Survey finds fewer employees using dubious excuses for missing work


office workerCHICAGO — Fewer workers are faking being sick to skip work according to a new CareerBuilder survey. The report found that 35 percent of workers called in sick when they were feeling just fine this year. That number was down from 38 percent in last year’s survey. The survey included more than 3,100 full-time workers and more than 2,500 full-time hiring and human resource managers.

Some employees still used dubious reason for missing work, some of which which included:

  • Employee said the ozone in the air flattened his tires.
  • Employee’s pressure cooker had exploded and scared her sister, so she had to stay home.
  • Employee had to attend the funeral of his wife’s cousin’s pet because he was an uncle and pallbearer.
  • Employee was blocked in by police raiding her home.
  • Employee had to testify against a drug dealer and the dealer’s friend mugged him.
  • Employee said her roots were showing and she had to keep her hair appointment because she looked like a mess.
  • Employee ate cat food instead of tuna and was deathly ill.
  • Employee said she wasn’t sick but her llama was.
  • Employee had used a hair remover under her arms and had chemical burns as a result. She couldn’t put her arms down by her sides due to that.
  • Employee was bowling the game of his life and couldn’t make it to work.
  • Employee was experiencing traumatic stress from a large spider found in her home. She had to stay home to deal with the spider.
  • Employee said he had better things to do.
  • Employee ate too much birthday cake.
  • Employee was bit by a duck.

The majority of workers had more mundane reasons for skipping work. The biggest reasons for faking sickness included not feeling like going in to work (28 percent), going to a doctors appointment (27 percent), wanting to relax (24 percent) and sleeping (18 percent).

Roughly a third of employers reported checking up on workers to find out if they were really sick. Twenty-two percent of employers reported firing an employee for calling in sick with a fake excuse.

Still far more workers came to work sick last year. Forty-seven percent of workers said they went to work when they were sick because they couldn’t afford to miss a day of pay.

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