Friday, October 24, 2008

News You Can't Use: "Sick" or "Hooky"

No matter how much you like your job, there are days when huddling under the covers, playing golf, or just watching TV sounds much better than going to work. According to's annual survey on absenteeism, one third of workers have played hooky by calling in sick when they weren't.

The majority of employers don't question worker's sick leave, but at least a third have checked up on workers who called in sick. Eighteen percent have fired a worker over missing without a legitimate excuse.

Why do your employees skip? One out of ten want to miss a meeting, buy time for a late project, or avoid the wrath of a boss or colleague. Others missed work because they just needed to relax and recharge (30%), go to a doctor's appointment (27 %), catch up on sleep (22%), run personal errands (14%t), catch up on housework (11%) or spend time with family and friends (11%). Another 34^ just didn't feel like going to work that day.

Of the 31% of employers who checked up on an employee who called in sick, 71% said they required the employee to show them a doctor's note. Fifty-six percent called the employee at home, 18% had another worker call the employee, and 17% drove by the employee's house or apartment.

Can you say ... stalker?

"It's in your best interest to be up-front with your employer and chances are you'll get the time you need," said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at "More companies today are moving toward a Paid Time Off system, giving employees more flexibility in how they categorize time away from the office. Employers are also expanding the definition of the sick day with 65 stating that they allow their team members to use sick days for mental health days."

When asked to share the most unusual excuses employees gave for missing work, employers offered the following real-life examples:

  -- Employee didn't want to lose the parking space in front of his house.
-- Employee hit a turkey while riding a bike.
-- Employee said he had a heart attack early that morning, but that he was
"all better now."
-- Employee donated too much blood.
-- Employee's dog was stressed out after a family reunion.
-- Employee was kicked by a deer.
-- Employee contracted mono after kissing a mailroom intern at the company
holiday party and suggested the company post some sort of notice to
warn others who may have kissed him.
-- Employee swallowed too much mouthwash.
-- Employee's wife burned all his clothes and he had nothing to wear to
-- Employee's toe was injured when a soda can fell out of the
-- Employee was up all night because the police were investigating the
death of someone discovered behind her house.
-- Employee's psychic told her to stay home.

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