Despite feeling guilty, UK workers reveal their worst excuses for pulling a sickie

Over half (52.5%) of UK employees feel guilty about taking sick days, with the majority (50.6%) stating that this is because they are leaving their team in the lurch. This is according to the latest data from CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job board, which found that women feel most guilty about sick leave (60.5%).

The survey received 1,300 responses from workers across the UK, finding that a further 24.1% of professionals felt that taking sick days reflected badly on them; while 13.2% believe it is frowned upon in the workplace. Despite these concerns, 86.1% did say that their manager understands when they need to take a sick day. Other key findings include:

 Over three quarters  (79.7%) of workers have ‘pulled a sickie’  in the last year

 …With 17.5% of them making up an excuse for not going in to work

 AND over two thirds (69.1%) have heard a colleague giving a false excuse  for not going into work

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of  CV-Library  comments:

“In today’s working world it’s clear that professionals are still taking unnecessary sick days, giving a whole host of excuses for not turning up to work. But while it might seem like a good idea at the time, many workers are feeling the guilt, recognising that their decisions have a wider impact on their team and workload.”

The top reason for workers calling in ‘sick’ was because they were too tired (43.4%), with this figure rising to 48.4% amongst 18-24 year olds and 65.2% amongst 55-64 year olds. In addition, 15.1% said they simply couldn’t be bothered, while 13% stated that they had other plans. Finally, just under one in 10 (9.2%) said it was because they had a hangover, rising to 10.4% amongst men.

Biggins continues:

“While it’s all too easy to come up with an excuse for not turning up to work, it’s important to think about the bigger picture and wider implications of your absence, especially when it’s not 100% necessary! Whether you’re in part-time work, or are well into your career, you’re going to be more trusted by your employer if you’re honest and open with them – you never know, they may grant you a bit of time out if you really do need it.”

Absence management expert Adrian Lewis, whose company Activ Absence produced YouTube Hit ‘Silliest Excuses for Sickness Absence’ explains:

“Planned absence is easy for businesses to manage, but sick days are expensive for employers, something the Bradford Factor illustrates effectively.  What may seem like ‘just a sickie’ contributes to a business cost of £29 billion a year – that’s a bill UK plc can’t afford.  Employers need to stress the impact of sick days to staff, but also offer a little flexibility in order to maintain productivity.”

CV Library research also revealed some of the worst excuses that people have given for not turning up to work:

1. “I have blisters from wearing new shoes on Saturday night”

2. “I’ve got a terrible migraine (also known as a hideous hangover)”

3. “My hamster is sick and needs to go to the vet”

4. “I left my work uniform on the bus”

5. “I lost a darts tournament last night and I am too traumatised to come in”

6. “A tree has fallen down onto my property and it needs to be cleared/made safe”

7. “My boyfriend changed his relationship status on Facebook to single”

8.  “There are cows in my garden so I can’t get to work”

9. “ I didn’t get to bed until late so I’m too tired to come in”

10. “I’m having a BBQ at the weekend and need time to prepare”

Author: Editor

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