Oh...that can be true on so many levels.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, however, are using that phrase, on Tuesday, as a title for their new report that claims public sector sick days in the province of Ontario are way out of line compared to the private sector.
According to data provided to the CTF by the Ontario Public Service (OPS), the average Ontario government employee took 10.5 sick days in the calendar year of 2012; According to Statistics Canada, private sector employees took only 5.8 sick days.
"We’ve always suspected that government is bad for your health, and these stats confirm it: working for government must make people sick," Candice Malcolm, the CTF’s Ontario Director said in a press release.
"Either the government paycheque should come with a Health Canada warning or the taxpayers are being bamboozled with phony sick days.
"In the real world, sick days are taken when you’re actually sick. In government, it’s been a long-standing joke that some people seem to ‘get sick’ to pad their vacation or extend a long-weekend."
Public sector sick days have long been a rallying cry of the CTF. Earlier this year, on the eve of Labour Day, they sent out at a release urging the Harper government to crack down on what they called an "epidemic" of sick-days in the federal public service. Using data from the Treasury Board, they claimed that federal government employees took a whopping 17.9 days of sick leave in 2012.
The unions fought back, essentially saying that comparing the public sector to private sector wasn't fair.
"Comparing sick leave in the federal government to sick leave in the private sector is like comparing apples and oranges. For starters, many private sector workers who are off sick aren't being paid, and therefore aren’t being counted as 'off sick'. Federal government workers employed through temporary placement agencies, for example, have no sick leave. If they’re sick, they just don’t get paid," the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) stated in a recent press release.
"Public sector workers have better plans for supporting employees with long term illnesses and disability, and better provisions for looking after sick members of the employee’s family members. Many private sector workers without long term disability benefits are forced to stop working altogether when faced with a serious illness. That means that they aren't counted as off sick because they are unemployed or out of the workforce altogether."
As recently explained by the Ottawa Citizen, federal public servants get 15 days of sick leave a year which they can bank year to year. Long-term disability is available — at 70 per cent of salary — after a 13-week waiting period.
In June, Treasury Board President Clement called the current rules "archaic" and pledged to introduce case management and rehabilitation support to ensure individuals are not taking advantage of the system.
In the meantime: It's nice work if you can get it.
(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)
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