There’s nothing quite like totally shirking your responsibilities at the last minute, and chucking a sickie is a classic example of it. Whether it’s a case of Mondayitis or a stubborn hangover from a big weekend of partying, there are plenty of moments where we would happily lie about our health to get out of work.
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However, studies have shown that employers are far less understanding of you taking a day off, even when you are legitimately sick. Studies have revealed that the percentage of managers who find common excuses like flu or headache acceptable is far smaller than you might think.
The following shows the percentage of surveyed managers who found the excuse a good enough reason to be absent from work:
- Flu: 41.6%
- Back pain: 38.5%
- Injury caused by accident: 38.2%
- Stress: 34.5%
- Elective surgery: 35.2%
- Depression: 34.5%
- Anxiety: 25.4%
- Common cold: 23.8%
- Migraine: 21.7%
- None of the above: 7.7%
Studies have shown that those who suffer from mental illness, such as anxiety and depression, were less likely to tell the truth to their employers for fear of judgement. This is undoubtedly due to entrenched stigmas against mental illness, whereby many employers refuse to accept it as a real issue worthy of their sympathy.
Having said that, here are the top 10 excuses that employees are more likely to lie to their bosses about:
- Anxiety: 41.5%
- Depression: 39. 6%
- Stress: 37.7%
- Common cold: 22%
- Migraine: 12.3%
- Elective surgery: 9.9%
- Flu: 7.2%
- Back pain: 7.2%
- Injury caused by accident: 5.5%
As the trends suggest, people are far less likely to lie about injuries that they think their employers will perceive as serious. While many people can successfully get a day off due to depression or anxiety, they will still feel like they are being judged by their employer for daring to use ‘that kind’ of excuse.
Unsurprisingly, it’s towards the beginning and end of the year that we take the most sick days, with January and December taking the most points. Mondays and Friday are the most popular days of the week to call in sick, undoubtedly due to the allure of a 3-day-weekend.
Employers are generally sceptical of sick days and it’s hard to blame them, everyone has abused the system at one time or another and called in sick when they probably could have worked. Even small headaches or brief bouts of nausea are enough for us to second guess our ability to work, and it’s all too easy to listen to that little voice in your head that wants to stay home.
Despite the scepticism of employers, it’s actually better for employees to take sick days when they need them rather than tough it out for fear of reprimand. This is because it’s better for an employee to go home and recover rather than pushing them through a work day where they will likely underperform. It also helps prevent the sick employee from spreading their condition to the rest of the office.
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