Quarter of UK Workers Call in Sick with Fake Excuses

Employers share the most unusual reasons employees used to explain an absence.

A nationwide survey by jobs website CareerBuilder found 26% of UK workers pulled at least one sickie last year. Seven% called in sick when they were well three times or more with some resorting to a host of bizarre excuses to dodge work including being trapped under a collapsed bed, losing a glass eye and drinking “bad beer.”

Of those who called in sick:

  • 16% “just didn’t feel like going into work.”
  • 13% had a job interview lined up.
  • 12% wanted to catch up with housework or just to relax.
  • 7% said they wanted to avoid a client or colleague.
  • 6% to dodge the wrath of a boss.
  • 6% called in because of bad weather or they had plans with friends or family.

However, there was evidence that some employers are taking a tough line with those feigning illness. Almost a third (29%) of employers said they have fired an employee for missing work without a legitimate excuse.

The survey of 480 workers and 250 employers also found staff were not averse to using desperate or far-fetched reasons to bunk off.

When asked to share the most unusual excuses employees gave for missing work, employers offered the following real-life examples:

  • My glass eye fell out and I can’t find it.
  • My body needs to adjust to the climate change.
  • My bed broke and I’m trapped under it.
  • I rode my bike into a lamppost.
  • I had some bad beer.
  • My toenails are too long for shoes and I couldn’t find a clipper.
  • I forgot to buy an alarm clock.
  • My house won’t let me out, I’m locked in.
  • My sink is blocked.
  • I got pepper in my eye.

“Smaller staffs, increased workloads and longer hours are byproducts of a dampened economy,”

said Jason Ferrara, Senior Career Advisor for CareerBuilder.

“We see more employers today expanding the definition of sick time for workers who need a day off to recharge, so your best bet is to be honest with your boss.”

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