Skip to main content

Time to reform municipal sick day policies

The practice of banking sick days is almost unheard of in the private sector, yet it’s a different story for many city workers.

While we appreciate the need for a safety net for workers during times of illness, the practice of banking sick days raises questions as to whether sick days are being used for purposes that may not be related to illness.

CFIB’s new report “The Cost of Banking Sick Days in the Public Sector” shows some big-city sick day policies are costly and unfair as municipal government employees can bank unused sick days while most private sector employees cannot. Banking means that if an employee doesn’t use all their allotted sick days in a year, they can save them for later.

In Saskatoon, employees get 15 to 18 paid sick days per year and can bank up to 194 days, which can be converted to cash payments upon retirement under certain collective agreements. The City of Saskatoon had $14.7 million in banked sick day liability in 2013.

In Regina, employees get 16 paid sick days per year and can bank up to 215 days. If employees are laid off, they are entitled to a payment equal to 50 per cent of unused sick days. In 2013, the City of Regina had $10.8 million in banked sick day liability. Note: Sick leave payouts do not apply to employees hired after December 31, 2013.

 

Who allows sick day banking?

 Max Days BankableCash PayoutEarly Retirement

Vancouver

261

Yes

No

Victoria130

grandfathered

 

Saskatoon

194

Yes

No

Regina

215

grandfathered

No

Winnipeg

Unlimited

grandfathered

No

Montreal***

40***

Termination of employment only

Yes

Moncton

Unlimited

Yes

No

Halifax

150

No

No

Charlottetown

350

Yes

No

St. John’s

260

grandfathered

grandfathered

*** Note: A new Montreal White Collars collective agreement is currently under negotiation.

 

Who is setting a good example? Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City and Fredericton do not allow sick day banking.

Sick days are for when you’re sick. We need to fix the system so that everyone is playing by the same rules.

Instead of hiking property taxes each year, CFIB recommends Cities introduce fairer and affordable short-term disability plans to replace these outdated sick-day banking policies to protect their workers and better align with private sector practices.

 

If you have any other questions, please contact CFIB Business Resources at 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected].

Not a member of CFIB yet?JOIN CFIBtoday for more help and information.