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Excuses for calling in sick

Richard Castellini
Senior Career Adviser for CareerBuilder.com
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(CareerBuilder.com) -- When you need a random day off of work, what do you do? Do you schedule a vacation day with your boss, or call in with some overblown cover story? And just how long does it take you to come up with that excuse? With one-in-four workers considering sick days equivalent to vacation time, it's no wonder workers are so crafty at calling in sick.

CareerBuilder.com recently took a look at employees who call in sick with bogus excuses. Thirty-two percent of workers said they called in sick when they felt well at least once during the last year, down from 43 percent in the 2005 survey. This could be because some employers are evolving to a PTO (paid time off) system, which is a more flexible way for workers to take time off from work. But, workers should be mindful of company policies and their responsibilities as an employee.

The most popular motivator for missing work: good, old-fashioned R&R. Almost half of workers said they needed to relax, while 24 percent wanted to catch up on sleep. Other top reasons included running personal errands (20 percent), doctor's appointments (17 percent), plans with family and friends (16 percent) and housework (16 percent).

Some employers said they typically don't question excuses given, but others were more skeptical. Almost half of employers have caught an employee calling in sick with a fake excuse; 27 percent said they have fired a worker for calling in sick without a legitimate reason.

Forty-one percent of hiring managers said they have received unusual or suspicious sick-day alibis. When asked to share the most unusual excuses workers gave for missing work, hiring managers revealed some of their favorite alibis:

1. Employee was poisoned by his mother-in-law.

2. A buffalo escaped from the game reserve and kept charging the employee every time she tried to go to her car from her house.

3. Employee was feeling all the symptoms of his expecting wife.

4. Employee called from his cell phone, saying that he was accidentally locked in a restroom stall and that no one was around to let him out.

5. Employee broke his leg snowboarding off his roof while drunk.

6. Employee's wife said he couldn't come into work because he had a lot of chores to do around the house.

7. One of the walls in the employee's home fell off the night before.

8. Employee's mother was in jail.

9. A skunk got into the employee's house and sprayed all of his uniforms.

10. Employee had a bad case of hiccups.

11. Employee blew his nose so hard, his back went out.

12. Employee's horses got loose and were running down the highway.

13. Employee was hit by a bus while walking.

14. Employee's dog swallowed her bus pass.

15. Employee was sad.

Richard Castellini is Vice President of Consumer Marketing at CareerBuilder.com. He is an expert in recruitment trends and tactics, job seeker behavior and workplace issues.


© Copyright CareerBuilder.com 2007. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority


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