Have you seen a lot more empty seats around the workplace these days? While the cold and flu season is a heavy contributor to workplace absences this time of year, more workers are using sick days in winter to take care of post-holiday shopping or visits with family.
In fact, 29% of workers have admitted to playing hooky from the office, citing errands and plans with family and friends among the top reasons for calling in sick when they were well, according to a CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,600 employers and 4,300 workers.
While employers reported heightened absenteeism around the holidays, the prime time of year when companies say employees call in sick is in the first quarter:
- January through March – 34%
- April through June – 13%
- July through September – 30%
- October through December – 23%
Most unusual excuses
When asked to share the most unusual excuses employees gave for missing work, employers offered the following real-life examples:
1) Employee’s 12-year-old daughter stole his car and he had no other way to work. Employee didn’t want to report it to the police.
2) Employee said bats got in her hair.
3) Employee had a headache after going to too many garage sales.
4) Employee said a refrigerator fell on him.
5) Employee was in line at a coffee shop when a truck carrying flour backed up and dumped the flour into her convertible.
6) Employee said a deer bit him during hunting season.
7) Employee ate too much at a party.
8) Employee fell out of bed and broke his nose.
9) Employee got a cold from a puppy.
10) Employee’s child stuck a mint up his nose and had to go to the ER to remove it.
11) Employee hurt his back chasing a beaver.
12) Employee drank anti-freeze by mistake and had to go to the hospital.
13) Employee was at a bowling alley and a bucket filled with water crashed through the ceiling and hit her on the head.
“While outrageous events are known to happen, frequent absences and over-the-top excuses can start to bring your credibility into question,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Many employers are more flexible in their definition of a sick day and will allow employees to use them to recharge and take care of personal needs. This is especially evident post-recession when employees have taken on added responsibilities and are working longer days. Your best bet is to be up front with your manager."