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By Kristen Bahler
October 20, 2016

While fewer employees are playing hooky this year than they did in 2015, more than a third of workers still say they’ve called in sick when they were in perfectly good health.

That’s the finding of a CareerBuilder survey, which asked more than 3,100 employees if, and in what circumstances, they had faked an illness to get out of work. About 35% of the full-time workers polled said they’ve called in sick when they were feeling just fine — down from 38% last year.

The reasons varied. The largest chunk of respondents (28%) said they “just didn’t feel like going in to work.” Another large segment (27%) said they took the day off to attend a doctor’s appointment. Almost a quarter (24%) said they needed to just relax, another 18% said they needed to catch up on sleep, and 11% said they took the day off to run personal errands.

CareerBuilder also polled 2,500 employers, asking them to share the “most dubious excuses” employees had given for missing work. Here’s a condensed list of the craziest examples provided:

  • Employee said the ozone in the air flattened his tires.
  • Employee’s pressure cooker had exploded and scared her sister, so she had to stay home.
  • Employee ate cat food instead of tuna and was deathly ill.
  • Employee was bowling the game of his life and simply couldn’t take a break to go to work.
  • Employee was experiencing traumatic stress from a large spider found in her home.
  • Employee was sick from eating too much birthday cake.
  • Employee had “better things to do” — although, frankly, this may be one of the most honest answers given.

One-third of the employers said they have checked to see whether an employee who called in sick was in fact telling the truth. Of those, 68% said they asked to see a doctor’s note, but another large group said they had called the employee. Shockingly, 18% said they had gone as far as driving past an employee’s house.

The takeaway? If you want to take a Ferris Bueller-style day off work, make sure you’re coughing up a storm when your boss drops by, and not partying on the front porch.

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