Bogus Sick Days Down from Last Year

November 28, 2006 ( - A recent survey found 32% of workers polled called in sick at least once when they felt well during 2006, down from 43% who did so in 2005.

One in ten of the 1,650 workers polled said they used a bogus sick day at least three times or more in the last year, according to a press release. One-in-four workers said they consider sick days to be equivalent to vacation days, while 38% said so in the prior survey (See Poll: More Employees Lying about being Ill ).

The most popular reason for giving a fake excuse and calling in sick was the need to relax, cited by 48% of workers, the release said. Other reasons given included the desire to catch up on sleep (24%), personal errands (20%), doctor’s appointments (17%), plans with family and friends (16%) and housework (16%).

The survey found women were more likely to take a sick day when they were feeling well (37%) than men (26%). In addition, among the 1,150 hiring managers surveyed, male employers were more likely to terminate an employee for an unexcused sick day than female employers. Thirty-five percent of male hiring managers surveyed said they have fired an employee for calling in sick with a fake excuse compared to 15% of female hiring managers. Twenty-seven percent of hiring managers overall reported firing a worker for having no legitimate reason for taking a sick day.

Forty-one percent of hiring managers said they have received unusual or suspicious sick day alibis, and 62% of that number did not believe them. Examples of unusual excuses hiring managers heard were:

  • Employee was poisoned by his mother-in-law.
  • A buffalo escaped from the game reserve and kept charging the employee every time she tried to go to her car from her house.
  • Employee was feeling all the symptoms of his expecting wife.
  • Employee called from his cell phone, said he was accidentally locked in a restroom stall and no one was around to let him out.
  • Employee broke his leg snowboarding off his roof while drunk.
  • Employee’s wife said he couldn’t come into work because he had a lot of chores to do around the house.
  • One of the walls in the employee’s home fell off the night before.
  • Employee’s mother was in jail.
  • A skunk got into the employee’s house and sprayed all of his uniforms.
  • Employee had bad hiccups.
  • Employee blew his nose so hard, his back went out.
  • Employee’s horses got loose and were running down the highway.
  • Employee was hit by a bus while walking.
  • Employee’s dog swallowed her bus pass.
  • Employee was sad.