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Top 10 Most Ridiculous Reasons Why an Employee Calls Off

January 9, 2017 | Jim Rubadue

employee-sick.jpgFor better or worse, sick days are just a matter of doing business. In most cases of employees calling off, it’s because they’re sick—especially during flu season and during the winter months when viruses tend to be more common. 

But then there are those who call in for other reasons (sometimes humorous after the fact), leaving employers short staffed and scrambling to fill shifts and rearrange schedules.

In fact, 38 percent of employees have called in to work sick when feeling well in the past year, according to a CareerBuilder survey published in late 2015. And this figure is on the rise—up from 28 percent in 2014.

Remember the old “The dog ate my homework,” excuse used by school-age kids? Members of the workforce have also used some pretty far-fetched reasons for calling off from work when they’re not sick, the survey found.

Here are the top 10 most “absurd” excuses for calling in sick in the past year that were presented to employers, according to CareerBuilder:

  1. Employee claimed his grandmother poisoned him with ham.
  2. Employee was stuck under the bed.
  3. Employee broke his arm reaching to grab a falling sandwich.
  4. Employee said the universe was telling him to take a day off.
  5. Employee’s wife found out he was cheating. He had to spend the day retrieving his belongings from the dumpster.
  6. Employee poked herself in the eye while combing her hair.
  7. Employee said his wife put all his underwear in the washer.
  8. Employee said the meal he cooked for a department potluck didn’t turn out well.
  9. Employee was going to the beach because the doctor said she needed more vitamin D.
  10. Employee said her cat was stuck inside the dashboard of her car.

Then there are those who are less creative. Among the more commonplace excuses, many people who take fake sick days say they have a doctor’s appointment. Among those who called in sick when they were feeling well, 27 percent say they used the doctor’s appointment excuse.

In some cases, employers are cracking down. One way is that they’re asking to see a doctor’s note to verify the illness, and they’re taking action if the employee doesn’t have proof. Employers are also well served to be aware of this problem during certain times of year when it tends to be especially prevalent: December, January and February.

And on the flip side, more than half of employees say they have reported to work while they were sick so as not to lose productivity. Roughly half say they can’t afford to take a sick day, and have reported to work while sick because they need the paycheck.

In working with senior care providers of all sizes, I’ve heard a funny call-off excuse or two myself. While these can be frustrating and disruptive when they come in, OnShift customers can use the new OnShift mobile app features to fill these call-offs on-the-go. Schedulers can quickly document called-off employees, send open shift messages to all qualified and available staff, and/or contact staff members directly with the app’s staff directory. This helps get a replacement when and where you need them to ensure residents get the care and service they need. To learn more about the new release and features, check out a recent blog post from my colleague, Mike Pumphrey.

With the expectation for mobile technology in the workplace, your employees will thank you!

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About Jim Rubadue

Jim Rubadue is Chief Customer Officer at OnShift. As a seasoned manager with 20+ years of client and employee focused experience in strategy, operations, program management and business ownership, Jim has a track record of increasing customer satisfaction and product adoption.

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