For the last 10 years, job listing site CareerBuilder has put out a list it calls “The Most Unbelievable Excuses for Calling in Sick.” Last year an employee said he couldn’t come in because his false teeth flew out the window while he was driving down the highway. Another claimed that someone had glued her windows and doors shut so she couldn’t get out of her house. This year the excuses include a worker who said he felt he had to stay at a casino when he had money left after a gambling weekend. Then there was the employee who said she couldn’t come in because she had woken up in a good mood and didn’t want to ruin it. I like this one from a past survey: Employee said the ghost in his house kept him up all night.
This year’s excuses were gathered through a Harris Poll that ran from Aug. 11 to Sept. 5, 2014, among 3,000 workers and 2,000 hiring managers. See the complete list in the slide show above and at the end of this post.
The list is entertaining—one employee said she couldn’t come to work because she had just put a casserole in the oven—but there is a more serious issue underlying this story. Federal law does not require private employers to give any paid sick leave, making the US the only one of the world’s wealthiest nations that doesn’t guarantee workers this right. Since 2006, cities and states have been adopting their own paid sick leave laws. California, Connecticut, Washington, DC and 13 cities including New York now require many employers to provide some sort of paid sick leave. But according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 39% of private employees still have no access to paid days off. In the CareerBuilder survey, 38% of respondents said they go to work when they’re sick because they can’t afford to miss a day’s pay.