A new study shows that a third of workers have called in sick with a false ailment just to skip a day of work, a percentage that seems surprising because of how low it is. What’s even more surprising is how lame some of the excuses are.
I’ve never made up an illness to call in sick to work. (School, on the other hand, was a different story…but I never received a paycheck for attending algebra class.)
The study, reported by USA Today, found excuses like a botched hair-dye job, a deceased relatives exhumation as part of a police investigation and — my favorite — being upset after watching The Hunger Games.
Someone actually called in with that? Of interviewed employers, 17% admitted to firing an employee for giving a phony excuse.
The primary reason I don’t call in sick with a fake illness is that I’m the kind of guy who’d always get caught if I did.
I do have enough common sense that if I just needed one of those “mental health days,” I’d at least make sure I make no mentions of “taking a day off” or “enjoying a day at the beach” on any social media. But taking a “mental health day” can, at times, be legitimate. Sometimes, the pressures get to all of us.
I have three weeks of vacation every year. I have one additional “floating holiday,” which is one we can use at any time (except for sweeps months, of course). There’s a second floating holiday that management gets to set for everyone, and that day is almost always the Friday after Thanksgiving; that’s a great decision, because most of us would be too packed with turkey to get much done that day, anyway.
That gives me, essentially, 17 days to work with. On top of that, I have 8 sick days I’m allowed each year. That gives me 25 days I’m legitimately allowed to take, though it’s clear that everyone hopes I’ll stick with the first 17.
Last week, I took two sick days for my annual sinus infection. It hit just hard enough that it left me feeling like all I wanted to do was lie down on the couch and sleep all day. I have to admit that it was nice to be able to do that. Even so, after two days, I couldn’t take it anymore…I needed to be back at work doing something other than wallowing in how bad I felt. By then, of course, the antibiotics had started working, so there was no fever and I was already starting to feel better.
Usually, I’ll take a portion of a sick day when I have an appointment with the dentist. That keeps me from having to work longer hours to make up for the time spent in the dentist’s chair; I figure on days like that, I’ve already been through enough.
What’s the most ridiculous excuse you’ve heard someone at your workplace give for needing a sick day?