Many workers aren’t above taking a sick day despite having a clean bill of health, according to a CareerBuilder’s annual survey.
Thirty-eight percent of employees have called in to work sick when they’re feeling well in the past year, up from 28% last year. Of the employees who have called in sick when feeling well, 27% said they had a doctor’s appointment, the same proportion said they just didn’t feel like going, 26% said they needed to relax, 21% said they needed to catch up on sleep and 12% blamed bad weather.
Of the 52% of employees who have a Paid Time Off (PTO) program that allows them to use their time off however they choose, 27% say they still feel obligated to make up an excuse for taking a day off (compared to 23% last year). Of these employees who have a PTO program, 32% of those ages 18 to 34 say they still feel obligated to make up an excuse, compared to 20% of those 55 and older.
On the other hand, some feel they can’t afford to use a sick day, even when they’re ill. More than half of employees (54%) say they have gone into work when sick because they felt the work wouldn’t get done otherwise. Further, nearly half (48%) say they can’t afford to miss a day of pay, up from 38% last year.NEXT: Busted for faking sick
The most popular months for employees to call in sick continue to be December (20%), January (15%) and February (14%), on par with last year’s survey results. And while less than one in 10 employees (9%) say they have ever faked being sick during the holidays, those that do most often say it’s to spend time with family and friends (68%), while others wanted to holiday shop (21%) or decorate for the season (9%).
While most employers claim to trust their employees, one in three (33%) have checked to see if an employee was telling the truth after calling in sick this year, compared to 31% last year. Of these employers, asking to see a doctor’s note was the most popular way to find out of the absence was based in truth (67%), followed by calling the employee (49%) and checking the employee’s social media posts (32%).
More than one in five employers (22%) have fired an employee for calling in sick with a fake excuse, an increase from last year (18%). Thirty-three percent of all employers have caught an employee lying about being sick by checking the employee’s social media accounts, and of those, 26% have fired the employee.NEXT: Most memorable excuses
When asked to share the most memorable excuses for workplace absences they’ve heard, employers reported the following:
- Employee claimed his grandmother poisoned him with ham;
- Employee was stuck under the bed;
- Employee broke his arm reaching to grab a falling sandwich;
- Employee said the universe was telling him to take a day off;
- Employee’s wife found out he was cheating. He had to spend the day retrieving his belongings from the dumpster;
- Employee poked herself in the eye while combing her hair;
- Employee said his wife put all his underwear in the washer;
- Employee said the meal he cooked for a department potluck didn’t turn out well;
- Employee was going to the beach because the doctor said she needed more vitamin D; and
- Employee said her cat was stuck inside the dashboard of her car.
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