Evanston city employees increased their use of sick leave last year by nearly 21 percent over the year before.

The workers took an average of 3.84 hours per month of sick leave in 2012, compared ot 3.17 hours in 2011.

That means that Evanston city workers went from taking somewhat less than the 3.6 hour national average of sick time per month for government workers, based on a 2010 report by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, to slighly more than the average.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz released the figures by department this morning. Multiplying the departmental averages by the number of employees in each department made it possible to calculate overall average figures for the city’s workforce.

Big percentage increases in sick time occurred in the city’s three largest departments — police, fire and parks — while some smaller units showed modest decreases.

The Evanston city workers still take substantially less time off for illness than workers for Cook County government, who at last report were taking an average of 6.64 hours a month of sick leave.

Update noon 3/26/13: In a follow-up email, Bobkiewicz said city employees in 2012 had “more babies than we have seen in many years” and so took more time off for maternity leave, and that a number of employees “had more difficult longer-term illnesses.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Are those the same employees

    Are those the same employees that can't flood the ice rinks properly? Fire 'em all.

  2. Employers encourage staying home

    I work in a large office myself and would rather sick colleagues take the time they've earned than spread it all over the office.  With all the outbreaks as of late there are cases where one can get sick more than the usual once a year.  Employers make it more difficult by encouraging staying home when sick then turn around giving verbal warrnings sometimes write ups when time off is taken.

    I understand there are cases of abuse…but you can't possibly determine the difference.

  3. What does maternity leave have to do with sick leave?

    A few questions:

    Is Wally counting maternity leave as "sick" leave?    

    Doesn't sick leave imply being paid?

    Do City employees get paid paternity/maternity leave?

    1. Maternity leave

      In response to your questions. ..

      1. For purposes of compiling the sick leave figures in the story, yes, the city included leave time under FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act).

      2. Not necessarily.

      3. City mployees can use accrued paid sick leave days toward maternity/paternity leave time. The federal FMLA requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and except for the accrued sick leave, the city doesn't pay for FMLA time.

      — Bill

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *