Over the past several months, you have no doubt heard of some of the changes announced by the Treasury Board that will have an impact on public service employees.  The first is a change to the pay system for the federal public service which would result in a Pay in Arrears situation. The government has confirmed that it will be amending the pay system for all federal public service employees by gradually introducing “pay in arrears” starting in January 2014.

Pay periods will be revised under the new system. Instead of being paid on the second Wednesday of the current two-week period, as is now the case, public service employees will be paid for that period on the second Thursday of the following two-week period. This is known as “pay in arrears.”

The main problem with this change is that employees would receive an “advance” for the first pay period in January so as not to have a period without pay; this advance would then be recovered through deductions from employees’ pay over the next 24 pay periods. So you would be given an advance of funds that you have already earned in part, and those funds would then be deducted from your subsequent pay amounts. This unprecedented shell game will generate phantom income for the government. Employees would eventually receive their last two weeks of pay after they leave their jobs.

After a careful review of the provisions of our collective agreements, we have concluded that, although this change was not negotiated and will be effected without prior consultation, it does not contravene the clauses of the collective agreements of these two groups. In fact, the Employer is solely responsible for pay administration and may effect administrative changes provided that they do not in any way alter rates of pay.  The pay in arrears system would bring about a change in pay periods, but not rates of pay, for public service employees.

I have contacted NRC about the change in the pay system and asked that employees be formally advised of the changes as soon as NRC receives final direction and instructions on the revised pay system.

The second announcement that will also have an impact on our membership was made during “National Public Service Week” and referred to future changes in the sick leave credit system.  No details were given as to how or what the new sick leave or disability leave systems would look like. Sick leave is a term or condition of employment and is contained in all our collective agreements.  Any changes must be dealt with through the normal collective bargaining process unless the government decides to alter all collective agreements through legislation.

I am pleased to inform members that the Executive Committee has approved the final version of the new RCEA constitution and policies.  It will now be sent out to all members for a ratification vote.    The new constitution is posted on our website; I encourage you all to read it prior to voting.  Your local RCEA representatives are available to answer your questions.

We have completed our visits to the regions; I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the members for their comments and or suggestions during our meetings.  I always appreciate and value our yearly visits to the regions.  For members in the National Capital Region I encourage you to contact your representatives if you would like to schedule a meeting with the RCEA.

Sincerely

Serge Croteau
President