Fewer Workers Are Tardy, but Excuses Are No Less Crazy

March 17, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A new CareerBuilder survey finds fewer workers this year report sometimes being tardy for work.

Sixteen percent of workers said they arrive late to work at least once a week, down from 20% in last year’s survey, according to a press release. Eight percent said they are late at least twice a week, down from 12% last year. 

The most common reasons for being tardy are traffic (32%) and lack of sleep (24%). Seven percent each blamed getting their kids ready for school or day care and bad weather for making them late. Other common reasons included public transportation, wardrobe issues, or dealing with pets.      

CareerBuilder attributes the decline in tardy workers to the tighter job market. “Some workers may be more concerned with the nuances of their on-the-job performance these days, resulting in fewer late arrivals,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, in the press release.       

More than one-third (34%) of employers said they have terminated an employee for being late.       

Some of the most outrageous excuses hiring managers reported employees offered for arriving late to work include:

  • I got mugged and was tied to the steering wheel of my car.
  • My deodorant was frozen to the window sill.
  • My car door fell off.
  • It was too windy.
  • I dreamed I was already at work.
  • I had to go to the hospital because I drank antifreeze.
  • I had an early morning gig as a clown.
  • A roach crawled in my ear.
  • I saw an elderly lady at a bus stop and decided to pick her up.
  • My dog swallowed my cell phone.


The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive among 2,720 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time; not self-employed; with at least significant involvement in hiring decisions; non government); and 5,231 U.S. employees (employed full-time; not self-employed; non government) ages 18 and over, between November 5 and November 23, 2009.