Of course, no one should be forced to go into work when they are legitimately sick — it’s not just bad for the employee’s health, but it’s also bad for the health of everyone around them and could cause an outbreak in your office. But some employees are going to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off-level faking just to get a free, personal day off work. And if that’s true, they’re not alone.
A study by CareerBuilder shows:
- 1 in 4 employers have caught an employee faking sick through social media
- 1 in 5 have fired an employee for calling in sick with a fake excuse
Yet every year, loads and loads of employees are still taking the risk. Forbes looked into just why some people call out sick when they’re definitely not under the weather:
- 33% report that they just “don’t feel like going”
- 28% felt like they needed to relax
Those numbers ought to scare you, since our Employee Retention Report found that employees who are tired and burnt out are 31% more likely to think about looking for a new job.
Excuses for Calling in Sick
Using these yearly reports from CareerBuilder, here are some of the top excuses employers report hearing from their employees and employees report offering up — the more worrying thing would be if they were true.
- Employee's sobriety tool wouldn't allow the car to start: This excuse is probably worse than just not showing up, right?
- Employee caught their uniform on fire by putting it in the microwave to dry: In this case, maybe just go with the age-old excuse that your car broke down so your employer isn’t questioning your IQ.
- Employee was upset after watching the film "The Hunger Games": The same employee probably has to leave work if Adele’s tear-jerker song “Someone Like You” accidentally pops up on their Pandora radio station.
- Employee had a gallstone they wanted to heal holistically: It is completely appropriate to call in sick with gallstones, but maybe keep the excuse to just “I have gallstones” and leave it at that.
- Employee’s dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation: One employee is certainly taking the “my grandmother died” classic excuse up several dozen notches.
- Employee’s hair turned orange from dying her hair at home: The employer could have really upped the ante by starting to sing Grease’s “Beauty School Drop-Out.” Probably a bigger problem if this person is in the hair and makeup industry.
- Employee was feeling all the same symptoms as his pregnant wife: It would be even worse if he said this to his expecting spouse.
- Employee had a particularly bad case of the hiccups: You laugh, but some people can’t stop hiccupping for years.
- The dog ate an employee’s ID badge and bus pass: This is the adult version of the dog ate my homework — and probably will work just as poorly.
- “My boyfriend's snake got loose and I'm afraid to leave the bedroom”: I hope they crossed their fingers that their boss had an equal phobia of creepy crawlers.
- Employee woke up in a good mood and didn't want to ruin it: Well, who could argue with that?
When it comes to calling in sick to work, it’s probably best to leave it for when you’re legitimately sick, unless your company gives away prizes for most creative excuse.