Setting aside the military, the only people you ever hear lauding government employees for their hard work are politicians and government employees. There’s a reason for that.
On the contrary, overstaffing is a serious problem in government, and the best evidence is a simple empirical fact: Government employees don’t work as much as private employees. If public-sector employees just worked as many hours as their private counterparts, governments at all levels could save more than $100 billion in annual labor costs.
How do we know that? Are we just dredging up well-worn stereotypes of government employees enjoying shorter work days, prolonged sick leave and extended vacation breaks? In fact, new evidence from a comprehensive and objective data set confirms that the “underworked” government employee is more than a stereotype. …
The time-use survey’s data on work time are far more comprehensive and objective than any other available data source. The survey doesn’t undercount working at home versus working at an office, or working evenings rather than working regular business hours. If, for example, an individual was working at 2 a.m. on the weekend, the American Time Use Survey will account for it. …
What we found was that during a typical workweek, private-sector employees work about 41.4 hours. Federal workers, by contrast, put in 38.7 hours, and state and local government employees work 38.1 hours. In a calendar year, private-sector employees work the equivalent of 3.8 more 40-hour workweeks than federal employees and 4.7 more weeks than state and local government workers. Put another way, private employees spend around an extra month working each year compared with public employees. If the public sector worked that additional month, governments could theoretically save around $130 billion in annual labor costs without reducing services.
Even that data dramatically underscores the depth of the problem because government workers are paid dramatically more than the private sector employees who pay their salaries.
On the federal level, it was just reported by USA Today that the average federal civil servant compensation is $123,049 per year.
That’s more than double what private sector workers earn (average of $61,051). Since 2000, federal government employee compensation has grown by 36.9% versus 8.8% for private sector employees.
So, government employees are paid twice as much and get ridiculous benefits, in order to work less than private sector employees. It’s great deal for them, but a terrible deal for the country.