Survey lists wacky sick day excuses

Nearly 30 percent of U.S. workers admit to having faked an illness to use a sick leave at work.

According to a new survey conducted by, 30 percent of American workers have lied to their bosses about being ill.

And, what big lies some have told!

Several employers who participated in the survey shared the most colorful excuses they’ve heard including: “Employees dog was having a nervous breakdown,” “Employee’s sobriety tool wouldn’t allow the car to start,” and “Employee was upset after watching “The Hunger Games.”

Honesty really is the best policy, most supervisors advised, and there was no need to deliver that message with dramatic effects such as a perfectly-timed cough.

The survey asked 3,796 employees if they had lied in the past year about being sick. Nearly one-third admitted to fake ailments or “stretching the truth.” One-sixth admitted they skipped work to “catch up on sleep.”

Here are the most common excuses heard by supervisors.

1. Diarrhea
2. 24-hour-flu
3. Food poisoning
4. Migraine
5. PMS
6. Sick children
7. Sick animals
8. Backaches
9. Vomiting
10. Cold/fever

Often, it’s not so much what excuse is given, but how it’s delivered, supervisors said. A general rule, is the longer the explanation, the less likely the excuse sounds to be true.

Also, some lies by particular employees are obvious. For example, an employee who is an avid snowboarder that calls in sick after each large snow in the high country is probably lying. Or, someone who checks on the number of sick days available in the Human Resources office, then calls in sick the next day, is probably faking it.

The survey said 29 percent of employers will try to verify the sick day, either by requiring a doctor’s note or driving by the employee’s home.

“The most common reasons employees call in sick are because they just don’t feel like going to work (34 percent), or because they felt like they needed to relax (29 percent). Others take the day off so they can make it to a doctor’s appointment (22 percent), catch up on sleep (16 percent), or run some errands (15 percent),” the survey said.


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