TORONTO — It's enough to make you sick.
According to data provided by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Ontario government employees — both unionized and those who are not — called in sick 81% more often in 2012 than their private sector counterparts.
The average government employee took 10 1/2 days off last year, while workers in the private sector called in sick an average of 5.8 days (the latter figure coming from Statistics Canada).
It appears employees on staff at services-related ministries were particularly sick (of their jobs perchance?) in 2012 with those working for correctional services taking on average 15 1/2 days last year.
CTF Ontario director Candice Malcolm believes provincial employees are abusing their sick leave by taking days when they're not actually sick.
Considering those employees were making on average 13.9% more per year in 2011 compared to similar employees in the private sector, and 76% of them were covered by a registered pension plan as opposed to 26% of private-sector workers — according to a recent Fraser Institute report — I'd venture to suggest their entitlement is sickening.
"There's definitely a culture that's pervasive in these government offices that they use these sick days as an extra holiday leave," Malcolm said,
She said public sector workers often joke about how they catch "long-weekend-itis” — meaning they tack a sick day onto a Friday or Monday to give them an extra long weekend.
"You see this across all levels of government,” Malcolm said. “It's not a huge shocker but it's still disappointing."