B.C.’s government employees earn 7.5 per cent higher wages and enjoy more perks and benefits than comparable workers in the private sector, a new Fraser Institute study suggests.
The think-tank group compared wages and non-wage benefits from 2017 between workers in the private and public sectors, compiled in a report released Thursday – just as the B.C. government negotiates nearly 200 contracts set to expire early next year.
“Bringing government-sector compensation in line with the private sector would not only help governments in B.C. control spending without reducing services, it would also maintain fairness for taxpayers,” said co-author Charles Lammam in a release.
Meanwhile, nearly nine of 10 government workers, or 86 per cent, have a defined pension plan with guaranteed levels of benefits in retirement. That’s compared to less than one-in-ten, or seven per cent, of private sector staff.
The report found government workers are also absent from their jobs for personal reasons 49 per cent more often than private-sector workers. While government staff were away about 13 days per year, those in the private sector took an average of nine days off.
Government workers also benefit from better job security, the report said, and are nearly six times less likely to experience job loss than private-sector workers — 0.4 per cent compared to 2.3 per cent.
“Of course, governments in B.C. should provide competitive compensation to attract qualified employees, but clearly wages and benefits in the government sector are out of step with the private sector,” Lammam said.