Evanston sick leave consistent with national average

Sophia Bollag, Copy Chief

Evanston government employees take about as much sick time as other municipal employees from around the country.

In contrast with Cook County, which made national headlines because of its remarkably high average, the average number of hours of sick leave taken by Evanston employees was relatively close to the national average of 3.6 hours per month, or 1.8 days per year, according to a new report from city manager Wally Bobkiewicz. The national average reflects data from a study conducted in 2010, the last time the figure was calculated.

Data from an annual study released March 25 show only two Evanston departments fell more than one hour above the average—the parks, recreation and community services department at 4.68 hours and the fire department at 4.86 hours. Additionally, two departments fell more than an hour below the national average: the utilities department at 2.54 hours and the law department at 2.59 hours.

Concern arose about the amount of time government employees in the county spent on sick leave last year when The New York Times reported Cook County employees spent an average of 6.6 hours of sick leave per month —  3.3 days per year — in 2011, the last year the county tracked.

In an email to Evanston media outlets, city manager Wally Bobkiewicz identified the study on sick-time usage as part of the city’s efforts to maintain transparency.

City officials could not be reached for comment on the study.