On average, employees in Ottawa take two more sick days per year than their counterparts in Toronto.
“This is a significant number,” said Ottawa’s auditor general Alain Lalonde, who released an audit of the city’s sick leave management yesterday.
According to the report, city employees took 881,547 sick hours in 2007, an average of 10.6 days per employee, costing the city around $27.8 million.
This figure does not include Ottawa police and public library employees.
Lalonde concluded that the city is doing a poor job of managing absenteeism. Most city employees are allowed 10 sick days per year.
Lalonde said there is a mentality among employees that they are entitled to have sick days.
According to audit services manager Ray Kostuch, some groups averaged as many as 20 sick days per year. Employment financial assistance was 18 days and paramedics averaged 17 sick days per year, he said.
If more sick days are required, the employee must present medical documents, but the audit turned up many instances of dubious claims. “In some cases, the doctor said they hadn’t even seen the patient,” said Lalonde.