you reIfmember the opening scene of Ferris Bueller, when he wanted to take a day off, all he had to do was convince his parents he was sick.
But apparently it is a lot harder to convince employers. A survey done by Careerbuilders looks at some of the most ridiculous excuses people use to explain why they couldn’t come to work. Here’s a list of some of the weirdest excuses:
- Employee claimed his grandmother poisoned him with ham.
- Employee was stuck under the bed.
- Employee broke his arm reaching to grab a falling sandwich.
- Employee said the universe was telling him to take a day off.
- Employee’s wife found out he was cheating. He had to spend the day retrieving his belongings from the dumpster.
- Employee poked herself in the eye while combing her hair.
- Employee said his wife put all his underwear in the washer.
- Employee said the meal he cooked for a department potluck didn’t turn out well.
- Employee was going to the beach because the doctor said she needed more vitamin D.
- Employee said her cat was stuck inside the dashboard of her car.
I especially liked the employee who needed to be at the beach because of a vitamin D deficiency. Sounds like the cure should be a job deficiency. One that I actually saw was an employee who called to say she had the flu, but was nearly drowned out by the casino slot machines in the background. You can read more about the survey here.
There is a very serious side to this however. Workers who fake illnesses cost companies in lost productivity. In fact, a study by the Integrated Benefits Institute found that absenteeism, both for real causes and for the types of made up excuses seen above, costs U.S. businesses more than $227 billion a year.
In a way, employees who fake injury or illness are stealing from the company. Businesses are getting more sophisticated about tracking phony excuses, including checking to see what “sick” employees put on Facebook while they are supposed to be home in bed.
There is another way to look at it. High rates of absenteeism may be signs of stress, lack of worker engagement or other problems. If rates are unusually high, employers may need to look at root causes, just as they would for injuries or other risk factors. A strong occupational medicine program may be just what “the doctor ordered.”
If you need to take a deep dive into your health and wellness program, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can put you in touch with people who can help.