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Public Servant sick days and their costs


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#21 sdwright.vic

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:32 AM

Let's not forget to include 70 hours of personal time the get as well (not having to use sick time). This time can be used for doctors appointments, bank appointments, and other items that can't get done on the weekends.
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#22 Baro

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:12 AM

Sounds good, all workers should get proper paid sick days. When ever I read an article like this it doesn't get me upset at unions or government workers, but gives me pity for those working for cheap nasty companies that don't offer such basic things.
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#23 pherthyl

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:21 AM

Another source of the difference may be from attitudes around sick days. In many public sector jobs people are encouraged to stay home when sick with a cold because they might infect others. In other jobs the attitude is more that if you can physically make it in to work you should be at work and sick days are only for more serious illnesses.

#24 MarkoJ

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:05 AM

Sounds good, all workers should get proper paid sick days. When ever I read an article like this it doesn't get me upset at unions or government workers, but gives me pity for those working for cheap nasty companies that don't offer such basic things.


As someone who is looking to hire an employee (secretary/assistant) in the New Year I think I would go under relatively quickly if I offered the same pay and benefits as an equivalent position in the government. Sure there are some cheap nasty companies but a lot of smaller businesses/companies out there simply can't afford it in order to stay competitive.

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#25 MarkoJ

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:12 AM

Another source of the difference may be from attitudes around sick days. In many public sector jobs people are encouraged to stay home when sick with a cold because they might infect others. In other jobs the attitude is more that if you can physically make it in to work you should be at work and sick days are only for more serious illnesses.


I was with HSA for four years and given the nature of the job (hospital) we were encouraged to stay home when sick. I didn't see a problem with that as it makes common sense not to be infecting compromised patients.

However, reality is people called in sick all the time that I knew weren't sick. For example, individuals would call in sick for their second night shift (regular rotation was two 12 hour day shifts, followed by two 12 hour night shifts, 5 days off).

Our manager at one point started requesting doctor's notes but that didn't last too long as it was probably too hard to police.

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#26 spanky123

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:40 AM

There are employees who abuse the system in both the public and private sector. I think that for many people the simple fact is that if they are offered something they are going to take it, especially if they see their co-worker getting the benefit.

I can't tell you how many people I have met in the past 12 months in Victoria who are struggling. We see this every week now with long time businesses shutting down and the huge number of vacancies throughout the CRD. Many employees have had little or no raise for years and their benefits have been trimmed way back. I can completely understand the anger and hatred when these people read about a dozen paid sick days, ten or fifteen paid personal days, flex days, etc when they are working 60 hours a week just to make ends meet.

#27 jonny

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:05 AM

A provincial employee 'friend of a friend' of mine once bragged to me that he took over 20 sick days one year.

26 paid flex days, plus three weeks paid vacation plus 20+ sick days is over two months off work.

I know it's not every government employee, and that there are slackers everywhere, but it seems like the government system and more importantly the workplace culture allow for abuses to occur more easily.

#28 MarkoJ

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:30 AM

I have a friend who is a civil engineer and according to him, having worked for a city municipality, government, and two private firms in Vancouver he says difference in production is staggering. There was absolutely no screwing around at a small private firm he worked for, you had to work Saturdays if a project was running behind, etc. He managed to get a government job with better pay, flex Friday, no weekends, benefits, pension, etc.....says he wouldn't go back to private sector especially given his profession. It is really tough going out there for engineers right now.

Where he works some people work hard, but he also notes that there are a few bad apples that disappear for half the day and no one even questions it in his department.

I've been on both sides of the equation and pros and cons to both. One thing I couldn't stand about being unionized is there was very poor correlation between effort and reward. If I worked my *** off for 12 hours I made $32/hour. If my colleague put out half as much production in 12 hours he or she made $32/hour. It was very frustrating for me personally so I eventually resigned and moved into a self-employed career where my effort is closely correlated to reward.

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#29 Hotel Mike

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:36 AM

Lazy people take their sick days whether they are sick or not. Principled people only take them when they're sick.


You hit the nail on the head Pherthyl.
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#30 G-Man

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:55 AM

With most union employees, if you don't use a bargained for benefit, in this case sick leave, you are chided by workmates. Over the course of a career some people get a couple of years more time off than others by using all their sick leave.

I don't understand your statement " I don't even get to take my vacation",
do you mean you can't get the time off or are you getting paid out for your vacation to enhance your pay packet?

I also don't understand the "not accrue till retirement" statement, are you saying if you don't take your leave and don't get paid out for it, you lose it until you retire?


Vacation is a benefit only if you use it. There is a common misconception that public servants get to accrue vacation till retirement if they do not use it. So if your retirement date is Jan 2013 and you have accrued 3 months of vacation over your career you can leave in October. This does not happen.

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#31 G-Man

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:57 AM

A provincial employee 'friend of a friend' of mine once bragged to me that he took over 20 sick days one year.

26 paid flex days, plus three weeks paid vacation plus 20+ sick days is over two months off work.

I know it's not every government employee, and that there are slackers everywhere, but it seems like the government system and more importantly the workplace culture allow for abuses to occur more easily.


A flex day is not a bonus day off. The employee has to work the extra time each day in a set period to get the day off. They have worked the time.

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#32 MarkoJ

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:18 AM

A flex day is not a bonus day off. The employee has to work the extra time each day in a set period to get the day off. They have worked the time.



Overall flex days are a massive benefit to the employee, even more so than sick days in my opinion. When you combine stat holidays plus flex days you have some employees not working a 5 day week for a month or two at a time. Can't think of many jobs in the private sector where you can say "I haven't worked a 5 day week in a month, haven't had to work a weekend, and haven't been sick either, but if I was sick I would have had plenty of sick days."

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#33 jonny

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:19 AM

A flex day is not a bonus day off. The employee has to work the extra time each day in a set period to get the day off. They have worked the time.


They are bonus days off. It's a perk you don't commonly see in other industries.

I'm fine with them getting that perk, but I don't buy for a minute that the employees endure some hardship and work super long hours to "earn" flex days. I have several coworkers who commute with their provincial employee spouses. I laugh when I'm told they work long days to earn flex days.

I know many people who work for the Province, including close friends, who all enjoy the benefit of flex days. Most employees don't work nearly an hour more than me every day to "earn" their flex days. One of the tricks employees use is to claim they are only taking 30 minute lunches so they don't actually have to work a longer day.

Employees also commonly (unofficially) bank these flex days to combine them with long weekends and vacation days to extend vacation.

Anyway, I don't really care. There are many drawbacks to being a government employee, so I'm fine with them getting that perk. There are perks that I get from my business that most others don't enjoy as well.

#34 jonny

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:22 AM

Overall flex days are a massive benefit to the employee, even more so than sick days in my opinion. When you combine stat holidays plus flex days you have some employees not working a 5 day week for a month or two at a time. Can't think of many jobs in the private sector where you can say "I haven't worked a 5 day week in a month, haven't had to work a weekend, and haven't been sick either, but if I was sick I would have had plenty of sick days."


I forgot about stat holidays in my calculation above!

26 paid flex days, plus three weeks paid vacation plus 20+ sick days, plus 10 (11 next year) stat holidays is almost three (paid!) months off work!

Holy cannoli it's time to leave industry and get a government job...

#35 MarkoJ

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:25 AM

Most employees don't work nearly an hour more than me every day to "earn" their flex days. One of the tricks employees use is to claim they are only taking 30 minute lunches so they don't actually have to work a longer day.


I didn't want to be the one to bring this up but a number of my close friends with flex days have admitted to the above. I don't really care, most of my friends know they have it good and are happy with their government jobs. I would take my flex days as well.

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#36 G-Man

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:52 AM

The amount of minutes worked per paid minutes is the same whether you choose to take flex time or not. I do not work flex time but those that do spend the same amount in the office as others. While not common flex time does exist in other industries.

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#37 YOYO

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:21 PM

Vacation is a benefit only if you use it. There is a common misconception that public servants get to accrue vacation till retirement if they do not use it. So if your retirement date is Jan 2013 and you have accrued 3 months of vacation over your career you can leave in October. This does not happen.


You can do that if you work for B.C. Hydro.

#38 tedward

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:59 PM

They are bonus days off. It's a perk you don't commonly see in other industries.


You have no idea what you are talking about. A flex day is simply a way to work the same number of hours over a slightly shorter number of days. Nothing "bonus" about it. You work the same number of hours for the same amount of pay.

And yes, it is available in other industries where an employer wants to offer something the employee wants without having to pay any more money.

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#39 MarkoJ

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:21 PM

Okay, my last post in this tread! Need to get back to productivity.

I am all for flex days on a theoretically level. For example, if you have a factory and an employee works 10 days and 76 hours for a two week work period and puts out 7.6 cars. Now, that same employee gets flex days and works 9 days and 76 hours and puts out 7.6 cars. That makes sense. I just don't think flex days work on a theoretically level in real life in some institutions.

People on either side are of this debate regarding sick days/flex days etc. are looking at the Equity Theory...

My Outcomes/My Inputs = Others' Outcomes/Others' inputs?

Reality is both sides are always distorting their own inputs or outcomes, as well as others inputs or outcomes. The grass is always greener on the other side.

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#40 sdwright.vic

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:14 PM

Vacation is a benefit only if you use it. There is a common misconception that public servants get to accrue vacation till retirement if they do not use it. So if your retirement date is Jan 2013 and you have accrued 3 months of vacation over your career you can leave in October. This does not happen.


They can only bank 70 hours now. Used to be able to bank more. Had a buddy who retired and still hot paid for 4 months. Of course they could not fill that position for 4 months.
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