A Third of You Played Hooky in Last Year

Monday, Jan 26, 2009  |  Updated 4:53 PM EDT
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Fake Sick Calls

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Thirty-four percent of people who called in sick in the last year just "didn't feel like going in," a CareerBuilder.com survey says.

CHICAGO -- Have you ever called off work because a psychic advised you to stay home, or decided not to go to work because you thought your dog was too stressed out after a family reunion?

An annual survey on absenteeism shows 33 percent of workers have played hooky from the office, calling in sick when they were well at least once this year, CareerBuilder.com reported Wednesday.

While the majority of employers told the nation's largest online employment site that they typically don't question the reason for the absence, 31 percent reported they have checked up on an employee who called in sick and 18 percent said they have fired a worker for missing work without a legitimate excuse.

The nationwide survey, which included more than 6,800 workers and 3,300 employers, showed that nearly one in ten employees called off work because they wanted to miss a meeting, buy some time to work on a project that was due or avoid the wrath of a boss or a colleague.

Thirty percent missed work because they wanted to relax and recharge, 27 percent took time off for a doctor's appointment, 22 percent wanted to catch up on sleep, 14 percent ran personal errands, 11 percent caught up on housework, and another 11 percent wanted said they took off to spend time with family and friends.

Another 34 percent just didn't feel like going to work that day, the survey found.

Of the 31 percent of employers who checked up on an employee who called in sick, most -- 71 percent -- said they required the employee to show them a doctor's note. Fifty-six percent called the employee at home, 18 percent had another worker call the employee, and 17 percent drove by the employee's house or apartment.

Among the most unusual excuses employees gave their boss' for missing work:

  • 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.
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