Labour Day Reality Check: Federal bureaucrats take 77% more sick days than private sector workers

Author: Aaron Wudrick 2019/08/30
  • In 2018, the average federal government employee took 12.2 sick days compared to 6.9 days in private sector
  • Provincial government employees in Alberta (14.4 days) and Quebec (13 days) have the highest number of government sick days in Canada

OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation today released an analysis comparing days lost to sickness or disability in the government and private sectors, showing that bureaucrats take far more sick days than their counterparts outside of government.

“The discrepancy is consistent and clear: for some reason, government bureaucrats are taking far more sick days than the rest of us,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick.

Data from Statistics Canada shows that in 2018, federal government employees took an average of 12.2 sick days per year, compared to the national private sector average of just 6.9 days, a difference of 77 per cent. The gap is the largest in Alberta, where provincial government employees took an average of 14.4 sick days, compared to 5.7 in the private sector, a 153 per cent difference. The province with the lowest gap was New Brunswick, at 9.6 days to 7.6 days.  

“Canadian taxpayers are on the hook for government employee salaries,” said Wudrick. “So the fact illness appears to be striking bureaucrats with such frequency, preventing them from doing the jobs they are paid to do, seems worth looking into.”

To read the CTF’s 2019 Labour Day Reality Check analyzing days lost to sickness of disability in the government and private sectors, click HERE.

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