$2,500 lump sum payments: Some Treasury Board and agency members experiencing issues

During the last round of negotiations with Treasury Board, PSAC secured a $2,500 pensionable lump sum payment applicable to all members of the EB, PA, SV, and TC bargaining units employed at the time the agreement was signed.

Since then, PSAC has negotiated the same one-time lump sum payment for all members working for Canada Revenue Agency, Parks Canada, Royal Canadian Mint, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and other federal agencies.

It has come to our attention that this payment has been clawed back for some members who were receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits at the time when they received the lump sum. This most notably applies to seasonal employees and those who were on parental leave. It may also apply to members who were on leave without pay due to illness or injury and who were receiving EI sickness benefits.

Misinterpretation of the payment

This claw back occurred for some members because Employment and Social Development Canada interpreted the lump sum payment as additional income during the periods when these members were receiving EI benefits.

PSAC’s legal counsel has confirmed this interpretation is not in line with the terms of our collective agreements, which specify that recipients are entitled to the lump sum for the performance of regular duties and responsibilities for periods when they were actively employed, not when they were on leave.

Recently, a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Employees successfully challenged this interpretation.

The decision of the Social Security Tribunal of Canada found that “the true nature of the employer’s payment ... was for services performed before she began her maternity leave and claimed Employment Insurance.” It also ruled that “the Canada Employment Insurance Commission incorrectly identified this money as a signing bonus and allocated it to a week during the [member’s] EI claim.”

What to do if you’ve already been impacted by this

If you have been affected by this issue, it's crucial to submit a Request for Reconsideration of an Employment Insurance (EI) decision. In Section 3 of the form “Reason for Request for Reconsideration,” please use the following information:

The $2,500 payment was not a ratification bonus. The payment was for performance of duties before I went on leave and started collecting EI benefits. When money is paid for performance of services, the money should be allocated under s. 36(4) of the EI Regulations to the period before my leave began.

There is a time limit of 30 days to request a reconsideration. However, EI allows extensions under certain circumstances. If it’s already been 30 days since you received this decision, you can request an extension by saying you were gathering information about what the payment was for from your union. If you receive a denial on the reconsideration, you have 30 days to appeal to the Tribunal.

Please contact your Local if you encounter any issues with the appeal process or if you're uncertain about how to proceed. We are here to assist you through this process and to ensure that your rights are fully respected.

Note for members who have received EI benefits

Some members may not have been notified of this situation yet. If you were receiving EI benefits at the time your collective agreement was ratified or in the months before the lump sum payment was issued, you still may be contacted in the future for repayment.

Review your EI statements, monitor your account, and follow the steps above if you receive the request for repayment.