Employees Stretch Imagination With Colorful Excuses for Sick Days

Have you ever spent so much time reading over the weekend that you didn’t think you could summon the energy to make it to work on Monday morning? Or maybe you woke up one day and simply forgot that you had been hired at a new job and this was supposed to be your first day?


While these may sound like outlandish reasons to miss work, they were cited by employers as reasons given by their employees for not coming to work, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey.


Here’s a look at the annual survey’s findings and the lengths that employees are willing to go to in order to get a day off work.


  • Don’t you hate when that happens? The following were excuses for not going to work.
    • Sobriety tool wouldn’t allow the car to start.
    • Dog was having a nervous breakdown.
    • Dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation.
    • Employee’s toe was stuck in a faucet.
    • Employee was bitten by a bird.
    • Too upset after watching “The Hunger Games.”
    • Suffering from a broken heart.
    • And last, but not least, one employee just couldn’t deal with the fact that her hair turned orange from dying it at home.


  • Too much fa la la la la? When the holidays arrive, the CareerBuilder survey found that 31 percent of employers report more sick days being used than during other times of the year.


December is the most popular month for taking sick days, with 20 percent of employers reporting that they see more days taken during this month than in any other. January and February are also big for workers calling off.


But the first two months of the year both trail July, which ranked second in terms of the number of sick days used. Clearly, those hot, sunny days can be very difficult to resist.


  • We’re watching you. While some employers look the other way when it comes to their employees playing hooky, others go into detective mode to try to catch those they suspect are not as sick as they claim.


Nearly 30 percent of employers surveyed say they have checked up on an employee to verify that an illness was legitimate. Those employers either require a doctor’s note for absences or they call employees later in the day to see how they are doing.


Some employers (18 percent) have had other employees call a suspected faker, and 14 percent of those surveyed have driven by an employee’s home to make sure he or she was actually home sick. And 17 percent of employers have fired workers for providing fake excuses.


  • Taking a mental health day. There are times when employees don’t claim to be sick but say they just need a day away from the office.


Next to actually being sick, the most common reasons employees call off is because they just don’t feel like going to work (34 percent), they need to relax (29 percent), they have a doctor’s appointment (22 percent) or they have errands to run (15 percent).


And sometimes, they just need to catch up on their sleep (16 percent).


How to reach: For more information about how TemPay can help make your staffing agency a great place to work in 2013, contact www.tempay.com.