Report shows pension gap between B.C.’s government, private workers

The vast majority (91.8 per cent) of British Columbia’s government employees were covered by a registered pension plan in 2017, compared to just 17.7 per cent of their counterparts in the province’s private sector, according to a new report by the Fraser Institute.

Among those covered by a registered pension, 94 per cent of government staff had a defined benefit plan compared to 44.7 per cent of private sector workers. As well, B.C.’s government employees received 7.5 per cent higher wages on average than workers in the private sector.

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“Bringing government-sector compensation in line with the private sector would not only help governments in B.C. control spending without reducing services, it would also maintain fairness for taxpayers,” said Charles Lammam, director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of the report.

The report also found that government workers in B.C. retire 1.9 years earlier, on average, than private-sector employees. And government staff in the province are absent from their jobs for personal reasons more often than those in the private sector, at 13.7 days compared to 9.2 days, respectively.

“Of course, governments in B.C. should provide competitive compensation to attract qualified employees, but clearly wages and benefits in the government sector are out of step with the private sector,” said Lammam.

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