Federal sick leaves cost almost nothing to Canadians

Jul 16, 2014, 14:19 ET from PSAC

OTTAWA, July 16, 2014 /CNW/ - Contrary to Treasury Board Minister Tony Clement's repeated assertions, sick leave in the federal public service is not a financial burden on Canadians. The Parliamentary Budget Officer released a new report today, concluding that it costs almost nothing extra to pay sick leave for federal civil servants.

According to the report, "the incremental cost of paid sick leave was not fiscally material and did not represent material costs for departments in the Core Public Administration."

"Minister Clement needs to come clean on sick leave in the federal government," said Robyn Benson, National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. "Either he deliberately misled Canadians on the subject, or his numbers were patently wrong, which is very worrisome when this happens to the minister responsible for Canada's Treasury Board."

During the last year, Mr. Clement reiterated that sick leave in the federal government was a major burden on the public purse and that it should be replaced by a short-term disability plan managed by a private insurance company.

All the unions representing federal government workers opposed the changes. They said the Minister had not provided evidence to justify scrapping the current sick leave system.

"This report confirms PSAC's position that federal public sector sick leave system is both crucial and sustainable," says Robyn Benson. "The current system ensures that employees do not have to work when they are ill."

Benson believes the time has come for Minister Clement to review his position on sick leave in the federal government and to provide Canadians with information they can rely upon.