BLS Statistics Show Government Workers Absent More Than Those In The Private Sector

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A report from CNS News, a non-profit news organization funded by the conservative Media Research Center, cites Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS numbers that show that government workers are absent from work 38 percent more than their private sector counterparts.

“In 2012, according to BLS, 4.0 percent of government workers reported being absent from work in the typical reference week compared to 2.9 percent of private sector workers,” the report says. The figures include those who work less than 35 hours per week and the results of inquiries made into why work was missed. If the reason the employee worked less than 35 hours is because of paid leave, a dispute with management, or inclement weather were not counted. Thus, the figure includes only those who cited illness or “personal reasons” for working less than 35 hours per week.

Also, the report states the percentage of work hours missed as “50 percent more” for government workers. According to the statistics from the BLS report 1.4 percent of workers in the private sector missed the normal work hours as opposed to 2.1 percent of government workers. 

The CNS story does not offer any comment beyond the figures. Thus the numbers can be interpreted as either an example of the complacency of government employees or as an example of how lack of paid leave in the private sector forces people to go to work ill or under extraneous duress from those aforementioned “personal reasons” (which are usually family or transportation related, according to CNS). In fact, in Pennsylvania a state congressman has introduced a bill that would effectively ban paid leave for employees not already guaranteed by the commonwealth.