Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released 2010 rates of injury and illness in the American workforce, and once again state and local government workers on average missed far more days from illness and injury per worker than workers in the private sector. Below are the topline rates of illness and injury. More detailed stats available from the BLS show that even in comparable jobs, public workers miss substantially more time than private workers.
Of course, in some places, public sector workers enjoy more generous sick time and richer disability benefits than private workers, which may explain some of the difference. Incentives matter, including those that pay you not to work.