In our regular communication with the government, we have received the following notice regarding the recovery of salary overpayments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How will the recovery of salary overpayments be addressed during the Covid-19 pandemic?
In light of the current pandemic situation, the Pay Centre is temporarily suspending the overpayment recovery plans for all new overpayments that, effective March 23, 2020, meet the criteria for repayment under the “Recovery over an extended period as a result of the implementation of Phoenix” flexibilities provision outlined in the Directive on the Terms and Conditions of Employment. This operational measure will allow the Pay Centre to prioritize pay transactions to employees.
The Pay Centre will continue informing employees of any new overpayment. However, overpayments that fall under the flexibilities outlined in the Information Bulletin: Additional Flexibilities with regards to the recovery overpayments, Emergency Salary Advances and priority payments will be suspended until further notice. This covers overpayments, emergency salary advances and priority payments received by employees due to issues arising as a direct result of Phoenix. An employee can still choose to repay their new overpayment in the manner that best meets their situation. Employees will need to advise the Pay Centre accordingly.
The recovery of overpayments will continue for the recovery of amounts owing arising from routine pay transactions, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- overpayments of less than 10% of an employee’s gross bi-weekly pay;
- periods of leave without pay of 5 days or less;
- overdrawn leave (vacation/sick) upon termination of employment (for reasons other than incapacity/illness and layoff);
- cancellation of a leave with income averaging agreement by the employee, where the leave has been taken;
- amounts advanced on behalf of employees for union dues;
- maternity/parental allowance, where the employee has not fulfilled their obligation as set out in their collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment; and
- amounts owed to public service health insurance plans, pension, supplementary death benefit or disability/long-term disability due to periods of leave without pay.
The recovery will also continue for overpayments associated with the termination of employment, end-of-term or casual contracts without further extension or renewal (from first available funds).
Note that the recovery plan will continue for employees who already have repayment plans in place as agreed upon. However, these plans can be modified should employees experience financial hardship; employees in such positions should contact the Client Contact Centre at 1-855-686-4729 or complete a Phoenix feedback form to request a more flexible arrangement.
Departments and agencies which are not serviced by the Pay Centre may also wish to temporarily suspend the collection of new overpayments covered by the flexibilities. They may also make available the option to modify repayment plans where employees may be experiencing hardship consistent with the Directive on the Terms and Conditions of Employment.
The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.