Federal employees who were neither sick nor working from home enjoyed $1.1 billion in paid leave since the pandemic began according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

In new estimates from the Treasury Board, approximately 113,362 federal employees spent days or weeks on paid leave for various reasons including not being equipped to work from home or family commitments. 

“The Treasury Board Secretariat was unable to provide actual personnel expenditures for the survey period. The Budget Office estimates a cost of nearly $1.1 billion between March and September.”

“The total cost represents a thirty-one percent increase from our previous estimate. With the additional data provided on departments that were missing from the previous update, the cost estimate increased by 10%.”

New estimates are over twice as much as the Treasury Board’s estimate of $439.3 million for paid furloughs in July.

In November, Assistant Treasury Board Deputy Minister Sandra Hassan told MPs that the federal government was simply doing what it should to accommodate workers during the pandemic.

“We’ve made sure to take care of our employees since the start of the pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic (we) sent everyone home to comply with public health directives and to ensure the safety of our employees and communities,” she told the House of Commons Commons government operations committee.

“Now the pandemic is part of our everyday lives. We have adjusted to directives as the situation has developed.”

While public sector employees received paid leaves from work, private sector unemployment reached a new record of 13.7% in May. Approximately 3.2 million Canadians lost their jobs this spring due to lockdowns.

Recently, the union representing federal public services secured a salary increase deal with the federal government.

Employees with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) were given a 2.8% raise for 2018, an additional 2.2% increase for 2019 and a 1.35% raise for this year.