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One-third of workers play hooky

  • Story Highlights
  • Survey finds one in three workers played hooky last year
  • Excuses: Kicked by deer, drank too much mouthwash, dog is too stressed
  • Thirty-one percent of employers checked up on workers calling in sick
  • Sixty-five percent of employers think mental health day valid excuse
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By Jason Ferrara marketing vice president
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Almost a third of workers played hooky last year because they needed to relax and recharge.

Almost a third of workers played hooky last year because they needed to relax and recharge.

If you decided to stay home from work today because your psychic told you to, would you tell your boss the truth or make up an excuse?

One employee faced with this dilemma told her boss the truth, but's annual survey on absenteeism shows that many of us wouldn't. Thirty-three percent of employees played hooky last year and, rather than come clean with their bosses, they pretended to be sick.

Just not wanting to go to work that day was enough to keep 34 percent of workers from showing up this year. Although most truant workers lacked the motivation to go to work, some were avoiding the headaches awaiting them at the office. Nine percent of workers who played hooky wanted to skip a meeting, spend time working on an overdue project or avoid the wrath of a boss or colleague.

Another common reason employees skipped work was because they had other things to do. Thirty percent of workers needed to relax and recharge, and 22 percent caught up on their sleep. Medical appointments, personal errands and quality time with friends and family were also good enough reasons to feign illness.

If you do decide to call in sick when you're not, be prepared to sell your story with sniffles and a throaty cough; 18 percent of employers have fired workers who missed work without a legitimate reason. Thirty-one percent of employers checked up on an employee who called in sick. Of those employers who did check, 71 percent required a doctor's note. Fifty-six percent called the employee at home, while 18 percent asked another worker to call the employee at home and 17 percent drove by the employee's home.

As tempted as you may be to weave an elaborate yarn explaining your absence, the truth is your smartest route. If you're honest with your boss, you don't have to worry about a slip of the tongue or an unexpected run-in with the boss foiling your alibi.

Plus, employers have grown flexible in terms of what constitutes a sick day, as 65 percent of them consider the need to take a mental health day a valid reason to take time off. Therefore, the need to take a personal day no longer has the stigma it once did.

Most memorable excuses

If you decide to take tomorrow off, it behooves you to tell the truth. But if you'd rather get a little creative, take a look at what other excuses employees have given for not going to work:

1. Employee didn't want to lose the parking space in front of his house.

2. Employee hit a turkey while riding a bike.

3. Employee said he had a heart attack early that morning, but that he was "all better now."

4. Employee donated too much blood.

5. Employee's dog was stressed out after a family reunion.

6. Employee was kicked by a deer.

7. Employee contracted mono after kissing a mailroom intern at the company holiday party and suggested the company post some sort of notice to warn others who may have kissed him.

8. Employee swallowed too much mouthwash.

9. Employee's wife burned all his clothes and he had nothing to wear to work.

10. Employee's toe was injured when a soda can fell out of the refrigerator.

Copyright 2009. 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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