What are the worst excuses to call in sick?

Employment & Skills | Surveys

With the first Monday of February traditionally being the day when the greatest amount of employees call in sick, Perkbox, an employee experience platform, has commissioned research to uncover what the worst excuses for pulling a sickie are this year.

Only 20% of working Brits were revealed to have never pulled a sickie, according to the research.

Ranked from ‘most brilliant’ to ‘most appalling’, check out the excuses that topped the charts:

Rank Sickie Excuse
1 I fell over in the shower and knocked myself out
2 My partner threw the TV remote at me last night and I chipped my tooth
3 I fell down the stairs and broke my coccyx (added implication – can’t sit)
4 I thought it was Saturday today
5 I accidentally ate cat food instead of tuna and fell terribly ill
6 My doctor’s appointment was delayed by 2, then 4, then 8 hours. Then finally when it was my turn I was in the toilet so I kept waiting…
7 I got lucky last night and didn’t know where I was in the morning
8 I needed a day to catch-up on Brexit deals and learn how to apply for permanent residency. It’s for the company’s sake too you know!
9 I dreamt I was at work. As I thought I was there I just stayed asleep
10 I had a bad dream and needed the day to recover

44% of those surveyed believe that the ‘sickie’ culture may be heightened by employees who have a zero work ethic and are abusing the system. After all, nearly one in 10 of those who were asked for proof of sickness last year faked it and nearly a quarter believe having an awful relationship with their managers and/or colleagues may be a key reason why this behaviour arises in the first place.

On the flip side, nearly half of those polled believe the reason why employees pull sickies is because they are unhappy, depressed and overworked in their current jobs or in their private lives. Yet 12% say pulling sickies has resulted in a complete loss of their employer’s trust, making the situation worse. Perhaps that’s why 14% of those who got caught last year, decided to confess the truth.

Hannah Sims, Product Manager at Perkbox Medical said: “UK employees aren’t hard wired to be deceptive, or to skive off work. “Sickies” result from a lack of engagement in the work employees do or in the business they work for, and are often telling of more serious issues.

“Having and enforcing a clear sick leave policy not only makes legal sense and allows you and your business to track absenteeism, it also means you can keep a pulse of your company’s health and signal to employees that you take their wellbeing seriously and are always looking for ways to proactively help them.”

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