Two New Brunswick women are still dealing with problems created by the federal Phoenix pay system, and say they’re frustrated at how long it is taking to get their issues resolved.
Roxanne Merrill was underpaid, while Deby Nash was overpaid — and both have binders filled with their attempts to rectify the mistakes.
Merrill says she still wants to be paid for eight hours she worked but was denied.
Nash was pushed into a higher tax bracket and had to pay more income tax because she continued to receive paycheques after she retired.
Overpaid, then underpaid
Merrill is worried she will soon have issues with her pay again, as she is starting a seasonal job with the Department of National Defence.
“I can’t do it for nothing,” she said. “So I’m just praying that they have it all worked out.
“You know, one of those famous sayings, ‘The only thing I know about money, is that money matters’, so I need it, and I can’t work for nothing.
“I can’t go back behind again, so I don’t want to do that.”
Merrill fought to get paid for eight extra hours she was owed, even travelling to Miramichi to protest.
She initially received a notice showing what she would get paid, but the amount was higher than she expected for the 80 hours she had worked.
“I sent them back, saying, ‘That’s too much money. That’s not what I worked for, that’s not my 80 hours, I want my 80 hours, here’s my total for my 80 hours, pay me the 80 hours.'”
Merrill said her employer tried to correct the error but ended up under-paying her by eight hours.
“So hindsight’s 20/20, I should have taken the top one.”
Despite numerous attempts, she couldn’t make anyone understand she was short eight hours of pay. She was told her file was closed.
Cheques never stopped
Deby Nash is in the opposite position. Nash retired from the Department of National Defence last year, but her paycheques kept coming.
She tried to get the department to stop paying her by sending a cheque with the overpaid amount by registered mail. She detailed every over-payment.
Then came tax return time.
“I was put into a higher bracket, the next higher bracket up, five per cent more income tax charged to me,” she said.
Nash said she is still on the hook for paying the income tax, although she did not actually have a higher income.
“I’ve been told by my tax adviser who did my income tax for me, who has been in touch with a compensation advisor constantly throughout this mess, and she has been informed verbally, but not in writing, that they have received my cheque, yes, they’re aware of the overpayment,” she said.
“Yes, they’re working on it. And that it will get resolved. When? No date. Anything in writing to date? No. A phone call? No, nothing.”