Public sector workers more prone to taking a sick day

The gap between public and private sector employees appears consistent across provinces

Public sector workers more prone to taking a sick day

Do your employees feel guilty for taking the day off due to illness? Analysis from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation showed workers in some sectors go on sick leave more often than others.

Using 2018 data from Statistics Canada, the group found government workers across the country were 77% more prone to missing work due to sickness or injury than non-government employees.

Public sector workers reportedly missed 12.2 workdays on average in 2018, while employees in the private sector recorded an average of 6.9 sick days throughout the same period.

The number of sick days taken by government workers also increased from an average of 10.8 days in 2017.

READ MORE: Absenteeism: what’s it costing Canada?

This gap in absences appears consistent across provinces. In Alberta, for instance, the average number of sick days taken by public sector employees reached 14.4 days in 2018. The figure is more than twice the average for private sector employees, at 5.7 days.

British Columbia, on the other hand, had a smaller gap between government and non-government workers. Public sector employees in the province recorded an average of 9.4 sick days while private sector employees missed an average of seven days due to illness or disability.

How can employers combat absenteeism? Experts recommend three ways:

  1. Monitor employee absence records for patterns
  2. Use the Bradford Factor: “a formula that measures the number of incidences of absence and the duration of those absences to compute an ‘absence score’ for each employee.”
  3. Interview employees on their return to work.

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