A government worker is 38 percent more likely to be absent from work for personal reasons or illnesses than a private-sector worker, and government workers miss 50 percent more of their usual work hours as a result of such absences than do private sector workers, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Each month, the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey collects information from 60,000 households, including information on employment status. BLS uses this data to publish employment statistics.
The survey is conducted during the week that includes the 19th day of the month and the questions it asks that reference a particular week apply to the week that includes the 12th day of the month.
“When an employed wage and salary worker who usually works 35 hours per week is reported as having worked fewer than 35 hours during the survey reference week (including those with jobs who worked zero hours), a question is asked as to why he or she worked fewer than 35 hours,” explains the BLS.
“Workers whose reasons for missing work include their own illness or other personal reasons (such as family responsibilities or transportation problems) are counted as having had an absence. Those who are reported as having worked fewer than 35 hours because of vacation, holiday, labor-management dispute, or bad weather which results in an employer temporarily curtailing business activities are not counted as having an absence.”
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. Thus, a government worker was 38 percent more likely to be absent than a private-sector worker.
Government workers also missed more of their usual work hours as a result of such absences than did private-sector workers. In 2012, according to BLS, private sector workers missed 1.4 percent of their usual work hours as a result of absences and government workers missed 2.1 percent of their usual work hours because of absences.
Thus, government workers missed 50 percent more of their usual work hours as a result of absences than private-sector workers did.