I can’t come into work today. I accidentally boarded a plane.
While that may sound like a completely ridiculous excuse, an employee actually used it this year
, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.
The survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,103 full-time US workers and 2,203 employers, found that 28% of employees have called in sick when they were feeling well over the last 12 months.
Some just “didn’t feel like going in,” while others “wanted the day to relax” or “needed to catch up on sleep.” A few even played hooky because of bad weather.
“In some companies, people don’t feel comfortable telling their managers they need personal time off, so they will think of an elaborate excuse to get out of work,” says Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder’s vice president of human resources. “The more flexible the work environment, and the more open and honest the communication is across the company, and the less likely it is employees will feel the need to lie.”
If you need to take a day off, your best bet is to be honest with your manager, otherwise you can lose credibility by making over-the-top excuses, she says. “Many employers are more flexible in their definition of a sick day and will allow employees to use them to recharge and take care of personal needs.”
But if you choose to fib anyway, beware: While the majority of employers give their employees the benefit of the doubt, 31% said they have checked to see if an employee was telling the truth — and about 18% said they have fired an employee for giving a fake excuse.
The survey asked hiring managers and HR professionals to share the most suspicious excuses employees have given for needing to miss a day of work. “It never fails to surprise me what they say employees have revealed to them in order to get out of work,” Haefner says. “The excuses have become increasingly creative over the years.”
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