A student’s “My dog ate my homework” excuse has grown up into a whole new collection of creative explanations for not being able to show up to work, according to a 2015 CareerBuilder survey.
One employee skipped work because “he broke his arm reaching for a falling sandwich,” and another because “her cat was stuck inside the dashboard of her car.” A third claimed the universe had told him to take the day off, the survey revealed.
Some 2,300 hiring and human resources managers and 3,300 employees participated in the survey, which found that, in the past year, almost 4 in 10 employees have called in sick when they were healthy.
Most of the time excuses were on the less ridiculous side. Employees mostly used excuses like “bad weather,” “catching up on sleep” and “needing to relax.”
Many people who have faked being sick haven’t made a habit out of it. According to the survey, 68 percent of employees who have pretended to be sick have only done it once or twice in the past year.
A third of employers said they have discovered employees’ deceptions by using social media, according to the survey. And 22 percent of employers have fired employees for using a fake excuse.
Age was a significant factor in an employee’s likelihood to play hooky from work.
“We find that younger employees tend to call in sick when feeling well more often,” said Ladan Nikravan, a former Workforce senior editor and current CareerBuilder corporate communications manager.
Almost 6 in 10 employees ages 18 to 24 have called in sick at least once, but only 1 in 4 employees 55 and older have done the same. The probability decreases by age.
While some healthy employees take sick days liberally, some sick employees don’t have the same luxury. Over half (54 percent) of employees said they have gone into work despite being sick because they felt that the work would not get done otherwise.
Almost half (48 percent) said they went into work sick because they couldn’t miss a day of pay. This is much more common for younger employees than older workers. Seventy-one percent of employees ages 18 to 24 have gone to work sick compared with 32 percent of employees 55 or older, according to the survey.