Employee Bit Her Tongue and Other Excuses for Calling in Sick


Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Most employees use sick days to recover from an illness, but a new survey reveals 32 percent of workers have called in sick in the past year when they were not actually ill.

The national survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder.com, finds that apart from actual illness, the most common reason employees take sick days is because they just don’t feel like going to work, followed by, they needed to relax.

When asked to share the most memorable excuses for workplace absences that they’ve heard, employers reported the following real-life examples:

  • Employee’s false teeth flew out the window while driving down the highway
  • Employee’s favorite football team lost on Sunday so they needed Monday to recover
  • Employee was quitting smoking and was grouchy
  • Employee said that someone glued her doors and windows shut so she couldn’t leave the house to come to work
  • Employee bit her tongue and couldn’t talk
  • Employee claimed a swarm of bees surrounded his vehicle and he couldn’t make it in
  • Employee said the chemical in turkey made him fall asleep and he missed his shift
  • Employee felt like he was so angry he was going to hurt someone if he came in
  • Employee received a threatening phone call from the electric company and needed to report it to the FBI
  • Employee needed to finish Christmas shopping
  • Employee’s fake eye was falling out of its socket
  • Employee got lost and ended up in another state
  • Employee couldn’t decide what to wear

Additional findings from the survey:

  • 30 percent of employees say they’ve gone to work despite actually being sick in order to save their sick days for when they’re feeling well.
  • 20 percent of workers say they called in sick but still ended up doing work from home.
  • 30 percent of employers say they notice an increased number of sick days among their employees around the holidays.
  • 19 percent of employers say December is the time of year that employees call in sick the most, followed by January and February.
  • 30 percent of employers say they have checked up on employees who have called in sick to make sure the excuse was legitimate.
  • While some employers may be flexible with how employees use their sick days, 16 percent say they’ve fired employees for calling in sick with a fake excuse.

The Harris Interactive survey was conducted from Aug. 13 to Sept. 6, 2013, and included a representative sample of 3,484 workers and 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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