Officials in receipt of thousands of dollars in wages overpaid since 2012 must repay the state in the name of fairness, settled the President of the Treasury Board, Martin Coiteux Friday.
Québec launches indeed a vast recovery operation for hundreds of government employees who have been overpaid, up to $ 40,000 in some cases, because of a mistake of its own managers.
While recognizing the error, Mr. Coiteux remains firm: all must return the sums, each his own, in the name of fairness. “It’s a question of equity between everyone,” he said on the sidelines of a press conference Friday.
“This type of error there, that’s unfortunate when it happens, but it has happened in the past and it could happen in the future. (…) We must be fair to everyone, “he added.
At the root of this dispute is a note from the Treasury Board that had been misinterpreted, a directive designed to make hiring more attractive public service. Public Service Commission had then noted in a report that the implementation of the directive was incorrect in at least 600 cases, for staff who were recruited between May 2012 and May 2013.
In total, according to government data, as many as 716 employees will go to the cashier, while 849 others, however, will see their wages increase.
Those to whom the state owes money will be compensated “immediately”, said Mr. Coiteux, wanting to be conciliatory toward others, employees in debt to the employer. They will have time to repay.
“The key word is flexibility,” said President of the Treasury Board, which is ready to go “beyond” of measures already provided in this case by collective agreements.
“I have asked my team to show the greatest possible flexibility, particularly in extreme cases. (…) We will go up to the maximum of what he can do for this to happen correctly for the whole world, “he said.
Mr. Coiteux suggests in particular that the extension of the repayment period, or the conversion of bank holidays of diseases or holiday.
“We will look at all avenues,” he concluded.
Outraged, unions are already thinking to challenge in court the vast recovery operation that could hurt the portfolio of their members and staff retention in the public service.
In an interview this week, the president of the Union of Professional Québec government (SPGQ), Richard Perron, said it was “insulting” in the context of already difficult negotiations with the government for the renewal of collective agreements .
No less than 175 of its members are affected by these claims and some may pay up to $ 40,000. According to Mr. Perron, union members do not have to pay the price of managers errors.
The only acceptable solution, he said, is that the government admit its mistake and pass the sponge.
The Union of Public Employees of Quebec (SFPQ), about 450 members should have to repay the amounts up to $ 20,000.