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Civil servants earn 12% more than private sector workers

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s no secret if you have a government job, chances are you make more than someone in the private sector. Civil servants also tend to retire sooner and leave with better pensions.

A report out today exposes the gap and has recommendations on what to do about it.

Research done by the Fraser Institute finds civil servants are paid 12 per cent more than Joe and Jane Lunchpail. The think tank says a good first step is to start studying the issue on a more often.

“Having better data released on a regular basis, I think, helps, because the more citizens understand and the more information they have, the better decisions they’re going to make,” explains study co-author and Fraser Institute Executive Vice President Jason Clemens.

“Unfortunately, this type of research is only done occassionally. I mean, we haven’t done a study like this in, I think, almost a decade,” he admits.

One of his recommendations is to set up a wage board that would connect public wages to private ones.

“It’s an arm’s length independent agency from government which says, ‘Okay, we’re going to go out and measure the total compensation; that is, the wages and benefits of workers in the private sector. We’re then going to use those as an anchor for the wages and benefits we’re going to pay in the public sector.'”

Clemens points out the federal Treasury Board has attempted to do just that.

Another idea is to propose lump-sum-style payments to the Treasury Board or unions and let them decide on wages and benefits should be doled out.

“[So, if]┬áJob A in the private sector gets $20.00 an hour, then the same job in the public sector should also get $20.00 an hour and [say to] either the Treasury Board or the union… ‘$20.00 an hour, that’s what we’re paying. You now figure out how much is the wage, how much is the pension, how much is the health or dental benefits,'” he adds.

The gap between public and private wages has been studied since the 1970s but Clemens is surprised that in this era of austerity budgets, governments have done little to bring wages in-line.

Click here to read the full report.