Employers Share List of 15 Most Unusual Excuses for Calling in Sick
Chicago, Illinois - October 19, 2011 - Healthcare employers expect to see less employee traffic as the holidays approach, a new MiracleWorkers.com survey finds. Over one-third (37 percent) of healthcare employers reported that workers call in sick more often during the winter holidays.
While the cold and flu season is a heavy contributor to workplace absences this time of year, some workers may be using sick days to take care of some holiday shopping or other errands. Twenty-eight percent of healthcare workers have admitted to already playing hooky from work this year, citing personal errands, doctor's appointments and lack of desire to work among the top reasons for calling in sick when they were well. The nationwide study was conducted by Harris Interactive from August 16 to September 8, 2011 and included more than 280 healthcare employers and nearly 600 healthcare workers.
Top time of year for absenteeism
While healthcare employers reported heightened absenteeism around the holidays, the prime time of year when companies say employees call in sick is in the first quarter:
- January through March - 34 percent
- April through June - 10 percent
- July through September - 30 percent
- October through December - 26 percent
Texting in sick
When it comes to notifying employers that they are taking a sick day, some healthcare workers reported they are bypassing a phone call to the boss and relying on digital communications.
- Phone call - 89 percent
- Email - 20 percent
- Text message - 14 percent
Most unusual excuses
When asked to share the most unusual excuses employees gave for missing work, employers across all industries offered the following real-life examples:
1) Employee's 12-year-old daughter stole their car and they had no other way to work. Employee didn't want to report it to the police.
2) Employee said bats got in her hair.
3) Employee said a refrigerator fell on him.
4) Employee was in line at a coffee shop when a truck carrying flour backed up and dumped the flour into her convertible.
5) Employee said a deer bit him during hunting season.
6) Employee ate too much at a party.
7) Employee fell out of bed and broke his nose.
8) Employee got a cold from a puppy.
9) Employee's child stuck a mint up his nose and had to go to the ER to remove it.
10) Employee hurt his back chasing a beaver.
11) Employee got his toe caught in a vent cover.
12) Employee had a headache after going to too many garage sales.
13) Employee's brother-in-law was kidnapped by a drug cartel while in Mexico.
14) Employee drank anti-freeze by mistake and had to go to the hospital.
15) Employee was at a bowling alley and a bucket filled with water (due to a leak) crashed through the ceiling and hit her on the head.
Checking up on employees
Calling in sick without a legitimate excuse can have serious consequences. Seventeen percent of healthcare employers said they have fired a worker for this reason. Thirty percent have checked up on an employee, citing the following examples:
- 80 percent required a doctor's note
- 50 percent called the employee
- 18 percent had another employee call the employee
- 10 percent drove by the employee's home
"Hospitals and other healthcare organizations are often already understaffed, so an unexpected absence can cause serious challenges," said Rob Morris, product director at MiracleWorkers.com. "If you need time off, it's important to inform your manager, so they can plan for your absence. While the unexpected can happen, you want to make sure you don't hurt your credibility with the organization."
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 288 Healthcare hiring managers and human resource professionals and 598 Healthcare workers (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) ages 18 and over between August 16 and September 8, 2011 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With pure probability samples of 288 and 598, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/-5.77 and +/-4.01 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.
MiracleWorkers.com is a network of skill-specific healthcare sites designed to recruit talented healthcare professionals. For more information, visit www.MiracleWorkers.com.
MiracleWorkers.com is a division of CareerBuilder, the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract their most important asset - their people. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 40 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world's top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and data analysis to recruitment support. More than 9,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder's proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.