Top 15 excuses for calling in sick AND how we can work with it!


Ever wondered what excuses some staff use when calling in sick? Well CareerBuilder.com have put together the top 15 and I thought they were worth sharing – if there was ever a few reasons to engage your teams and get them motivated here are 15 of them!

  1. Employee’s 12-year-old daughter stole his car and he had no other way to work. Employee didn’t want to report it to the police.
  2. Employee said bats got in her hair.
  3. Employee said a refrigerator fell on him.
  4. Employee was in line at a coffee shop when a truck carrying flour backed up and dumped the flour into her convertible.
  5. Employee said a deer bit him during hunting season.
  6. Employee ate too much at a party.
  7. Employee fell out of bed and broke his nose.
  8. Employee got a cold from a puppy.
  9. Employee’s child stuck a mint up his nose and had to go to the ER to remove it.
  10. Employee hurt his back chasing a beaver.
  11. Employee got his toe caught in a vent cover.
  12. Employee had a headache after going to too many garage sales.
  13. Employee’s brother-in-law was kidnapped by a drug cartel while in Mexico.
  14. Employee drank anti-freeze by mistake and had to go to the hospital.
  15. Employee was at a bowling alley and a bucket filled with water crashed through the ceiling and hit her on the head.

… and yes they are all real excuses from real employees!! Personally I love the coffee shop one!

A few more stats about sickness which may motivate you to think about how your guys are engaged and give them more reasons why not to call in sick.. they may miss something amazing!

According to the stat employees are most likely to call in sick:

  • January through to March (34%) and unsurprisingly this is also the time that the most new CV’s are added to the job boards. New Year New Start! So get communicating to your teams and let them know how much you appreciate them.
  • April through June only 13% of employees are off sick – obviously the thought of holidays and sunshine are always appealing at this time of year.
  • July to September 30% of employees call in sick after the summer break.
  • A drop between October and December to 23% on the run up to the holidays when people will take a well-deserved and positive break for the year.

What can we gleam from this… I guess that we love our breaks and holidays from work and we need to enjoy the work we do to keep us satisfied.

Another reason we are sick more often has been said to be our ‘sharing’ habits.

  • Computer Viruses – think before you log onto a colleagues machine – or your own. Keyboards apparently carry five times more germs than a loo seat! (which.com)
  • Pen and Biro’s – one in five suck their pens – depositing bacteria all over it. Keep your close and clean!
  • Mobile phones – We’ve all done it, received a funny photo or text and passed our phone around to show it off. A recent study of 390 mobiles (in the US) found that almost all harboured bacteria – some with up to 1,000 colonies.

So not only do we have to deal with employees calling in sick, we also have to think about the health issues when they are at work to help keep illness at bay.  Not only pens and mobile phones but by making sure we talk and engage:

  • Keep your teams engaged – Communicate with them
  • Find out what makes them tick – and keep it ticking!
  • Remember the business is nothing without the people that actually DO the work
  • Keep positive and energetic! If you aren’t positive then how can you expect your teams to be?
  • Enjoy what you do!

And last but not least, if you want a “quick fix” for tension in the office and alleviate the leading cause of long-term absence from work in the UK – Stress – then its recommended by numerous scientists to get yourself a pot plant for your desk.  They suggest that as well as helping clean the air and enhancing your sense of well-being, indoor plants can significantly boost  your mood at work in many ways.  The stats are:

  • 58% reduction in Feelings of dejection
  • 44% reduction on anger and hostility
  • 38% reduction in fatigue
  • 37% reduction in tension and anxiety
  • 30% reduction in confusion

… I’m not sure if I believe a ‘pot-plant’ can actually work such magic, but anything this simple has to be worth a try in my book!…. 

How ever you decide to engage your teams to help them not want to call in sick. Make sure you think of the team, the individual and your long-term goal of getting the most out of a motivated and engaged team!

If you liked this… great… for more useful Blogs read on or check out our page @HRREV or join the HR Revolution 

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One thought on “Top 15 excuses for calling in sick AND how we can work with it!

  1. I’m surprised that the stats aren’t higher for reduction in feelings of dejection….If I had a pot plant in my office I would spend every day as happy as a cat.

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