Whether it’s to take a quick vacation, lay in bed all day, or run errands around town, it appears more workers are calling in to take a sick day this year than last. A new survey of more than 2,300 HR managers and 3,300 employees, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Career Builder, has found that 38 percent of employees have called in sick when they actually feel well, up from last year’s 28 percent.
So what was the excuse as to why these employees couldn’t ‘make it into work’? Most of them run the gamut of normalcy, with 27 percent citing a doctor’s appointment as their reason, 21 percent saying they needed to catch up on sleep, and 12 percent blaming bad weather.
A few excuses, however, stand out among the rest.
When asked what the strangest excuse they had heard from employees calling in sick, managers listed the following unlikely tales:
- Employee claimed his grandmother poisoned him with ham
- Employee was stuck under the bed
- Employee said the universe was telling him to take the day off
- Employee poked herself in the eye while combing her hair
- Employee was going to the beach because her doctor said she needed more Vitamin D
These employees’ stories certainly raise a few eyebrows, including those of their managers. Of the managers polled in the study, 33 percent admitted to checking in to see if an employee was telling the truth after calling in sick. So how did they investigate these tall tales? By going online.
Social media leaves trails of bread crumbs that are quite easy to track, and it appears employers are making use of it to ensure their employees are being honest.
According to the survey, 33 percent of managers have caught their employees lying about being sick by checking their social media accounts. Of that share of managers, 26 percent fired the employee for their dishonesty.
Whether it’s finding a photo on Facebook of an employee lounging on the beach while he claimed to be at the doctor’s office getting medicine for a bad cold, or tracking down an employee’s Tweets about the rock music festival she attended the day she maintains to have had a pounding migraine, social media is making it easier than ever to ensure employees are making honest use of their sick days.
The study found that 22 percent of employers have fired an employee this year for calling in sick with a fake excuse, up from last year’s 18 percent.
While it is important to respect your employees’ privacy, it’s also imperative that employers can determine whether their employees are being honest with them. Managers shouldn’t be investigating their employees’ every move, but would ultimately be doing themselves and their business a disservice by letting some of these more bizarre excuses for skipping out on work slip out from under their radar.
To read more about the survey, click here. For any further questions about what steps your business can take to protect itself from possible employee dishonesty regarding sick days, please give our Advice and Resolution Team a call at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.