could reliably support her family.
With her trust in her employer broken, and her faith in the Phoenix pay system lost, she made the difficult decision to leave the public service in March 2018 and is now working in the private sector.
“It was a real disappointment to pick up and leave at that point, because that’s kind of what I thought my life’s work was going to be,” said Sue. “But nothing was ever handled correctly when it came to my pay, and I couldn’t afford to keep going through that.”
Sue started her public service career in 2015 working for Transport Canada in Ottawa. After several years, and three position changes with Transport Canada, she landed the job she’s always wanted with the Transportation Safety Board.
"Every pay period I was wondering ‘am I going to get paid this week? Is my pay going to be correct?’”
But each promotion meant more mistakes on her paycheque. Overtime and on-call hours made her pay complicated and Phoenix never got it right. Plus, she remained on her previous department’s payroll the entire time she worked for the Transportation Safety Board.
“Phoenix was heavy to live with. Every pay period I was wondering ‘am I going to get paid this week? Is my pay going to be correct?’” said Sue. “And it was even more stressful for me because I was still being paid by my former department. So, I was worried that they would suddenly stop paying me and I would have no money coming in at all.”
To make matters worse, Sue continued receiving biweekly paycheques for four months after she resigned from her position. She contacted her employer to flag the erroneous payments and remembers being told, “Look, it’s Phoenix. There’s nothing we can do. We can’t rejig the system. It’ll all come out in the wash, so just keep the money aside and pay it back when they ask you.”
Last month, Sue received a letter from the government saying she owes $10,000 in overpayments from 2018. That’s when she turned to PSAC for support. Like tens of thousands of our members who were paid incorrectly by Phoenix, Sue can’t be sure how much she owes the government until her whole pay file is reviewed.
“I just can’t understand how the federal government can get away with this — it’s ruined people’s lives.”
We’ve escalated her pay issue and will fight to make sure the amount she owes is correct before any recovery takes place. PSAC has also raised serious concerns with Treasury Board about its overpayment recovery plan. If you’ve received a letter demanding repayment, check out our step-by-step guide on how to proceed.
“I just can’t understand how the federal government can get away with this — it’s ruined people’s lives,” said Sue. “The system is just so discombobulated and disconnected. There are a lot of really good people who are trying to do a good job and they can’t because the system is so broken.”
Learn more about PSAC’s call for the government to take action to address ongoing Phoenix pay issues and our resources to pressure MPs to take urgent action to make this right.