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Build Your Career Office Life

The Real Reasons Employees Are Late For Work

The Real Reasons Employees Are Late For Work
Credit: Mopic/Shutterstock

Whether because of heavy traffic, oversleeping or something even more outrageous, showing up for work on time every day can be difficult for many employees. A new study from CareerBuilder revealed that 29 percent of employees show up late to work at least once a month, up from 25 percent a year ago. Tardiness is more frequent for some workers, with 16 percent saying it is a weekly incident for them.

Gridlock is the most common culprit for showing up late. Nearly half of those surveyed say traffic is the reason they can't make it to work on time. Additionally, 32 percent blame their tardiness on oversleeping, with 26 percent saying it's because of bad weather. Being too tired to get out of bed and procrastination were among the other most common reasons for employees being late to work.

Employers say they have heard far stranger excuses for not being on time. Thinking it was still the weekend, watching a soccer game, having to wait for a late pizza delivery and getting locked in a closet are some of the more outrageous excuses human resources managers say they have heard over the years.

Despite more than half of employers expecting their staff to be on time every day, many organizations are willing to overlook the occasional tardiness. Nearly 30 percent of the employers surveyed have no problem with a rare late arrival as long as it doesn’t become a pattern, and 18 percent don't care what time their employees arrive as long as they can still get their work done. [See Related Story: Can Bad Behavior Benefit Your Team?]

Not all employers are so lenient, though. More than 40 percent of organizations have fired someone for being late.

Most employees are responsible enough to make up the time when they do show up late. Close to 70 percent of employees said they typically stay late on days they don't get to work on time.

The study was based on surveys of 2,605 hiring and human resource managers and 3,411 employees.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.