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May 6th, 2019
May 6th, 2019

Phoenix Damages

Dear AJC members,

As mentioned in previous communications, I, as your AJC President, co-chair the Subcommittee on Phoenix Damages. I am pleased to announce that the parties have come to a tentative agreement.

The subcommittee has worked diligently over the last 2 years to find a fair and practical framework to redress a variety of harms experienced by hundreds of thousands of people. This very complex problem was made more difficult by the desire to find a solution that did not require using the Phoenix pay system itself.  For these reasons, the committee ultimately decided against options such as cash payments.  We also had to consider that not all public servants were harmed to the same degree.  

As you know, employment issues for federal servants fall under the FPSLRA.  This legislative framework is different from the common law and differs from many of the employment law or tort concepts that you may be familiar with.

Here is the outline of the settlement:

As a starting point, five days of paid leave will be granted to every public servant. Every public servant that was on strength for a single day in the year gets the entitlement for the year, whether or not they were part-time, indeterminate, or on leave.

The claims centre will continue to reimburse employees for out-of-pocket costs incurred as a result of missing or incorrect pay.

Additional compensation, evaluated on a case-by-case basis, will be provided for those who suffered severe impacts, and include individuals who fell ill, were on maternity, parental or long-term disability, who were delayed several payments or owed more than $1500 in interest for late or missing pay, as well as those who missed opportunities to earn interest on savings accounts or other financial and capital investments; paid interest on loans or debt due to delays in receiving severance or pension payments; and/or experienced severe personal or financial hardship due to Phoenix pay issues.

As in all cases, damages are only a recognition of loss. They do not fully compensate us for all the stress, financial loss, aggravation or lost opportunity. Nor does it diminish our right to be paid what we are owed.

The AJC will continue the necessary work to ensure that each and every one of our members receives every dollar that is owed to them.

Given the limitations we had to work with, we believe this negotiated framework is both fair and reasonable, and has yielded a far better result than what could have granted had we asked the FPSLREB to grant us relief under the FPSLRA.

In the coming days, elected officials of all bargaining agents will review the terms of the tentative agreement before confirming their agreement. We will provide further updates as soon as they become available.

If you have any questions, please consult our FAQ here and contact your regional Governing Council representative.

Ursula Hendel, AJC President

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