Have you ever called in sick due to an allergy attack? Did you neglect to mention that it's the huge stack of paperwork on your desk that caused the allergic reaction? Or maybe you have a migraine but failed to explain it's from your annoying co-workers.
The list of personal "ailments" used to get a day off from work could go on and on, but everybody plays hooky from the office every now and then. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, in the past year, 30 percent of workers have called in sick when not actually ill.
However, some employees could use a little more finesse in crafting their excuse. In the survey, hiring managers and human-resource professionals shared the most unusual excuses that employees gave for calling in sick, as well as trends in when sick days are taken.
1. Believe it or not.
In an old episode of "The Office," company manager Michael Scott sends an employee to check on a co-worker who called in sick, suspecting him of faking it to get a day off from work.
Apparently some employers have taken similar measures: 18 percent of employers have had other employees call a suspected faker, and 14 percent have gone so far as to drive by the employee's home. Twenty-nine percent of employers have checked up on an employee to verify that the illness is legitimate, usually by requiring a doctor's note or calling the employee later in the day.
Some workers may legitimately start feeling sick after being caught faking it: 17 percent of employers have fired employees for giving a fake excuse.
2. Have yourself a merry little sick day.
Flu and cold season is in full swing by Thanksgiving, and employees are staying at home during the colder months to get through it. Thirty-one percent of employers notice an uptick in sick days around the winter holidays.
Maybe it's to enjoy holiday movies or stay in bed with the sniffles, but December is the most popular month to call in sick, with employers saying 20 percent of employees call in the most during that month. July is the next most popular month to skip out on work, followed by January and February.
3. Taking a personal day.
Not all reasons to skip work fall neatly under "vacation" or "sick" days. Next to actually being sick, the most common reasons employees call in sick are because they just don't feel like going to work (34 percent) or because they felt like they needed to relax (29 percent). Others take a day off so they can make a doctor's appointment (22 percent), catch up on sleep (16 percent) or run errands (15 percent).
4. Honesty may not always be the best policy.
As far as excuses go, nothing will ever seem as unbelievable or induce quite as many eye rolls as, "The dog ate my homework." However, working adults don't always have the most believable excuses either.
When asked to share the most memorable explanations employees have used for missing work, employers reported the following real-life examples:
- Employee's sobriety tool wouldn't allow the car to start.
- Employee forgot he had been hired for the job.
- Employee said her dog was having a nervous breakdown.
- Employee's dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation.
- Employee's toe was stuck in a faucet.
- Employee said a bird bit her.
- Employee was upset after watching "The Hunger Games."
- Employee got sick from reading too much.
- Employee was suffering from a broken heart.
- Employee's hair turned orange from dyeing her hair at home.
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