The Conservative government is set to unveil sweeping new reforms Monday to rein in absenteeism among public service employees, CTV News has learned.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement will announce a new program aims to reduce a current absenteeism rate that, according to the Harper government, is pegged at 18.2 days a year for public service employees. That figure is 2.5 times the rate in the private sector.

The measures to be outlined Monday include:

  • The elimination of voluntary severance packages, a measure that stands to save $500 million a year, according to the government.
  • The introduction of 50/50 cost-sharing for pensions, with claimed savings of $2.6 billion by 2017.

Government sources say Clement will announce plans to address an ineffective tracking system that improperly manages employees who are on short and long term leave – a problem that the Conservatives say is leading to costly abuses of the system.

“The public service suffers from exceedingly high levels of absenteeism, which is unacceptable and unsustainable for any employer looking to run a high-performing and productive workforce,” a senior government source told CTV News.

“It’s time we fix an obsolete and inefficient system, to better protect taxpayers who are footing the bill.”

The plan is part of sweeping new reforms by the Harper government to reduce the size of the public service and reign in $43 billion in annual wages for the public service while further reducing the federal deficit.

Last week, Clement introduced a system to track and eliminate poorly performing employees.

The new reforms come as Ottawa kicks off National Public Service Week.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement earlier Sunday extending appreciation to federal public servants “who serve with dedication, professionalism and commitment to the interests of Canadians.”

Harper departs Tuesday for an eight-day European trip that will take him to London, Paris and Dublin for meetings, winding up with the G8 Summit to be held June 17-18 in Northern Ireland.