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Archive for Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sick-day pretenses show healthy dose of creativity

July 27, 2005

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Reasons not to go to work: My cat unplugged my alarm clock. My garage door is broken. I couldn't find my shoes.

It may seem like a stretch, but managers say these and other outlandish excuses are among the reasons their employees have given when calling to get out of work.

Whether it's the dog days of summer or a sense of entitlement, some workers are coming up with a flurry of excuses to take a day off. The line between work and home time has blurred. Many employees are putting in extra work hours at home, and some are recouping that time with bogus sick days. Experts say many workers view sick days as extra vacation days, or they may need personal time but fear their boss won't react well to the truth.

"Sometimes people feel their employers might not be understanding if an emergency comes up or if they need a day," said Renee Whalen, vice president for the Washington-Maryland region for Accountemps, a California-based financial staffing company.

Thirty-five percent of workers say they called in sick when they weren't at least once over a 12-month period, according to an August survey of 1,600 workers by CareerBuilder.com, an online job search engine associated with several newspaper Web sites.

One in 10 workers said they called in sick when they weren't three or more times, the survey said. The need to run errands and make appointments, relaxing and catching up on sleep were the top reasons they did so.

Excuses, excuses!

An August CareerBuilder.com survey asked managers for some of the most unusual excuses employees gave for missing work. Here's what they said:

"I was sprayed by a skunk."

"I tripped over my dog and was knocked unconscious."

"My bus broke down and was held up by robbers."

"I was arrested as a result of mistaken identity."

"I couldn't find my shoes."

"I totaled my wife's Jeep in a collision with a cow."

"My cat unplugged my alarm clock."

"I had to be there for my husband's grand jury trial."

"I had to ship my grandmother's bones to India." (Note: She had passed away 20 years earlier.)

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