BC Labour Day Reality Check: Government Employees Take 62 per cent More Sick Days Than the Rest of Us
- In B.C., government employees take an average of 12 sick days per year
- Non-government employees take an average of 7.4 sick days per year
VANCOUVER, B.C.: With Labour Day just around the corner, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is calling on all government agencies to be more aggressive in reducing the amount of sick time taken by government employees.
New data from Statistics Canada, specifically obtained by the CTF, shows the average government employee in B.C. takes 12 sick days off a year – far higher than the 7.4 taken by their private sector counterparts.
“Government employees have no idea what it’s like in the real world, where sick days are taken only when you’re actually sick,” said Jordan Bateman, the CTF’s B.C. Director. “With the sick day gap between government and the rest of us now 62 per cent, it should be taxpayers who feel nauseous and need time off.”
B.C. government statistics, obtained through CTF Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, shows core provincial government employees took an average of 9.1 sick days each, costing B.C. taxpayers $29.2 million last year.
This represents less than ten per cent of the 410,895 government employees in B.C. StatsCan’s 12 sick days calculation is different because it includes municipalities, regional districts, universities, colleges, transit authorities, health authorities, federal offices and other government employees in B.C.
“Do the math and you can conservatively estimate that sick leave costs B.C. taxpayers way over $300 million a year, and maybe as much as half a billion dollars,” said Bateman. “Even the government unions know these numbers are too high, and are taking raises funded by promises to cut down their sick time. If employees were really sick, that wouldn’t be an option.”
Across the country, federal government employees took 17.9 days of sick leave, according to the most recent Treasury Board survey. In comparison, the most recent national report from Statistics Canada shows employees working outside of government took only 6.7 sick days in 2012.
“We have more federal government employees booking off sick on any given day than actually show up for work at General Motors and Chrysler combined,” said CTF Federal Director Gregory Thomas. “We’re facing an epidemic of sick-leave abuse amongst government employees and it needs to be stopped.”
- For an op/ed by Jordan Bateman on this issue, click here.
- For the CTF’s FOI request to the B.C. Government on total sick days, click here.
- For the CTF’s FOI request to the B.C. Government for sick day costs, click here.
- For the CTF’s national news release on federal government sick days, click here.
- For the provincial breakdown of StatsCan’s sick day numbers, click here.