Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018.
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 14 cities across the U.S. this fall.
Gain the skills you need to rise to the next level in your career. Jon us at SHRM's Leadership Development Forum, October 2-3 in Boston.
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
An employee too sunburned to wear clothes? A worker who can’t make it to work after waking up in another country?
Those are among the oddball excuses for missing work, according to an online survey for CareerBuilder. It was conducted Aug. 20-Sept. 9, 2009, in the United States with 3,163 full-time hiring managers and HR professionals with significant involvement in hiring decisions. Among the standouts:
“Some of the best real excuses I have received from employees for not reporting to work,” Pam Venne told SHRM Online in an e-mail, included the woman who could not find anything to wear.
“[She] said she had changed five times and was just worn out so she was going back to bed,” recalled Venne, a licensed professional counselor, certified manager/leader coach for the Behavioral Coaching Institute and a certified assessment-based coach.
Then there was the employee who said, “My brother won the lottery and we are going out to celebrate. I will be back in a week,” Venne recalled.
Gators seem to be a recurring theme. One employee called in to explain that “there is an alligator sunning himself in the sprinkler on the lawn and he is between me and the car. I am not coming out until he leaves!”
Among favorite kooky excuses Venne has heard was the employee who called in to report, “I got drunk and evidently got married last night and I am not coming in until I figure out who I married.”
Flakiness is a factor in wacky excuses for staying home from work.
At a previous employer, “an employee called in with only about one hour left before the end of her Friday shift and said, ‘It just felt like a Saturday and I only realized that it was, in fact, Friday when I just now called my husband on his cell phone to ask where in the world he was,” Matthew Arrigale, vice president of HR for the Americas at SCHOTT North America Inc., told SHRM Online in an e-mail.
Turns out hubby was working an earlier shift and had left before his wife woke up.
YourJob MyOffice CEO Sonia Schenker remembers the co-worker from a former job who explained her inability to report to work one day “because it was the one day per year that the bridal store had its $99 sale.”
“I still laugh at the fact that it didn’t even occur to her to make up a story!” Schenker told SHRM Online in an e-mail.
It just shows that sometimes taking a sick day has nothing to do with being under the weather, and most employers take that into consideration, according to the findings. In fact, 28 percent of employers think more workers fake an excuse because of increased stress and burnout related to the recession.
“Longer hours and heavier workloads are common in the current economic climate, and employers are becoming more flexible with their time-off policies,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of HR at CareerBuilder, in a news release. About 63 percent of companies let their employees use sick days for mental health days.
Among the 4,721 full-time U.S. workers surveyed for CareerBuilder, 32 percent have played hooky from work at least once during 2009. Among their reasons:
While the majority of employers surveyed typically don’t question the reason for an absence, 29 percent checked on employees who called in sick. Among that 29 percent, 70 percent of employers required a doctor’s note from workers who took sick time. In addition, 52 percent called the worker’s home, 18 percent had another worker call the absent employee, and 17 percent drove by the employee’s residence. Fifteen percent fired an employee for missing work without a legitimate excuse.
“If you need time to recharge,” Haefner advises workers, “your best bet is to be honest with your manager.”
Excuses, Excuses, HR News, March 3, 2008
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
SHRM Seminars are coming to cities across the US this fall.
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies