Labour Day Reality Check: A look at government employee sick time

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Government workers in Saskatchewan took an average of 11 sick/disability days in 2012; 59 per cent more than people working outside government (6.9 days).

By Colin Craig

As part of its “Labour Day Reality Check,” the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released data today showing a large gap between sick leave taken by government workers in the province of Saskatchewan and everyone else. The CTF is calling on all levels of governments to get its employee sick leave usage under control.

Statistics Canada data released by the CTF shows bureaucrats in Saskatchewan (working for all levels of government) used an average of 11 days in 2012. Meanwhile, the average Saskatchewan worker outside of government used just 6.9 days.

“Plain and simple, governments need to curb sick time usage,” said CTF Prairie Director Colin Craig. “If government workers used the same amount of sick time as everyone else then governments could cut costs and reduce taxes for everyone.”

Sick/Disability Days Per Year (2012)

QUEBEC: Government 12.2; Non-Government 8.5; Difference 3.7.

MANITOBA: Government 12.1; Non-Government 7.1; Difference 5.0.

BRITISH COLUMBIA: Government 12.0; Non-Government 7.4; Difference 4.6.

NOVA SCOTIA: Government 12.0; Non-Government 8.4; Difference 3.6.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: Government 11.3; Non-Government 6.3; Difference 5.0.

SASKATCHEWAN: Government 11.0; Non-Government 6.9; Difference 4.1.

NEW BRUNSWICK: Government 10.7; Non-Government 7.1; Difference 3.6.

NEWFOUNDLAND: Government 10.7; Non-Government 7.9; Difference 2.8.

ALBERTA: Government 9.1; Non-Government 5.6; Difference 3.5.

ONTARIO: Government 8.8; Non-Government 5.8; Difference 3.0.

Source: Statistics Canada (Custom Order)

Harper Government:

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.

Government employees at the Department of National Defence booked off sick 18.6 days in the 2011-12 fiscal year – more than three and a 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.

Wall Government:

Provincially, employees took an average of 9.7 sick days in 2012/13; up slightly from 9.5 days in 2011-12. The Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing led the way with 12.2 days while Executive Council had the lowest utilization of sick leave with just five days per employee.

Colin Craig is the Prairie Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Organizations: Statistics Canada, Treasury Board, Department of National Defence Veterans Affairs Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing Executive Council Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Canada

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