Crackdown on sick-leave abuse by federal workers: Taxpayer group

Average federal employee took 17.9 sick days; Canadian Taxpayers Federation wants Ottawa to address issue in next round of contract negotiations

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is marking Labour Day by sending a memo to Ottawa: Crack down on the abuse of workplace sick leave by government employees.

CTF wants the federal government to address the issue when union contracts expire in 2014 and 2015.

“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.”

Pointing to a Treasury Board survey, CTF said federal employees took 17.9 days of sick leave per year. That compares to 6.7 days by employees working outside the government, according to Statistics Canada data from 2012.

Employees at the Department of National Defence took 18.6 days on average in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, and that’s on top of paid vacations which range from three to six weeks, it said. Veterans Affairs employees booked off 24.2 sick days, averaging more than a month of sick time, the CTF said.

Other sick leave counts include:

• Department of Foreign Affairs (average of 11.5 days)

• Department of Justice (average of 13 days)

• Environment Canada (average of 12.6 days)

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