Adding to the debate around sick note requirements, new research shows workers "save" their sick days by coming to work while ill.
According to the survey from CareerBuilder, in the past year, nearly one-third (32%) of workers have called in sick when not actually ill, up slightly from last year (30%). On the flip side, 30% of employees say they’ve gone to work despite actually being sick in order to save their sick days for when they’re feeling well.
Cold weather and holiday stress can take a toll on absentee rates. Three in 10 say they notice an increased number of sick days among their employees around the holidays. Nineteen per cent of employers say that December is the time of year that employees call in sick the most, followed by January (16%) and February (15%).
Apart from actual illness, the most common reason employees take sick days is because they just don’t feel like going to work (33%), or because they needed to relax (28%). Others spend their sick days going to the doctor (24%), catching up on sleep (19%), or running personal errands (14%).
When asked to share the most memorable excuses for workplace absences that they’ve heard, employers reported the following real-life examples:
- Employee’s false teeth flew out the window while driving down the highway
- Employee’s favourite football team lost on Sunday so needed Monday to recover
- Employee was quitting smoking and was grouchy
- Employee bit her tongue and couldn’t talk
- Employee claimed a swarm of bees surrounded his vehicle and he couldn’t make it in
- Employee said the chemical in turkey made him fall asleep and he missed his shift
- Employee felt like he was so angry he was going to hurt someone if he came in
- Employee needed to finish Christmas shopping
- Employee’s fake eye was falling out of its socket
- Employee couldn’t decide what to wear
Of those who verified employees’ excuses over the past year, 64% required a doctor’s note, 48% called the employee, 19% checked the employee’s social media posts, 17% had another employee call the sick employee, and 15% drove past the employee’s house.
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