December 7, 2012
PSAC response to misleading CFIB report on sick leave in public service
Once again, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has released a misleading report attacking the dedicated and hard working public sector employees of this country. The study claims that public sector absenteeism rates are costing Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars annually. This is false – sick leave cannot be cashed and is not a liability for the taxpayer.
Sick leave provisions are a negotiated benefit for public sector workers who get sick; it is not a benefit for those who are healthy. Ultimately, these provisions ensure that workers are well enough to provide quality public services.
Unfortunately, this report fails to address any underlying issues of why public sector workers are getting so sick.
The PSAC has expressed concern for years now about the health of public sector employees. The causes are clear – the unnecessary cuts to key programs that Canadians depend on have led to drastic work overload, bad workplace organization and anxiety.
This toxic environment is taking a toll on public service workers. Senior Health Canada officials responsible for the Employee Assistance Plan have reported a significant spike in calls, receiving in one month the equivalent number of calls they would have normally received in one year.
The reported lower rates of absenteeism in the private sector are due to employees not benefiting from adequate sick leave provisions. They are forced to go to work while sick, putting the health of their coworkers at risk. As well, long-term disability is not tracked in the private sector as it is in the public sector.
We propose that the CFIB, instead of attacking public sector workers and lobbying government to cut federal government services and jobs, spend time and resources talking to their own members – the small businesses who are feeling the economic hit of cuts to public services.
Date Modified : 2012/12/10