Your fake eye keep falling out? False teeth fly out of your mouth on the expressway? Just feeling grouchy because you’re trying to quit smoking? Go ahead, take the day off.
Those are just a few of the (supposedly) real-life excuses offered to explain employee absences, cited in a recent CareerBuilder study.
In the past year, nearly one third (32%) of workers have called in sick when not actually ill, up slightly from last year (30%). On the flip side, 30% 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.
(We recently ran a post on a survey from office supply giant Staples indicating that about 90% of office workers come to work even when they know they are sick.)
CareerBuilder’s survey was conducted online from August 13 to September 6, 2013, and included a representative sample of 3,484 workers and 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals across the country.
Here’s the full list of bizarre excuses managers reported:
- Employee’s false teeth flew out the window while driving down the highway
- Employee’s favorite football team lost on Sunday so 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 no problembit 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, and
- Employee couldn’t decide what to wear.
Employers battle back
Thirty percent of employers say that they have checked in on employees who have called in sick to make sure the excuse was legitimate. Of those who verified employees’ excuses over the past year, 64% required a doctor’s note, 48% called the employee, 19% checked the employee’s social media posts, 17% had another employee call the sick employee, and 15% drove past the employee’s house.
While some employers may be flexible with how employees use their sick days, 16% said they’ve fired employees for calling in sick with a fake excuse.
The survey outlined the real reasons employees gave for calling in sick (aside from actually being ill):
- they just don’t feel like going to work (33%)
- they needed to relax (28%)
- catching up on sleep (19%), or
- running personal errands (14%).