Federal Lawyers Scramble to find Information as Management Fails to Properly Keep Track of Sick Leave and Vacation :: Association of Justice Counsel News
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October 8th, 2013
October 8th, 2013
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Federal Lawyers Scramble to find Information as Management Fails to Properly Keep Track of Sick Leave and Vacation

Our members now find themselves faced with unilateral adjustments imposed by their department.

The Association of Justice Counsel, which represents 2,700 lawyers serving Canadians, has requested an expedited hearing at the Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB) on an issue that has caused a great deal of concern to AJC members over the last few months: leave reconciliation.
 
´For years, AJC members working at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Public Prosecution Services Canada (PPSC) took their approved leaves in good faith, thinking everything was okay, says AJC President, Lisa Blais. Now, several years later, they are suddenly told they have to go back as far as six years to retrace and account for leaves, such as sick days and vacation that were approved by management!´
 
Due to these departments´ failure to adequately maintain approval records, federal government lawyers, whose integrity is not being questioned at all, were told in so many words that they would now be bearing the burden of proving that leave taken in the last 6 years was in fact approved. Our members now find themselves faced with unilateral adjustments imposed by their department. Some have had to reimburse as much as 10 vacation days.
 
This burden being imposed on approximately 2,200 government lawyers, who do not have care and control of corporate documents, is not only unreasonable, it cannot be met.
 
Why you ask? The majority of records that would allow for a lawyer to reconstruct their prior leave approvals, no longer exist.

Why don´t they exist? Many record keeping protocols provide for automated deletion of various email or calendar entries after a defined period, such as two years.

Who is supposed to have care and control over employee-related records? Management has responsibility for care and control.
 
At issue are two distinct time-keeping systems used by DOJ and PPSC: iCase and Peoplesoft.  The primary purpose of iCase is to track case files and docket time worked for the purposes of billing client departments. Peoplesoft, for its part, is primarily a human resources tool intended to track leave.
 
These two systems now have to be reconciled following a review conducted by the Comptroller General of Canada. While the PSLRB has previously addressed these types of scenarios and has sided with employees, we remain confused as to why, under these circumstances, DOJ and PPSC did not simply admit to the Comptroller General the errors of their ways in explaining the gaps.
 
For the AJC, this remains a true mystery in the face of the accountability and transparency agenda being promoted by the current government.
 
Treasury Board dismissed the AJC´s policy grievance in this leave reconciliation matter and that is why the AJC is now requesting an expedited hearing before the PSLRB to settle this issue once and for all.


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