Public Service Employee Survey: Phoenix debacle drags on, remote work still top of mind

The results of the 2022 Public Service Employee Survey show that – even seven years on – the effects of the Phoenix pay disaster still impact a significant number of federal public service workers.

After seven years, nearly three quarters of federal workers surveyed (65%) are still experiencing stress related to Phoenix pay issues and whether or not their next pay period will be affected by pay errors.

Phoenix: Problems persist 

The survey shows that nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents are still experiencing pay issues, so many years later. This confirms the government's own data showing that instead of decreasing, the Phoenix backlog of cases is in fact increasing. The backlog is now at 436,000 cases, the highest numbers we have seen since 2019. Instead of making progress, they are sliding backwards.

Phoenix also continues to impact workers’ decisions to transfer to new jobs or take a promotion, affecting morale in the federal public service. One-third of respondents (34%) are concerned their pay will be disrupted if they move to another position.

PSAC represents over half the federal public service and will continue to demand the government takes urgent action to resolve the Phoenix pay backlog and prioritize solutions to end this disaster.

Follow all our work on Phoenix

Remote work 

Just over 110,000 workers responded to survey questions about hybrid and remote work. The survey clearly shows that the vast majority of employees who have the ability to work remotely are comfortable with the arrangement and feel they have better work-life balance.

Four out of five (80%) respondents said that having the flexibility to choose where they work allows them to have a better work-life balance. One third (35%) indicated they worked in the office one day per week, while another third reported working two out of five days per week (31%). It is clear workers feel they have better work-life balance when presented with hybrid work options.

Fewer than 50% of respondents thought that it was important to be in the workplace for events such as meetings, onboarding, training, and collaboration.

The newly improved remote-work language in Treasury Board and Canada Revenue Agency collective agreements puts an end to the government’s one-size-fits-all approach to remote work. PSAC members now have their rights protected though a grievance process and access to a joint union-management panel in each department to address issues related to the employer’s application of the remote work directive in the workplace.

The annual PSES survey, which measures federal government employees’ opinions about their engagement, workplace well-being and compensation, was completed by almost 190,000 workers.


July 11, 2023