Use of Priority Payments to address employee pay issues

Message to Deputy Heads
From the Secretary of the Treasury Board

Dear Colleagues:

The purpose of this message is to remind you of your discretionary authorities to support employees who are experiencing financial hardship. This applies to employees that have not received all the monies they are owed because of delays in the processing of their acting, their allowances, overtime, and extra duty payments, as well as salary increases related to a promotion or pay increments.

In effect, Emergency Salary Advances (ESAs) are used to provide new employees and employees returning from leave without pay an advance on their pay until their pay file in Phoenix can be brought up to date. Priority payments are used for employees who are already on payroll, but have not received the full amount they are owed for their regular pay.

The Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment provides Deputy Heads the authority to pay an ESA in the very specific circumstances described above. However, Deputy Heads do have more discretion when it comes to the use of priority payments. In situations of financial hardship, Deputy Heads and their delegated managers have the discretion to make a priority payment for monies employees are owed, in particular in those situations where the outstanding payments have been accumulating over an extended period of time and the amount owed to employees creates a financial hardship.

The Government of Canada is working in close collaboration with bargaining agents on issues arising from Phoenix. They have been consulted and are supportive of this initiative. In addition, please note that this message will be posted on the web sites of Treasury Board Secretariat and Public Services and Procurement Canada.

In closing, I encourage you to put in place and exercise these flexibilities in order to support our employees.

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