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|April 29th, 2005, 12:06 AM||#1|
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Toronto, Hong Kong, Vancouver
Likes (Received): 0
Work-absence rate dispels our beach-bum image
Work-absence rate dispels our beach-bum image
April 28, 2005
CREDIT: Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun
Enjoying some time Wednesday at Kits Beach are Wapokuniem Riel (left) and Sam Gomolka. But despite our sun and surf image, statistics show we're a hard-working lot.
Laid-back Vancouver has the best employee-attendance record in the country, though it would be hard to tell from the number of people playing hooky from work at the beach Wednesday.
Just 6.3 per cent of Vancouver's full-time employees called in sick or skipped work for personal reasons in a typical 2004 work week, according to a Statistics Canada Fact Sheet on Work Absences.
That compares to 9.8 per cent of full-time employees in Ottawa, seven per cent in Toronto, and a national high of 10.4 per cent in Quebec's Gatineau.
Vancouver's chief medical officer John Blatherwick said Vancouverites don't need as many unscheduled days off because we're happier.
"All I can say is, I know that happiness makes you healthy and we tend to be happy because we've got such great weather and the view."
"Every stat will show you British Columbians are healthier than the rest of country," Blatherwick said.
BCIT marine engineering student Sam Gomolka, 27, took a more pragmatic view while sunning at Kitsilano Beach. "Nothing here is really cheap so you need money, so you need to work," Gomolka said. With two part-time jobs, Gomolka worked 27 days straight last month "just to catch up on some bills and pay off school," he said, but he admitted: "For all the times I've ever called in sick, I've never been sick. Any time I've called in sick, I was probably just lying."
Coffee-shop and pet-store owner Dan Loyer was skipping work for a leisurely beachside chat with a friend.
"You could say that it's my lunch hour," grinned the owner of Wizards Brew Cafe and Because Pets Are People Too. "It's a pretty rare week when I don't put in 50 to 60 hours. I figure I've earned it."
Do Vancouverites work hard?
They sure do. Loyer has a 57-year-old employee who has not taken a single sick day in 31/2 years.
Not only does Vancouver have the lowest overall absentee rate in the country, it also has the lowest percentage of full-time employees taking time off for personal reasons.
Just 1.5 per cent of Vancouver's dedicated, hardworking souls took time off for funerals, sick kids and other personal or family responsibilities in a typical 2004 workweek, Statistics Canada representative Ernest Akyeampong said in an interview. That compares to 2.2 per cent of full-time employees in Toronto and the nation-high of 2.9 per cent in Ottawa.
As for calling in sick, only 4.8 per cent of full-time employees in Vancouver were off for illness or disability in a typical 2004 week.
That's just marginally more than Calgary, at the bottom of the list with 4.7 per cent.
How to reconcile Vancouver's beach-and-golf-bum image with Statistics Canada's evidence of Vancouver diligence?
It's a lifestyle issue, said Doug Alley, Business Council of B.C. vice-president of human resources.
"People here say 'I'll work hard and I'll play hard,' " and that goes for employers as well as employees, Alley said.
B.C. employers offer flexible work arrangements to attract top talent, and flexible arrangements mean less need for unscheduled absences, Alley said.
"The vast majority of workplaces in this province are small employers. If you're running a small business and John or Jane says I've got to get my child to the dentist [you don't stand in their way]."
At the same time, employees in B.C.'s flourishing high-tech industry often work in teams, Alley said. "They do a lot together, so they don't want to let members of the team down."
StatsCan representative Ernest Akyeampong didn't talk about weather or the good life.
"If you work for a company that doesn't have good leave entitlement, sure, you come to work," he said, and cities with lots of industrial jobs also mean more occupational health hazards and absenteeism. Vancouver has little heavy industry compared to Toronto and central Ontario, and the city is less unionized than Quebec and St. John, Akyeampong said.
A young workforce looking for promotion is also less likely to call in sick, he said, and he warned that statistics don't prove Vancouverites are more hardworking -- they simply prove that Vancouverites show up for work more often.
CAN'T COME IN TODAY:
Some might be surprised, but workers in laid-back Vancouver are among the least likely to be absent from work because of illness or personal reasons. Last year, working residents averaged just 8.4 days away.*
Gatineau** Days Lost/Worker 12.7
All cities 9.9
Source: Statistics Canada, Vancouver Sun
Ran with fact box "Can't Come in Today", which has beenappended to the end of the story.
|April 29th, 2005, 01:44 AM||#2|
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: White Rock BC
Likes (Received): 45
Doesn't surprise me when half a mill will only get you a shack on the eastside.