SOURCE: Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Canadian Taxpayers Federation

October 15, 2014 12:19 ET

Government Employees Take More Sick Days Than the Rest of Us

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - October 15, 2014) - The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released new data obtained through Freedom of Information requests (FOI) today showing that government employees take significantly more sick leave than workers in the private sector.

The FOI data shows that in 2012-13 employees at the City of Calgary, City of Edmonton, the provincial government and the federal government miss significantly more sick days than non-government workers in Alberta.

  AB Private Sector City of Calgary City of Edmonton Province
(core PS)
Sick Days per FTE 5.6 6.8 8.6 8.5
Spread with private sector (days) - 1.2 3.0 2.9
Spread with private sector (%) - 21% 54% 52%
Total Cost u/n $31,541,164 $22,550,428 $66,563,452
Cost per FTE u/n $1,854.93 u/n $2,265.06
Savings at private sector sick rate u/n $4,452,870 $7,866,428 $22,534,021

For example, the average City of Calgary employee takes 1.2 days or 21 per cent more sick leave than workers in Alberta's private sector (6.8 days per year vs. 5.6 days). That figure rises to three days or 54 per cent for City of Edmonton employees. The core provincial government has a similar spread of 2.9 days or 52 per cent.

"The data shows that either working for the government is very bad for your health, or some government employees are playing hooky," said CTF Alberta Director, Derek Fildebrandt.

Sick days cost taxpayers in the City of Calgary $31.5 million a year, the City of Edmonton $22.6 million a year, and the core provincial government $66.6 million a year.

If City of Calgary employees took sick leave at the same rate as the private sector, it would save taxpayers $6.8 million a year, $7.9 million a year at the City of Edmonton, and $22.5 million a year for the province. These figures include only the core provincial and municipal governments, excluding Alberta Health Services, teachers, police services and others.

"There are real costs associated with abuse of sick days," said Fildebrandt. "Getting illegitimate sick days under control would save real dollars at both the municipal and provincial levels of government."

Data Links

  • You can find the City of Calgary's sick day data HERE.
  • You can find the City of Edmonton's sick day data HERE.
  • You can find the core public service Government of Alberta sick day data HERE.
  • You can find StatsCan data on public and private sector sick days HERE

Data Notes

  • Calgary and Edmonton data excludes long-term disability and police services.
  • Monetary costs provided by the City of Calgary were only for the first three quarters of 2013. The CTF has therefore annualized this number.
  • Provincial data is only for the core public service and excludes AHS, school boards, post-secondary institutions and other non-core agencies of the government.

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