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ARCHIVED - TB Circular 1977-37: Pay Administration

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l. Introduction

The Pay Study Task Force (PSTF) Phase 3 Report was sent to all deputy heads from the Deputy Secretaries, Personnel Policy and Financial Administration Branches of the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS).

Generally, departments supported the new concept of pay administration as outlined in the report. There were, however, a few concerns, some of which were shared by two or three departments. These were in the areas of resources, the involvement of managers in the control of leave/extra duty and the inclusion of financial officers in the pay administration process.

2. Policy

A new pay administration policy has now been approved based on the PSTF Phase 3 Report and departmental observations on it, together with a program for its implementation throughout departments and agencies. The Treasury Board acknowledges the primary interest of departments and agencies in the administration of the pay and benefits of their employees; full responsibility will be delegated when departments establish their capability to implement pay within the constraints of the relative statutes, regulations, collective agreements, policies and procedures.

It is recognized that the multiplicity of authorities and the gaps and inconsistencies in the existing policies, guidelines and procedures have resulted in an excessively complex environment for pay administration. Therefore, Treasury Board Secretariat is carrying out an extensive review of pay policies; the results will be consolidated in one section of the Personnel Management Manual.

The role of the Department of Supply and Services in the operation of the Public Service Pay System has been re-assessed by the Pay Study Task Force as one of service rather than control.

The pay system is being reorganized on a regional basis and improved to furnish a more responsive pay processing service to departments. Particular attention will be given to improving the amount and quality of information provided to the employee, the department and the various central agencies.

The Treasury Board Guide on Financial Administration, as it relates to pay administration, will be modified to ensure that it is properly interpreted. All departments must review their arrangements for controlling the commitment and expenditure of funds for pay and allowances. Departments will be required to demonstrate effective control over their pay administration before full authority is delegated to them.

In order for departments to have responsibility for paying their employees, it is necessary that they be accountable for expenditure of their salary budget as required by the Financial Administration Act (FAA). This is not a new requirement but since there have been misunderstandings in the past, certain internal process controls must be implemented in departments to allow senior officers to ensure that they do have control over disbursements made through the pay process. These controls are detailed in Annex A. Departments will be able to make arrangements with the DSS Pay System for the use of more sophisticated media for the two-way transmission of pay data as appropriate. This will reduce present time-lags in processing pay transactions and also reduce to a minimum the number of decision points. It is considered that this improvement, together with this policy (which clarifies responsibilities) offers the best possibility of reducing the present work load of pay and benefits units.

To sum up: pay is primarily a departmental responsibility; pay must be administered within the constraints of policy and procedures which will be simplified; the data processing aspects of pay administration will be handled by an upgraded DSS pay system more closely attuned to departmental needs; and departments must be prepared to accept the accountability which accompanies the delegation of responsibility and authority for pay administration.

3. Objective

The objective of this policy is to clarify overall responsibility for pay administration, to restate areas of departmental and central agency responsibility and to identify proposed changes in processes and activities.

4. Application

This circular is applicable in all respects to those departments and agencies for whom Treasury Board is the employer, i.e. departments and agencies listed in Schedule 1, Part 1 of the Public Service Staff Relations Act (PSSRA).

Policies and practices regarding financial control of pay expenditures are also applicable to all departments and corporations covered by Schedules A and B of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) and all branches designated as departments by the Governor in Council in accordance with Section 2 of the FAA. Processing controls advocated herein apply to all pay systems operated within or on behalf of these populations.

Where a department is delegated responsibility under its enabling legislation for the payment of groups of its personnel, or is paying any of its personnel by means of local payrolls, the principles of this pay policy will be applied.

The division of responsibilities outlined in this circular will become effective with the full implementation of the regional pay system which is scheduled for January 1, 1979 and subject to departments demonstrating their capability of accepting this responsibility. The TBS Pay Administration Coordination Group (PACU) will coordinate the progressive implementation of the revised systems as and when agreed to by DSS and departments.

5. Implementation

Implementation of the set of recommendations of the Pay Study Task Force will be phased in. The major areas where changes will occur are:

(a) Pay policies will be reviewed, consolidated and rewritten: this has already been initiated within TBS; new pay policies will be distributed as chapter 510 of the Personnel Management Manual.

(b) The Public Service Pay System operated by DSS is being regionalized and upgraded. This is under way and is scheduled for full implementation by January 1, 1979.

(c) The Attendance, Leave, Overtime, Shiftwork System (ALOSS) is collecting much of the same information as is required for pay purposes. In fact, one of the major recommendations of the Pay Study Task Force was to design a simplified leave/extra duty reporting process to satisfy both systems. A study is being undertaken to find the best alternative to modify the ALOSS system and make it compatible with the pay system. This would relieve departments of a significant work load. The outcome of this study will be made known to departments in early 1978.

(d) The pay input forms will be reviewed with the intent to make these easier to use.

(e) Training schemes for Pay and Benefits clerks will be developed and made available to departments; information on this will be distributed.

(f) Chapter IX of the Treasury Board Guide on Financial Administration will be amended to reflect the requirements of the pay system. See Annex B for interpretation and details of the principles of Chapter IX as they relate to pay administration.

(g) The Treasury Board Personnel Management Manual, chapter 510, will incorporate the requirements of this circular and additions or modifications will be distributed through this manual.

(h) In order to implement the changes and new responsibilities provided here a new organizational group has been set up in TBS. See Annex C for details .

The schedule of changes to be made and the overall implementation plan to be followed are as given in Section C of the Pay Study Task Force, Phase 3 Report.

6. Departmental Response

To coordinate all aspects of this proposed modified pay administration system, TBS is asking that departments respond to this circular by October 1, 1977.

In general terms, the response should show how each department will be organized to incorporate the required controls and to accept the assigned responsibilities, within the timeframe contained in the Application Section of this circular.

It is not necessary to submit detailed procedures; only describe those areas within each departmental pay administration system which are impacted by this directive. The impact may be great or small, depending on the present organization and its capability; reorganization needs may vary from next to nothing to fairly broad changes to pay administration staffs; training needs should be identified. Whatever the outcome of internal deliberations, it is necessary that each department submit to Treasury Board its plans and proposed schedules to comply with the terms of this circular. The submission should also contain a description of the old and the new organizations together with assigned roles and responsibilities.

To sum up, each department must communicate to Treasury Board:

  1. The identification of the office and officer to whom is delegated responsibility for pay administration in that department and similar offices and officers in regional units, if any (PACU will communicate with the officers so designated for detailed discussions).
  2. A description* of the present pay administration organization.
  3. A description of the proposed organization designed to meet new requirements with the responsibilities and accountabilities noted.
  4. A general description of the present and proposed pay processes including assignment of responsibilities for:

    - verification of input

    - financial signing authorities

    - document and error control

    - verification of output

  5. A general statement of the interfaces with other systems including the degree of automation in use or proposed.
  6. A plan and detailed schedule for implementation of the required changes.

For further information, contact the TBS Pay Administration Coordination Group at 5-1270.

Maurice LeClair



*This description should include at least the topics stated in Annex D. [Return]