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Federal employees who are neither sick nor working from home have now cost taxpayers $828 million in paid pandemic leave, the Parliamentary Budget Office revealed yesterday.
"The Budget Office also requested but did not receive information on the type of leave being taken," the report from the office read, nothing that there was suspicion that federal agencies were "severely under-reporting the extent of hours of work lost due to the pandemic."
According to Blacklock's Reporter, nearly 250,000 government employees have "taken paid sick leave since the pandemic was declared [on] March 11."
Parliamentary analysts say that 241,294 of 289,978 government employees took paid leave, not including staff on vacation or taking sick leave. In total, the Budget Office estimates that $828 million has been paid out to employees.
"This is about transparency," said Edmonton West MP Kelly McCauley in an interview. "Canadian taxpayers have a right to know... These are not people working from home," said McCauley. "These are people at home on paid leave. They are not working."
Estimates place the value of paid leave at $3,430 per employee who stayed home. "The number of hours claimed under leave is almost certainly an underestimation of the loss of work hours due to the pandemic," say analysts.