This piece was first published in the Hill Times on February 17, 2014.
There is a move by the current Conservative government to reduce sick leave benefits for the rank and file public servants. The argument is that the amount of sick leave being used has increased from the past and is excessive. Treasury Board figures show it at 18 days a year. This is more than a public servant accumulates each year. Looking at this ‘deficit’ usage, TB must be right about the increase. Public servants have to be drawing from the leave that has been accumulated over the years. Whether or not, TB does anything, this will eventually stop. Sooner or later, the public service will run out of sick leave credits.
Of course the above statement, as Tony Clement the President of TB is aware, ignores the unpaid sick days and long-term disability that are included in the 18 days. The impression is given that public servants are taking excessive sick leave. What is needed to truly understand the numbers is the total of each one.