Public sector employees earn more but work less: CFIB

Wage, benefits gap puts private sector counterparts at disadvantage
||Last Updated: 03/24/2015

Public sector employees earn more but work less, according to the latest report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

On March 23, the CFIB released its report, Wage Watch: A comparison of public sector and private sector wages. In it, the business association noted that government employees are at an advantage when it comes to wages and benefits.

According to the report, a public sector worker can make up to $8,150 more per year than their private sector counterpart, and work up to six hours less a week. When factoring in salaries, benefits and working hours, the average public staffer makes 18 to 37 per cent more than someone working for a private employer. Canada Post workers, in particular, saw the biggest gains.

Moreover, if government workers were paid at the same rate as their private sector peers, taxpayers would save $20 billion a year, the report added. To alleviate this projected burden, the CFIB recommended public employers set a cap on taxpayer-funded contributions to government pensions.

“The public-private wage gap is the elephant in every room when it comes to setting the public policy agenda in this country,” said Ted Mallett, chief economist and vice president at the CFIB. “Public sector earnings have been allowed to drift well above market-tested norms, and cash-strapped governments are looking for ways to invest in infrastructure and other priorities. Closing the gap is not just what’s fair, it’s what is needed.”

The CFIB based its report on National Household Survey returns from 2011 and the findings are based on average full-time employment earnings for more than 7.2 million Canadians. Occupations that do not exist in both sectors were excluded.

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