Government employees get 9.7 per cent more in wages than private counterparts: Study

Benefit packages also superseded in government sector

Government employees in Canada receive higher wages and likely more generous non-wage benefits than their private sector counterparts, according to study released by the Fraser Institute.

On average, government employees received 9.7 per cent higher wages between January and December 2013. When unionization is accounted for, the government-sector wage premium drops to 6.2 per cent.

Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey data was used for the study, with age, gender, marital status, education, tenure, type of work, size of establishment, industry and occupational differences accounted for.

Furthermore the study examined non-wage benefits including pensions, early retirement, job security, and absence rate.

"As governments across Canada struggle with persistent deficits and growing debt in the face of ongoing negotiations with public sector unions, now is an opportune time to scrutinize the compensation of government employees nationwide," said Jason Clemens, executive vice-president of the Fraser Institute.

Pensions: Government employees covered by a registered pension plan were 87.8 per cent compared to 23.9 per cent in the private sector. Of those covered, 94.2 per cent of government employees enjoyed defined benefit pensions compared to 47.5 per cent of private sector employees.

Early retirement: Between 2009 and 2013, government employees retired 2.4 years earlier than private sector employees.

Job security: In 2013, 3.6 per cent of private sector employees experienced job loss in Canada, compared to 0.7 per cent of government employees.

Absence rates: Within a year span, full-time employees in Canada's private sector were absent due to personal reasons for an average of 8.1 days, while the average government employee was absent 12.1 days.

"Of course, governments must provide competitive compensation to attract qualified employees, but wages and benefits in Canada's government sector are out of step with the private sector," said Charles Lammam, study co-author at the Fraser Institute.

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