Why do Saskatchewan civil servants get sick so often?

Why do Saskatchewan provincial government civil servants take so many sick days, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is asking after releasing data on Thursday obtained by a Freedom of Information request.

The average Saskatchewan employee working outside government took 6.9 sick days in 2012, compared to 11 days on average taken by municipal, provincial and federal workers in the prairie province.

Commenting on the strange coincidence between spikes in sick days and important local or national events, CTF Prairie Director, Colin Craig, said:

“Definitely looks like a few of these spikes in sick days aren’t a coincidence. The government could save a healthy amount of tax dollars if it tackled high sick day usage by government employees.”

Mr. Craig said nobody should be expected to have to come to work when they were really sick. However, when those “sick days” mysteriously coincide with sporting events, vacations or video game releases, it is evident that some civil servants should be using vacation days instead, he added.

Sick days Canada

In every single province in Canada, civil servants take more sick days than non-government employees. (Source: CTF)

Sick days peaked among civil servants working in Saskatchewan in 2012 on (in order) January 6, January 8 (1st Wednesday after Xmas holidays), November 4 (year’s first winter storm), January 2nd (day after New Year’s Day), September 23 (follows Riders home game), November 27 (follows Grey Cup parade), December 16 (CFL expansion draft), and September 17 (the release of Grand Theft Auto 5 video game).

The CTF also wondered why 44% of all sick days were Mondays.

Employees working at the Department of National Defense took 18.6 sick days in the 2011/12 fiscal year, on top of their paid vacations. Workers at Veterans Affairs took 24.2 sick days.