Employer Branding

I Won’t be Coming in Today Because…. and other excuses

Now, most of us (cough, cough) have feigned sickness to get a day off work at least once in their life and anyone who says they haven’t is probably lying or a workaholic.

In fact, 80 percent of UK working Brits have pulled a sickie over the last year, according to new research commissioned by Perkbox.  It found over half weren’t asked for proof of sickness (57 percent) and of those who were, consequences were as diverse as getting fired (one in 10), a formal warning (one in five) or no implications at all (one in three).

But why do we do it when we could easily just book a leave day? Well, nearly half of those polled believe the reason why employees pull sickies is because they are unhappy, depressed and overworked in their current jobs or in their private lives. Yet 12 percent say pulling sickies has resulted in a complete loss of their employer’s trust, making the situation worse. Perhaps that’s why 14 percent of those who got caught last year, decided to confess the truth.

44 per cent of those surveyed believe the ‘sickie’ culture may be heightened by employees who have a zero work ethic and are abusing the system. After all, nearly one in 10 of those who were asked for proof of sickness last year faked it and nearly a quarter believe having an awful relationship with their managers and/or colleagues may be a key reason why this behaviour arises in the first place.

Hannah Sims, Product Manager at Perkbox Medical says:

UK employees aren’t hard-wired to be deceptive or to skive off work. “Sickies” result from a lack of engagement in the work employees do or in the business they work for and are often telling of more serious issues.

Having and enforcing a clear sick leave policy not only makes legal sense and allows you and your business to track absenteeism, but it also means you can keep a pulse of your company’s health and signal to employees that you take their wellbeing seriously and are always looking for ways to proactively help them.

So what are the top ten “Sickie” excuses? Here are some of the best and worst:

  1. I fell over in the shower and knocked myself out – How this person was then able to pick themselves up to phone in sick baffles me.
  2. My partner threw the TV remote at me last night and I chipped my tooth –  Ermmm no words for this one.
  3. I fell down the stairs and broke my coccyx (added implication – can’t sit) – Unless this person was never intending to go back to work this doesn’t sound that convincing!
  4. I thought it was Saturday today –  OK, hands up those of you who have ACTUALLY done this??
  5. I accidentally ate cat food instead of tuna and fell terribly ill – This person needs the help of Marie Kondo to sort out their kitchen cupboards.
  6. My doctor’s appointment was delayed by 2, then 4, then 8 hours. Then finally when it was my turn I was in the toilet so I kept waiting… – This person needs some lessons on ‘how not to call in sick’.
  7. I got lucky last night and didn’t know where I was in the morning – Now if this person’s boss didn’t applaud them then they clearly need to get a life.
  8. I needed a day to catch-up on Brexit deals and learn how to apply for permanent residency. It’s for the company’s sake too you know! – Now, this is just pure genius!
  9. I dreamt I was at work. As I thought I was there I just stayed asleep – Please tell me the boss didn’t actually believe this one??
  10. I had a bad dream and needed the day to recover – related to excuse no.9 I wonder?

So have you used any of these excuses or have you got any of your own? Why don’t you share them with us.

By Ushma Mistry

Editor & Content Strategist at Link Humans, download our new eBook now: Measuring Employer Brand: The Ultimate Guide and check out our latest product The Employer Brand Index.