Shane Thompson, the MLA for Nahendeh asked the government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) to introduce five additional paid ‘wellness days’ for public sector employees. He told cabinet that the five wellness days would “give GNWT employees extra-long long weekends to recharge their batteries and return to work rested and enthusiastic.” Human Resource Minister Robert McLeod stated that the government was not looking to expand leave provisions. The measures would cost the government $12 million a year.
The 2017 Budget included a second round of cuts as well as department mergers as part of the government’s multi-year effort to find $150 million in savings, which included reducing the number of government jobs by 97 positions.
CFIB agrees that the GNWT cannot afford to expand its already generous vacation, sick and leave provisions given its commitment to spending reductions and finding cost-savings. Instead, there are a number of ways the GNWT could reduce costs including:
- Negotiate upcoming public contracts with taxpayers’ ability to pay in mind;
- Better align public sector wages, salaries, and benefits with the private sector; and
- Eliminate generous vacation, sick and leave provisions to government employees that are not offered by the private sector.
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