CareerBuilder’s Annual Study Reveals This Year’s Craziest Excuses for Calling in Sick
Every year, Careerbuilder releases its annual survey showing the craziest reasons people call in sick. They found that that more than a third of workers (35 percent) said they have called in to work sick when they were feeling fine, down from 38 percent last year.
The Craziest Excuses for Calling in Sick
When asked to share the most suspicious excuses employees have given for calling in sick, employers said:
- 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 bitten by a duck.
Checking Out the Story
Though the majority of employers (67 percent) give their employees the benefit of the doubt, 33 percent say they have checked to see if an employee was telling the truth. Employers have asked to see a doctor’s note, have called the employee, and some of them even drove past the employee’s house!
More than 1 in 5 employers (22 percent) say they have fired an employee for calling in sick with a fake excuse, on par with last year.
Done in by Social Media
Some employees get caught in the act because of what they have posted online. More than a third of employers (34 percent) have caught an employee lying about being sick by checking social media. Of those, 27 percent have actually fired the employee, but 55 percent were more forgiving, only reprimanding the employee for the lie.
On the Flip Side
Not all employees believe they can take some time off. Nearly half of employees (47 percent) said they come into work when they’re sick because they can’t afford to miss a day of pay. Almost 60 percent come in because they’re worried the work won’t get done otherwise. Both of these are more common for women than men.
More than half of employees (53 percent) say they their company has PTO programs where sick days, vacation days and personal days are all lumped together, so employees can use their time off however they choose.
Still, of employees who say that their company has those types of programs, more than a quarter (28 percent) still feel obligated to make up an excuse to take a day off.
The Most Popular Time to Call in Sick
According to employers, employees most often call in sick during the month of December, followed by July, and then January.
The Most Popular Day
Monday! Friday is the second most popular day to call in sick.
Want to confess? Ever call in sick when you really weren’t sick?
Employers: What’s the craziest excuse you’ve ever heard?
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Johnston Osburn is a Career and Life Coach who helps people turn dreams into realities. After years as a Global Talent Acquisition Professional, she realized how frequently people limit themselves because they lack belief in their abilities. They are afraid to dream, let alone dream big. [...]