With the Advent of Mandatory Paid Sick Leave in California, Here are a Few Sick Leave Excuses

The AZ Republic rounds up some actual sick leave excuses people have tried:

"I accidentally got on a plane" was on the list of most dubious excuses for calling in sick to work, according to a recent survey by careerbuilders.com.

"I just put a casserole in the oven," "I need to tweak my botched plastic surgery," and "I broke my ankle after my leg fell asleep while I was sitting on the toilet," were among other hilarious, yet real, excuses that employers reported.

The survey found that 28 percent of employees called in sick when they were feeling well, down from 32 percent last year, and that one in four employers have caught an employee faking sick through social media.

There are more at the link.

We get very, very little of this, so we are lucky to have great employees.  Since many of my employees are in the 70s, 80s, and even 90s (really), employee absences are generally real, quite serious health concerns.  Besides, since most of my employees live on the work site, it is a little harder to fake this kind of thing.

It will be interesting what having the incentive of getting paid, in addition to just skipping out of work, will do to this.


  1. me:

    I do wonder which kind of employers elicit such excuses - my theory is that demotivating managers/failure to reward performance contributes greatly to this type of attitude in employees (who are either dumb as bricks or don't care very much about their jobs - or both).

  2. craftman:

    I work in manufacturing, I'm an exempt employee so I get a bit more leeway but the workers on the floor only get 3 sick days per year and they must actually be sick, it's not just generic paid time off (PTO). Likely due to the fact that keeping machines up and running requires more coordination and overtime pay when someone is out, so they discourage it wherever possible.

    Most people openly admit that towards the end of the year (sick time is "use it or lose it") they fake sick to use the rest of their time.

    This is less of a commentary on the laws requiring paid sick time and more on the dynamic of sick time vs. vacation time vs. paid-time off. I don't think any company should be mandated to pay for time off but if they choose to do so, offering generic PTO leads to less dishonest behavior and more predictable schedules. If I have to fake sick I'll be calling in that morning and leave you in a bind. If I can just request my banked time off whenever, you (the manager) can plan ahead.

  3. STW:

    I worked for an employer that looked at their stats and realized that some employees used their full 10 days of sick time each and every year while others rarely, if ever, used any. Across the company the average time out was six days. They decided that since some employees were using it as extra vacation time the equitable thing would be to give everyone six additional days off each year and cancel all sick time. I believe you could roll 5 days over so you'd always have something in the bank if you actually got sick.

  4. Chris Smith:

    I totally believe that broken ankle after sitting on the toilet seat too long one. I got in the habit of playing Angry Birds while on the throne, and both my legs would be asleep when I finally tried to stand.

  5. Matthew Slyfield:

    Both my current and former employers openly allow the use of paid sick time for "mental health days".

  6. marque2:

    I personally prefer "comp time" to vacation + sick leave. When I want to call in sick, I always feel guilty, am I really sick enough, do I sound sick on the phone (I tend to always talk happy go lucky on the phone even when I am feeling poor). With comp time, I don't have to worry about it since it is my time, I am using

  7. Mike Powers:

    Seriously. If you say "sick time is X-number-of-hours and you have to use it", then why is it a surprise that people fake sick?

    The flip side is that if someone requests time off, then they have to get it unless there's an actual serious "we will go out of business if you aren't here" situation. There can't be any games about "well maaaaaaybe there'd be a problem, and if you weren't here it would be bad, soooooo..."

  8. marque2:

    That one would be hard to fake, since the next day you would have a cast or a special foot brace that you would have to wear for several weeks.

  9. EricP:

    My employer recently added unlimited paid sick days. I'm a manager and I was discussing with a fellow manager about what the results will be. We both thought that in the end, it will probably decrease the number of sick days people take on average since now no one will have the use them or lose them attitude. And genuinely sick people won't come in to spread their germs either because they are afraid or running out or are already out of paid sick days for the year (previously it was 4).

    Not sure if this would translate to all businesses since where I work, most people enjoy what they do. It's still a job but very few people feel it's a bad job.

  10. Milton:

    Not sure if this is common, but it makes sense that it would be: my company took away 5 vacation days and gave us 5 sick days in response to the new NY law, but said we'll get paid out if we don't use sick days. In other words, we can take the same amount of vacation days we had until now, but we'd be "charged" for going over by 5 days, and then we'd be paid out for not using our sick days.

  11. js4strings:

    The best one I heard was that "I lost my sunglasses and the sun was too bright this morning, so I couldn't make it in".

  12. JerryM1957:

    I once had a secretary who came to work when she obviously was suffering from a terrible head cold and sore throat. When I

  13. Igor:

    Ah, but would she take one if she was dead?