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January 28th, 2009
15 Excuses for Calling in Sick

It’s 6 a.m. and you are about to throw the alarm clock out the window. It’s too cold out, you’re tired, you had one too many in the pub last night, you’ve really got to clean your flat, and, most importantly, you haven’t had much time to watch Richard and Judy or Oprah recently. Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources for
She is an expert in recruitment trends and tactics, job seeker behavior, workplace issues, employee attitudes and HR initiatives.

“Just throw a sickie,” you tell yourself. “They can get by for one day without me.”

So, in your best sick voice, you leave a near-death sounding message for your boss and throw in a cough just to make it believable. Rory Bremner eat your heart out!

The art of deception recently took a look at employees who call in sick with bogus excuses. 43 percent of workers said they called in sick when they felt well at least once during the last year, up from 35 percent in the 2004 survey.

The most popular reason for missing work: good, old-fashioned rest. Almost 23 percent of workers said they just wanted to relax and catch up on sleep. 17 percent said they just didn’t feel like going in, 16 percent attributed it to a doctor’s appointment, and 9 percent said they had to catch up on housework and look after personal matters.

Three-day weekend or mid-week break?
38 percent of workers said they viewed sick days as being equivalent to holiday days. The most popular day for calling in sick when feeling well was Wednesday, with 27 percent of workers getting over the mid-week blues by fabricating an excuse. While extended weekend absences were also popular, with 26 percent of workers calling in sick on Monday and 14 percent on Friday, those partaking may have put themselves at more risk of scrutiny.

Your boss is no fool.
63 percent of recruiting managers said they are more suspicious of employees calling in sick on a Monday or Friday. The survey also revealed that some recruiting managers were less tolerant of workers pulling a sickie, with almost a quarter stating they fired an employee for missing work without a legitimate reason. While the definition of a sick day has evolved, with more employers including mental health and special circumstances in the description, workers should be mindful of company policies and their responsibilities as an employee.

“I was abducted by aliens…”
When asked to share the most unusual excuses workers gave for missing work, recruiting managers shared some of their favourite examples:

  • “I’m too drunk to drive to work.”
  • “I accidentally flushed my keys down the toilet.”
  • “I had to help deliver a baby on my way to work.” (Employee was not in the medical profession.)
  • “I accidentally drove through the automatic garage door before it opened.”
  • “My boyfriend’s snake escaped from its cage and I’m afraid to leave the bedroom until he gets home.”
  • “I’m too fat to get into my work outfit.”
  • “God didn’t wake me.” (Employee didn’t believe in alarm clocks and thought a higher power would wake her when she was ready.)
  • “I cut my fingernails too short, they’re bleeding and I have to go to the doctor.”
  • “The ghosts in my house kept me up all night.”
  • “I forgot I was getting married today.”
  • “My cow bit me.”
  • “My son accidentally fell asleep next to wet cement in our garden. His foot fell in and we can’t get it out.”
  • “I was walking down the street watching road works being done, fell in the hole and hurt myself.”
  • “I was walking my dog and slipped on a toad in my driveway and hurt my back.”
  • “My house lock jammed, and I’m locked in.”
  • Can you share any other bogus excuses with us?

    Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.

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