Office Life

These were the worst excuses for missing work in 2017

A new report from CareerBuilder shows the lengths people go to in order not to come to work. According to the site’s annual survey, 40% of workers have called in sick in the last 12 months when they weren’t, compared to 35% in 2016.

Among the craziest reasons provided by employees, as reported by employers:

  • A bear was in employee’s yard and they were afraid to come out.
  • Employee’s phone exploded and it hurt their hand.
  • Employee ate a toothpick in his food at restaurant.
  • Employee broke his arm wrestling a female bodybuilder.
  • Employee called in “fat” because uniform didn’t fit.
  • Dog swallowed employee’s car keys so she was waiting until it came out.
  • Employee left his clothes at the laundry mat.
  • Employee did not have enough gas to get to work.
  • Employee had to re-schedule a new manicure because some of their artificial nails fell off.
  • Employee were not sure how the solar eclipse would affect them so it would be safer to stay at home.

Meanwhile, 26% of employers have let an employee go because they had “a fake excuse,” and 43% of employers have snooped on an employee on social media, only to find out that they weren’t actually sick.

Harris Poll surveyed thousands of employees and and HR and hiring managers ages 18 and up, who didn’t work for the government or themselves, but have full-time positions at private companies in the U.S., for CareerBuilder.

Here are some other points that stood out.

The nature of sick days

The research found that the most popular cause of taking a sick day — presumably a real one — was heading to a doctor’s appointment, reported by 30% of workers.

At the same time, 37% of workers admit to heading to work when they don’t feel well in order to save their sick days. Forty-eight percent do so because of the money.

“Nearly three in five workers who have a paid time off program (28 percent) say they feel obligated to make up an excuse for taking a day off, even though the majority of employees (54 percent) work for companies with a paid time off (PTO) program which rolls sick, vacation and personal days together,” the press release said.

Here’s how fake excuses can harm your credibility at work

You’re better off telling the truth.

Rosemary Haefner, CHRO of CareerBuilder, commented on the findings in a statement.

“Life is busy – and occasionally taking time off is necessary in order to show up to work mentally and physically prepared to have a positive impact on productivity,” she said. “Your reputation is very important and you should always be upfront and honest with your boss about the time you need off. Outlandish excuses for calling off work can raise red flags and can lead to trust issues, so avoid them at all costs.”

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