Is it a legitimate sick day or skip day?

Maybe your sick days have been piling up. Perhaps you're just looking for a mental health day. Either way, calling in sick when you're not exactly under the weather is something that definitely happens across the board. According to CareerBuilder's annual survey on the craziest excuses employees have while calling in sick, 35 percent of workers said they called in sick in 2016 when they felt fine.

Even though more than one-third of workers have copped to it, the percentage is down from 2015, when 38 percent admitted they called in sick under false pretenses. Some noteworthy excuses, according to employers:

  • The employee mistook cat food for tuna and fell ill.
  • The employee was on the wrong side of a duck attack.
  • The employee was convinced the ozone in the air flattened his tires.

In the majority of cases, employers give their employees the benefit of the doubt. According to CareerBuilder, 67 percent of employers take the calls at face value. Of those who have checked to see if a worker was telling the truth, 68 percent said they have asked to see a doctor's note, 43 percent said they have called the employee, and 18 percent have driven past the employee's home.


Sometimes the employers have a right to be skeptical, especially when social media comes into play. The survey found that 34 percent of employers have found out an employee was lying about being sick by checking the individual's social media accounts. Of that number, 55 percent reprimanded the employee; 27 percent fired the employee for the lie.

On the other side of the spectrum, plenty of people don't take time off when they aren't feeling well. CareerBuilder found that 47 percent of employees come into work when they're sick because they can't afford to miss a day's salary; 60 percent come in because they're concerned their work won't get done in their absence. And the call of work doesn't always subside when a sick employee is resting up at home—16 percent of employees said they work at least a little while home sick.