Poll: More Employees Lying about being Ill

January 26, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A new survey of workers and hiring managers found that the number of employees faking an illness to get a sick day rose during 2005 over the year before.

The CareerBuilder.com poll found that 43% of workers said they called in sick to work when they felt well at least once during the last year, up from 35% in 2004.

Employees admitted that most often they just needed some more sleep and decided to catch up by ditching work. Nearly 23% of workers said they were in that category while 17% said they just didn’t feel like going in. Another 16% attributed their work absence to a doctor’s appointment, and 9% said they used their time to catch up on housework and run personal errands.

Thirty-eight percent of workers said they saw sick days as equivalent to vacation days. Wednesday was the most popular for calling in sick when feeling well, with 27% of workers pulling off that ruse.

Extended weekend absences were also popular, with 26% of workers calling in sick on Monday and 14% on Friday, although those partaking may have put themselves at more risk of scrutiny. Sixty-three percent of hiring managers said they are more suspicious of employees calling in sick on either of those days. The survey also revealed that almost one-fourth of respondents have fired an employee for improperly missing work.

Finally, hiring managers shared some of the more unusual absence excuses they have heard over the years:

  • “I’m too drunk to drive to work.”
  • “I accidentally flushed my keys down the toilet.”
  • “I had to help deliver a baby on my way to work.” (Employee was not in the medical profession.)
  • “I accidentally drove through the automatic garage door before it opened.”
  • “My boyfriend’s snake got loose and I’m afraid to leave the bedroom until he gets home.”
  • “I’m too fat to get into my work pants.”
  • “God didn’t wake me.” (Employee didn’t believe in alarm clocks and thought a higher power would wake her when she was ready.)
  • “I cut my fingernails too short, they’re bleeding and I have to go to the doctor.”
  • “The ghosts in my house kept me up all night.”
  • “I forgot I was getting married today.”
  • “My cow bit me.”
  • “I was walking my dog and slipped on a toad in my driveway and hurt my back.”
  • “My house lock jammed, and I’m locked in.”