12 Real Excuses Never to Use When Calling in Sick

If you’ve called­ in sick just because you didn’t want to go to work, you’re not alone. According to a recent CareerBuilder.com survey, one-third of employees have played hooky at least once this year. Of the 6,800 employee responses, the most common reasons for lying about being sick were:
  • 9% wanted to miss a meeting, work on a project past a deadline or avoid the wrath of a coworker
  • 30% just needed to relax and recharge
  • 27% had to go to a doctor’s appointment
  • 22% wanted to catch up on sleep
  • 14% “needed” to run personal errands
  • 11% wanted to catch up on housework
  • 11% wanted to spend time with family and/or friends
  • 34% just didn’t feel like going to work.

So why not just tell your boss you need to go to a doctor’s appointment? Most employers didn’t ask for a reason the employee was calling off. Those that did, however, shared some of the more interesting excuses:
  • Employee didn’t want to lose the parking space in front of his house.
  • Employee hit a turkey while riding a bike.
  • Employee said he had a heart attack early that morning, but that he was “all better now."
  • Employee donated too much blood.
  • Employee’s dog was stressed out after a family reunion.
  • Employee was kicked by a deer.
  • Employee contracted mono after kissing a mailroom intern at the company holiday party and suggested the company post some sort of notice to warn others who may have kissed him.
  • Employee swallowed too much mouthwash.
  • Employee’s wife burned all his clothes and he had nothing to wear to work.
  • Employee’s toe was injured when a soda can fell out of the refrigerator.
  • Employee was up all night because the police were investigating the death of someone discovered behind her house.
  • Employee’s psychic told her to stay home.

The heart attack, dead body and mono-infected intern excuses are my personal favorites, and I may try to use one of these in the near future. Of course, if this survey is any indication, I do have to watch out for a snooping boss. Nearly a third of employers have checked in on an employee who called in sick, and 18% said they have fired a worker for not having a legitimate excuse to miss work. A whopping 71% said they required a doctor’s note, and, indicating that there are some truly paranoid bosses out there, 17% said they drove by the employee’s house or apartment.

I’ll make sure to close the blinds.
Erik Samdahl
Erik is the head of marketing at i4cp, and has nearly 20 years in the market research and human capital research industry.