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Journalists Are Not Mathematicians

Thursday, May 15, 2008
Sick-Leave Abuse Prompts Calls to Compensate for Unused Time

"For weeks that had a holiday falling on a Monday, 27 percent of all sick leave at the IRS was taken on a Tuesday in 2005 and 2006, the report said. And 24 percent of all sick leave taken by IRS employees during non-holiday weeks was on a Monday. "

Now, I can't even decipher what the first sentence means. But for the second sentence: Well, if it were just random chance, you would expect that 20% of all sick leave would be on a Monday - and 20% on Tuesday, and 20% on Wednesday, and 20% on Thursday, and 20% on Friday. So 24% doesn't seem that out of line to me...


  1. Fred T. said...

    The first sentence is pointing to holiday weekends like Memorial Day, MLK Day, Columbus Day, or Labor Day. The holiday falls on a Monday, which gives people a 3-day weekend. The sentence means that instead of the expected 25% use of sick leave (four-day work week divided equally), it was 27%.

    And that, too, doesn't seem that out of line.

    Just seems like another report that was a waste of money to produce and now it's creating "action" that'll be a big waste of money.

    All to get that 2% and 4% back in line.

    2:09 PM  

  2. Mrs. B said...

    Ah. What a horrible sentence.

    I think we could easily attribute that 2-4% to "weekend warrior" injuries, sports injuries, visiting other people who make you sick, and too much partying (which, while self-inflicted, can indeed make you ill).

    6:44 PM  

  3. OH Bee Juan said...

    When I party, I get(s) ill?

    8:31 AM  

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