Fake sick days: Who's taking them and why?

Employees have been known to 'throw a sickie' now and then. But who is most likely to and just how creative are workers when it comes to the perfect excuse? A new survey reveals all.

Fake sick days: Who's taking them and why?
It's no secret employees use the odd sick day for other purposes, but who is most likely to abuse the privilege?

According to a CareerBuilder survey if you are in HR in a Professional and Business Services organisation you may want to keep an eye of the sick leave workers are taking.
The survey results show that employees in this sector called in sick the most often (35 per cent) in the past year, followed by closely by Sales employees (34 per cent).  While employees in the IT (22 per cent), Retail (21 per cent) and Leisure and Hospitality (20 per cent) industries were least likely to call in sick this past year.
When it comes to the reason for calling in sick when feeling well, 30 per cent said they just didn’t feel like going in to work and 29 per cent said they wanted the day to relax.

Another 21 per cent took the day off to attend a doctor’s appointment, 19 per cent wanted to catch up on sleep, while bad weather prompted 11 per cent of employees to use a sick day.

There are of course some rather dubious excuses given.

Employers taking part in the survey reported hearing the following real-life examples:

1. Employee just put a casserole in the oven.

2. Employee’s plastic surgery for enhancement purposes needed some "tweaking" to get it just right.

3. Employee was sitting in the bathroom and her feet and legs fell asleep. When she stood, up she fell and broke her ankle.

4. Employee had been at the casino all weekend and still had money left to play with on Monday morning.

5. Employee woke up in a good mood and didn't want to ruin it.

6. Employee had a “lucky night” and didn’t know where he was.

7. Employee got stuck in the blood pressure machine at the grocery store and couldn't get out.

8. Employee had a gall stone they wanted to heal holistically.

9. Employee caught their uniform on fire by putting it in the microwave to dry.

10. Employee accidentally got on a plane.

Employers, it seems, are relatively trusting when it comes to sick leave with 31 per cent saying they have checked to see if an employee was telling the truth in one way or another.

Among employers who have checked up on an employee who called in sick, asking to see a doctor’s note was the most popular way to find out if the absence was legit (66 per cent), followed by calling the employee (49 per cent). As many as 15 per cent of employers drove past the employee’s house.

Some workers, however, gave themselves away courtesy of social media. One in four employers (24 per cent) have caught an employee lying about being sick by checking social media. Of those, 22 per cent have fired the employee.

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