Excuse for Missing Work: I Drank too much Mouthwash

October 23, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A third of workers in CareerBuilder.com's latest absenteeism survey have called in sick when they were well at least once this year.

A news release said that while the majority of employers typically don’t question the reason for the absence, 31% reported they have checked up on an employee who called in sick and 18% said they have fired a worker for missing work without a legitimate excuse.

Some 9% who played hooky admitted to calling in sick because they wanted to miss a meeting, buy some time to work on a project that was already due, or avoid the wrath of a boss or colleague.

Others missed work because they just needed to relax and recharge (30%), go to a doctor’s appointment (27%), catch up on sleep (22%), run personal errands (14%), catch up on housework (11%), or spend time with family and friends (11%). Another 34% just didn’t feel like going to work that day.

Of the 31% of employers who checked up on an employee who called in sick, 71% said they required the employee to show them a doctor’s note. Fifty-six percent called the employee at home, 18% had another worker call the employee, and 17% drove by the employee’s house.

“It’s in your best interest to be upfront with your employer and chances are you’ll get the time you need,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder.com, in the news release.

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder.com among 3,388 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time; not self-employed with at least significant involvement in hiring decisions); and 6,842 U.S. employees (employed full-time; not self-employed) ages 18 and over between August 21 and September 9, 2008, respectively.

When asked to share the most unusual excuses employees gave for missing work, employers offered the following real-life examples:

  • Employee didn't want to lose the parking space in front of his house.
  • Employee hit a turkey while riding a bike.
  • Employee said he had a heart attack early that morning, but that he was "all better now."
  • Employee donated too much blood.
  • Employee's dog was stressed out after a family reunion.
  • Employee was kicked by a deer.
  • Employee contracted mono after kissing a mailroom intern at the company holiday party and suggested the company post some sort of notice to warn others who may have kissed him.
  • Employee swallowed too much mouthwash.
  • Employee's wife burned all his clothes and he had nothing to wear to work.
  • Employee's toe was injured when a soda can fell out of the refrigerator.
  • Employee was up all night because the police were investigating the death of someone discovered behind her house.
  • Employee's psychic told her to stay home.