Human Resources magazine and the HR Bulletin daily email newsletter:
Asia's only regional HR print and digital media brand.
Register for your FREE subscription now »
With the holiday season just about two months away, bosses might find staff calling in sick more often during the next two months.
According to a new CareerBuilder survey, the month where most employees call in sick is December (21%) followed by July (16%) and January (14%). While the most popular day of the week to call in sick is Monday (48%) followed by Friday (26%) – did any of your employees call in sick today?
Polling more than 3,100 full-time workers and more than 2,500 full-time hiring and human resource managers, the survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder found that despite higher absentee rates during the holiday season, only 8% of employees reported faking MCs during this time. Of those who have, most did it to spend time with family and friends (76%), while others wanted to holiday shop (12%) or decorate for the season (9%).
Thankfully, the survey also found that slightly less workers have pulled sickies over the last 12 months (35 %), down from 38% last year.
When asked why they have they called in sick when they were feeling well, reasons ranged from “just didn’t feel like going in to work” (28%), taking the day off to attend a doctor’s appointment (27%), to relaxing (24%) and catching up on sleep (18%). Meanwhile, 11% took the day off to run personal errands.
The survey also compiled some of the most dubious excuses employees have given for calling in sick, as recounted by employers:
- Employee said the ozone in the air flattened his tires.
- Employee’s pressure cooker had exploded and scared her sister, so she had to stay home.
- Employee had to attend the funeral of his wife’s cousin’s pet because he was an uncle and pallbearer.
- Employee was blocked in by police raiding her home.
- Employee had to testify against a drug dealer and the dealer’s friend mugged him.
- Employee said her roots were showing and she had to keep her hair appointment because she looked like a mess.
- Employee ate cat food instead of tuna and was deathly ill.
- Employee said she wasn’t sick but her llama was.
- Employee had used a hair remover under her arms and had chemical burns as a result. She couldn’t put her arms down by her sides due to that.
- Employee was bowling the game of his life and couldn’t make it to work.
- Employee was experiencing traumatic stress from a large spider found in her home. She had to stay home to deal with the spider
- Employee said he had better things to do.
- Employee ate too much birthday cake.
- Employee was bit by a duck.
To view last years’ most ridiculous excuses, click here.
Though it would be difficult to believe some of the above reasons, the survey found that a majority of employers (67 %) give their employees the benefit of the doubt when it comes to calling in sick. While about a third (33%) revealed that they have checked to see if an employee was telling the truth in one way or another, on par with last year.
Among these employers, asking to see a doctor’s note was the most popular way to find out if the absence was legit (68 %). However, Malaysian employers planning to use this method should beware of private clinics that provide staff with fake MCs.
This was followed by calling the employee (43 %). As many as 18% even went as far as to drive past the employee’s house to catch them in the act.
With the popularity of social media nowadays, employers looking to bust some employees for pulling sickies have another option apart from driving past their employees’ house.
The survey revealed that more than a third of employers (34 %) have caught an employee lying about being sick by checking social media. Of those, 55% have reprimanded the employee for the lie while the stricter 27% have actually fired the employee.
Speaking of firing employees for sickies – the survey found that similar to last year, 22 % of bosses have fired an employee for calling in sick with a fake excuse.
READ MORE: The 10 most popular reasons to call in sick
Photo / 123RF