Leave Reconciliation at DOJ Rears its Ugly Head :: Association of Justice Counsel News
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July 20th, 2016
July 20th, 2016
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Leave Reconciliation at DOJ Rears its Ugly Head

Three years after reconciling "anomalies" between leave entered in iCase and Peoplesoft, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking to collect on "leave deficits" that could not be supported on account of inadequate or missing records.  Unfortunately, despite our request that DOJ postpone its recovery efforts until the PSLREB ruling is actually issued, DOJ has decided to move forward, knowing full well that these transactions may need to be reversed.

DOJ has set a deadline of July 31 for members to reply to their Trusted Source as to how they want to "repay" the missing time.  

We are particularly disturbed by the timing.  Not only are we all awaiting the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board decision, this is happening in the middle of the government's Phoenix Pay Crisis and is diverting critical resources away from fixing it.  

Here is what we know:

  • DOJ is looking to rectify leave credits now dating back as far as 9 years.
  • Applicable statutory limitation periods are being ignored.
  • The issue regarding whether or not the banks were inaccurate in the first place is a matter for the PSLREB to determine having regard to poor and mixed record-keeping practices of the department that members were asked to recreate in order to justify the status of their leave banks.
  • Record-keeping and access to records are expected to be an ongoing challenge.
  • The adjudicator's mandate has been extended in order that she may finish her work on this file.
  • The PSLREB does not provide estimated timelines on when decisions are expected to be issued.
  • If the grievance is allowed, the AJC expects the adjudicator to order the department to reverse all infringing transactions.
  • Given the ongoing Pay Crisis, the Pay Centre is unlikely to give any reversals priority.
  • If members don't confirm the method of recovery or respond within the timelines, the department may make unilateral adjustments to your pay, your leave bank, or if you are retired, your pension payments.
  • Contrary to provincial legislation which requires written consent of employees to recover "debts", no such provisions exist in the federal public sector.
  
What can you do?

The AJC recommends:
  • That all members take photos and/or printouts of their existing leave banks before and after DOJ makes any unilateral adjustments.
  • That members who object as to whether or not a "debt to the Crown" exists, note their objections for the record.
  • That you maintain all records of your exchanges with the department in case these are required in the context of a reversal.

The PSLREB is currently seized with the matter.   However, the AJC will consider whether it might be worthwhile to consider other options in the face of the pending PSLREB decision.  The AJC will report back to members on any new developments.

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