Employees who call in sick when they aren't really ill are far from alone.
A new study from CareerBuilder found that in the past year, 30 percent of employees have called in sick when they were feeling just fine.
Besides not feeling well, the research revealed that most common reasons employees call in sick are because they just don't feel like going to work or felt they needed to relax. Other popular motives included having doctor's appointments and needing to catch up on sleep or run errands.
Other employees had some more colorfulexplanations for their absences, the survey found, including:
- Employee said her dog was having a nervous breakdown
- Employee's dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation
- Employee's toe was stuck in a faucet
- Employee said a bird bit her
- Employee was upset after watching "The Hunger Games"
- Employee got sick from reading too much
- Employee was suffering from a broken heart
- Employee's hair turned orange from dying her hair at home
While many employees see no repercussions for calling in sick when they aren't ill, others find out the hard way how much damage a white lie can do. The study shows that nearly 20 percent of employers have fired workers for giving a fake excuse.
Overall, 29 percent of supervisors have checked up on an employee to verify that their illness is legitimate, mostly by calling later in the day or asking to see a doctor's note. Other supervisors have had co-workers call to check on a suspected faker, while some have gone as far as to drive by the employee's house.
With the holidays right around the corner, businesses should prepare for an increase in employee sick days. More than 30 percent of the employers surveyed notice an increase in sick days around the winter holidays, with December being the most popular month of the year to call in sick.
The study was based on surveys of 2,494 U.S. hiring managers and human resource professionals and nearly 4,000 U.S. workers.