A CareerBuilder survey released Thursday indicates fewer people called in sick for work when they weren’t but those who did provided some wild excuses.
The survey of 3,100 full-time workers and 2,500 full-time hiring and human resources managers found 35 percent of workers took sick days when they were perfectly healthy in the last 12 months compared to 38 percent in the previous year.
When asked why they called in sick, 28 percent said they just didn’t feel like working, 27 percent had a doctor’s appointment, 24 percent said they needed to relax, 18 percent said they needed to catch up on sleep and 11 percent ran personal errands.
Here are some of the goofiest excuses offered:
- The ozone flattened my tires.
- A pressure cooker exploded and scared my sister.
- I have to be a pall bearer at a funeral for my wife’s cousin’s pet.
- Police are raiding my home.
- I had to testify against a drug dealer and the dealer’s friend mugged me.
- My roots are showing and I have to keep my hair appointment.
- I ate cat food instead of tuna and am sick.
- My llama is sick.
- I can’t put my arms down at my sides because of chemical burns from my depilatory.
- I’m bowling the game of my life and can’t make it into work.
- I just found a gigantic spider and it’s stressing me out.
- I have better things to do.
- I ate too much birthday cake.
- I was bitten by a duck.
The excuses aren’t limited to people who work for companies that distinguish between sick, vacation and personal days. Twenty-eight percent of those who work for companies who lump all paid-time-off into a single category said they still feel they have to provide an excuse to take a day off.
Thirty-three percent of employers said they check up to see if an employee is telling the truth, asking for doctors’ notes and the like as proof (68 percent), calling the employee (43 percent) or driving to the employee’s home (18 percent). Twenty-two percent of employers said they have fired people for calling in with a fake excuse. A third of employers said they have caught employees lying about whether they were sick by checking social media.
Forty-seven percent of employees said they go to work even when they’re sick because they can’t afford to take a day off or are worried their work won’t get done. Sixteen percent of those who have called in sick because they really were say they worked from home for at least part of the day.
December is the most popular month for calling in sick (21 percent), followed by July (16 percent) and January (14 percent). The most popular day to call in sick is Monday (48 percent), followed by Friday (26 percent).
The survey was conducted by Harris Poll from Aug. 11 to Sept. 7. The sampling error was 1.93 points for employees and 1.75 points for hiring and human resource managers with a 95 percent confidence level.
U.S. News & World Report recommends calling in sick when you’re contagious or if getting out of bed will make you feel worse.
You might want to rethink complaining of a migraine when you call in sick. The Daily Telegraph reports only 21.7 percent of bosses surveyed thought that was a good excuse.