Today is National Sickie Day - what are the worst excuses for skipping work?
- Credit: SB
If you're feeling a bit under the weather, you may not be completely alone.
Whether you are struggling into work despite feeling unwell or have no option but to make that dreaded call to your boss, Monday, February 6 is said to be the worst day for workplace absence.
After noticing a rising trend in people asking for the first Monday in February off, employment law firm ELAS dubbed it 'National Sickie Day' seven years ago.
The firm estimates 650,000 people nationwide will have phoned in sick – causing problems for many employers, who often rely on small teams to manage a heavy workload.
David Howell, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Norfolk branch, said: 'Sickness can impact heavily on a small business.
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'Just one or two people off sick could mean that it's half or all of the workforce off. Just think how some of the big companies would be able to function with that level of absence.'
Yet Heather Garrod, a self-employed workplace coach and trainer who ran HS Recruitment (King's Lynn) for several years, believes most absentees are not trying to pull a fast one.
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'The only time you'd ever witness anything like that is if there's something really special they wanted to do and they couldn't get the time off,' she said.
'Of course, they're then potentially facing a disciplinary procedure.
'Generally speaking, it's down to the lifestyle that we live.
'With the way we live now, we probably push ourselves that bit more and our expectations are much higher.
'Sometimes people over-stress themselves.
Mrs Garrod, president of West Norfolk Chamber Council, believes good bosses should always show concern for workers.
'If you see a pattern, you normally have a nice chat with the person concerned about their well-being,' she said.
'If someone feels you're genuinely worried about their well-being, you'll generally get the right response.'
She also encouraged companies to promote healthy eating and a balanced lifestyle to reduce absence.
Many firms previously employed higher levels of cover in case of absence but Mrs Garrod said: 'People can't afford that luxury now of having a few extra people.'
Worst excuses for calling in sick
While most absentees call in sick for genuine reasons, there are a handful who try to bend the rules.
James Goodheram, at Personnel People recruitment agency in Norwich, said the worst excuses he had heard ranged from: 'No buses were running in the high winds,' 'it was raining far too heavy to leave the house' and an employee who said she couldn't come to work because the roots of her hair were showing.
Another claimed: 'I'm so tired I fell asleep on my bike.'
Top excuses heard by the ELAS employment law firm include: 'I got arrested,' 'the dog ate my shoes' and: 'It's my dog's birthday and I need to arrange a party for him.'
There was also: 'I got arrested' and: 'I have no way to get to work.'
King's Lynn workplace coach and trainer Heather Garrod said Monday and Friday were usually the most common days for people to call in sick.