Leave: Costs of sick leave “immaterial”

While the federal government and other employers continue to attack sick leave provisions, the federal Parliamentary Budget Officer has crunched the numbers on what sick leave actually costs. They’ve found that the real costs are insignificant because employers often don’t backfill. Even for departments like correctional services, where use of sick days is relatively higher, the actual cost incurred was less than 0.3 per cent of the department’s budget and only 0.5 per cent of their wage bill.

Influence: CEOs tell finance minister to cut taxes and buy off First Nations

Canada’s new finance minister, Joe Oliver, continued the tradition of his predecessor by hosting a select group of mostly bankers and CEOs at a spa outside Ottawa for his summer policy retreat. They reportedly told him to increase tax cuts (that will primarily benefit the rich) through income splitting and expanded tax-free savings accounts, and create a multi-billion dollar fund for First Nations and communities along the proposed Northern Gateway route to help win approval for that pipeline.

Wages: CEOs making deep sacrifices to benefit workers

Actually, umm, that’s not true at all. Instead, the Globe and Mail reports that “Major CEO pay increases are in the cards again” but at this point is anyone surprised? Average CEO compensation increased by 11 per cent in 2013. Canada’s top-paid CEO, Gerry Schwartz of Onex Corp, gained $129 million, with almost half in the form of stock options on which he’ll pay half the rate of tax that the rest of us pay. Plus, ten of those CEOs have pensions already worth over $20 million each, with the $60 million pension of 50-year old Bradley Shaw, CEO of Shaw Communications topping the charts. Kind of puts things in perspective when bargaining for your next contract—or paying your next cable bill.

Hours: Time for a three-day workweek?

Billionaire telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu recently proposed that employers start offering their workers a three-day workweek, so they have more time with their families or for personal enrichment. His proposal also gained the support of his fellow billionaire Richard Branson, of Virgin Records and Virgin Airlines. But there’s a tradeoff: the workday would be longer and people would have to work up to age 75. As journalist Todd Humber notes, “It’s kind of like cashing in some of your retirement chips while you’re still young and healthy enough to enjoy them…” Sound appealing? Maybe if it came with a decent pay increase and a share of some of those billions.