Gregory Thomas —
With Labour Day just around the corner, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is encouraging the federal government to crack down on abuse of workplace sick leave by government employees when union contracts expire in 2014 and 2015.
Federal employees take 17.9 sick days per year
Non-government employees take 6.7 sick days per year
“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.”
Overall, federal government employees took 17.9 days of sick leave, according to the most recent Treasury Board survey. In comparison, the most recent report from Statistics Canada shows employees working outside of government took only 6.7 sick days in 2012.
Government employees at the Department of National Defence booked off sick 18.6 days in the 2011-12 fiscal year – more than three and half weeks, in additional to paid vacations which range from three to six weeks. Veterans Affairs employees booked off 24.2 sick days, averaging more than a month of sick time.
“The behaviour of Veterans Affairs employees is unbelievable,” said Thomas. We’re not talking about war veterans here, we’re talking about desk jockey’s in Ottawa. Rather than honouring their employment obligations and assisting the heroes who have fought for our country, they pad their generous vacation time by taking more than a month of sick leave.”
The behaviour of Veterans Affairs employees compares poorly with employees at the Department of Foreign Affairs, where staff took an average of 11.5 days of sick leave, the Department of Justice, where staff took an average of 13 days of sick leave, and Environment Canada, where the average number of sick days was 12.6.
“We are encouraged by the federal government’s recent indications to put an end to this taxpayer-abuse when union contracts expire in 2014 and 2015,” Thomas added. “Too many government employees have forgotten the meaning of an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.”