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Most Outrageous Reasons People Have Used to Call in Sick

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When it comes to calling in sick for work do you go with the more conservative approach? Perhaps you claim something you ate the day before made you sick? Perhaps you have a cold? Or do you go all out and say something like, “A swarm of bees surrounded your vehicle and you couldn’t make it in.” Don’t laugh. That’s a real excuse an employer reports an employee used to take the day off in on a new survey.

So how often are employees faking it? Career Builder released a very entertaining study of the most outrageous excuses workers have given their bosses to call in sick. The survey found that nearly one third (32 percent) of workers have called in sick when not actually ill, up slightly from last year (30 percent).

Most Outrageous Excuses

Cue the drum roll here, these are the most memorable excuses for workplace absences according to employers surveyed :

· Employee’s false teeth flew out the window while driving down the highway

· Employee’s favorite football team lost on Sunday so needed Monday to recover

· Employee was quitting smoking and was grouchy

· Employee said that someone glued her doors and windows shut so she couldn’t leave the house to come to work

· Employee bit her tongue and couldn’t talk

· Employee claimed a swarm of bees surrounded his vehicle and he couldn’t make it in

· Employee said the chemical in turkey made him fall asleep and he missed his shift

· Employee felt like he was so angry he was going to hurt someone if he came in

· Employee received a threatening phone call from the electric company and needed to report it to the FBI

· Employee needed to finish Christmas shopping

· Employee’s fake eye was falling out of its socket

· Employee got lost and ended up in another state

· Employee couldn’t decide what to wear

· Employee’s favorite football team lost on Sunday so needed Monday to recover

· Employee was quitting smoking and was grouchy

· Employee said that someone glued her doors and windows shut so she couldn’t leave the house to come to work

· Employee bit her tongue and couldn’t talk

· Employee claimed a swarm of bees surrounded his vehicle and he couldn’t make it in

· Employee said the chemical in turkey made him fall asleep and he missed his shift

· Employee felt like he was so angry he was going to hurt someone if he came in

· Employee received a threatening phone call from the electric company and needed to report it to the FBI

· Employee needed to finish Christmas shopping

· Employee’s fake eye was falling out of its socket

· Employee got lost and ended up in another state

· Employee couldn’t decide what to wear

Checking up on Fakers

Before you think you’re going to use that ‘ole fake eye excuse the next time you decide to call in sick to work, listen to this: The survey found thirty percent of employers say that they have checked in on employees who have called out to make sure the excuse was legitimate. Of those who verified employees’ excuses over the past year:

· 64 percent required a doctor’s note

· 48 percent called the employee

· 19 percent checked the employee’s social media posts

· 17 percent had another employee call the sick employee

· 15 percent drove past the employee’s house

· 16 percent say they’ve fired employees for calling in sick with a fake excuse

· 48 percent called the employee

· 19 percent checked the employee’s social media posts

· 17 percent had another employee call the sick employee

· 15 percent drove past the employee’s house

· 16 percent say they’ve fired employees for calling in sick with a fake excuse

Should you force yourself to go to work when sick?

The survey also found 30 percent of employees say they’ve gone to work despite actually being sick in order to save their sick days for when they’re feeling well. But is that a wise call? Ben Waber, PhD has been doing some work at MIT using sensing technology to understand workplace interactions and he measured the effect of working from home versus coming in sick. Waber says, “Staying home from work when you’re sick reduces the number of colleagues that get sick; it also negatively impacts everyone’s performance. Essentially, they’re missing out on all of the face-to-face interactions that you have with them, which is one of the key drivers of productivity and job satisfaction.”

The conclusion: Waber’s data shows that if you’re only a little sick, it’s much better for you and your colleagues to tough it out, but if you can barely get out of bed it’s best to stay home.

Which sick day policies work well?

Barbara Bergin, M.D., a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon from Austin, Texas says her office instituted a policy where they gave people bonuses for not calling in sick. Despite the incentive for more money in their pockets, the same people continued to call in sick.

Finally, managers changed the program because they thought the program wasn’t an incentive for the frequent sickies. Bergin says, “We felt as if we were beating our heads against a wall. We initiated a paid time off plan so that sick leave and vacation are melded into one. We now have a punitive policy for those who regularly call in sick. The same folks continue to call in sick. But they only do it so that they stay under the punitive line.”

Would you ever consider using the excuse, “My palm reading indicates I should stay home?” When this author was asking for input on this article she got an email from certified counselor and fortune teller Alexandra Chauran. She says her clients ask her if they should go to work so frequently, she used Palmistry to create a guide.

If it looks like your Ring of Saturn is off, or your Adversity Lines are showing… you may want to make that sick call. Chauran says, “I’m not sure I tell them that they have full permission to blame their psychic, if needed. But most workplaces don’t require a specific excuse for a sick day unless special instruction about sick days is included in the employee handbook.”

Not sure if the palm reading would be harder to prove than a swarm of bees surrounding your car. What do you think? What is the craziest excuse you’ve ever used calling in sick or heard from one of your employees?

The CareerBuilder survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive© from August 13 to September 6, 2013, and included a representative sample of 3,484 workers and 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes

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