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The sick leave rollbacks the Newfoundland and Labrador government is seeking from their striking public sector workers are particularly ominous with the government also preparing to shed 4,000 jobs. The governments own studies confirm that sick leave use and WCB cases increase as staffing levels decrease.

This week provincial finance minister Loyola Sullivan and hospital association president John Peddle went on a PR offensive against the use of sick leave, explaining that they were looking for a 50 per cent reduction in sick leave to get a handle on the situation.

In 1995, a government-sponsored joint employer-union committee commissioned a study by Jeanette Andrews, on ways to reduce the number of workplace back and neck injuries and the costs those injuries were creating.

Her study showed that sick leave usage increased as workers compensation benefits were reduced. The study also confirmed that sick leave usage and workers compensation cases increased as staffing levels decreased. Even though John Peddle was part of this process he now seems to be playing hear no evil, see no evil in an attempt to justify governments unreasonable and unworkable - position on sick leave.