Sick days cost public sector $871M in 2011-12, says report

People walk towards Parliament Hill in Ottawa in this Jan. 28, 2013 file photo. (Andre Forget/QMI...

People walk towards Parliament Hill in Ottawa in this Jan. 28, 2013 file photo. (Andre Forget/QMI Agency)

Jessica Hume, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 4:48 PM ET

OTTAWA — The average number of sick days taken by federal public servants increased 23% between 2001 and 2012, and cost taxpayers $871 million in 2011-2012.

In a report released Thursday, Parliamentary Budget Officer Jean-Denis Frechette found public workers took an average of 11.52 paid sick days in 2011 and 2012 — far lower than the Treasury Board had pegged, at 18.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement has introduced sick leave as a major issue in upcoming bargaining talks with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) — the largest public workers' union.

Clement has argued that the average number of sick days taken by public workers was out of control and far higher than that in the private sector.

According to Statistics Canada, on average in 2012, public sector workers took 12.4 sick days compared with 8.3 days by private sector workers.


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