Pay Error - Member's Rigth to be Made Aware

Topic

Pay Error - Member's Rigth to be Made Aware

Case number

Description

The grievor, an untrained officer in the rank of Second Lieutenant, transferred to the Reserve Force in the Navy after six years in the Regular Force (Reg F).  On transfer, she was paid by error at the pay level designated for officers Commissioning from the Ranks (CFR).  Naval Reserve Headquarters (NAVRES HQ) discovered the pay error and the grievor was subsequently required to repay $5,764.12.

The Committee noted that the grievor was not copied on any of the email traffic during the timeframe when the pay error was first discovered. Consequently, she remained unaware that her pay rate was incorrect and would change until she found out over a year later.

Regrettably, the unit failed to correct the grievor’s pay when the error was first discovered.  Because the grievor was unaware of the problem, the pay error continued and the overpayment liability of the grievor grew for another year.

The grievor then had to repay the additional amount attributable to that extra period of time. Obviously the amount to be recovered would have been much lower had the error been corrected as soon as the unit was first advised. The error was serious on its own, but the harm to the grievor was greatly compounded by the CAF’s failure to correct it once discovered. The end result was that the grievor had to repay a much larger amount of money.

The Committee noted that it has commented in past files, and the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) has agreed, that a member should be able to rely on the accuracy of information and advice that they receive from the CAF pay experts who know much more about payroll than does the member.  The Committee found it unreasonable to ask members to be responsible for knowing all the intricacies and subtleties of the pay system with its complicated policies and regulations.

The Committee pointed out that if the CAF pay experts with all their training and experience are making such errors, what real chance does a soldier or sailor have of detecting and correcting them?

The Committee concluded that because the grievor was not copied on the correspondence discussing her pay error, she had no situational awareness of the matter nor any opportunity to ensure that a timely resolution occurred.

Recommendation

The Committee recommended that the CDS direct that any correspondence generated by CAF pay authorities regarding the pay of a specific CAF member must be disclosed to that member at the time of issue.

Final Authority Decision

The FA did not address the Committee's systemic recommendation.

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