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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Ian Goldsmith, Ed Featherston, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

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New PBO Report On Federal Sick Leave Exposes Harper Government's Bogus Numbers, Again

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 07/16/14 -- A new report on federal employee sick leave released today by the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) provides further evidence that Treasury Board President Tony Clement has been purposely inflating numbers related to the existing sick leave system in an effort to replace it with a new short term disability plan, says the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC).

A previous report from the PBO in February revealed that the average number of sick days taken by federal employees each year - said by Minister Clement to be over 18 days at the time he announced the government's short term disability plan in 2013 - was actually 11.5 days. Similarly, the government's claim that the cumulative liability of federal sick leave is in excess of $5 billion ignores the fact that federal employees cannot cash out sick days when they retire and that most retire with large amounts of unused sick days.

Today's report reveals that the government practice of not backfilling jobs when most employees are off sick means that the overwhelming majority of federal employees must often make up for work when they return - at no additional cost to the government and taxpayers.

"This government's story on federal employee sick leave is as long as Pinocchio's nose," said PIPSC Vice President Shannon Bittman. "Their determination to bring in a massive, privately run short term disability plan, against evidence that it's needed, is proof that they intend to 'fix' sick leave until it's broken and to introduce a for-profit system that in the end will cost both employees and the public more than the existing one."

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents some 55,000 professionals across Canada's public sector.

Contacts:
Pierre Villon
(613) 228-6310 extension 2228
(613) 794-9369 (cell)

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