UK business is getting tougher on sickies, says survey


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Half of UK employers reported that they check up on an employee who calls in sick. And, according to a survey of 194 UK managing directors by job search company CareerBuilder, 9% of respondents further claim to have driven by their employee’s home to check if they are faking sickness and 13% have fired an employee for not having a legitimate reason for missing work.

Employers suspecting employees of faking a sicky have used different tactics to investigate the absence, especially if the employee is a chronic offender. These include requiring a doctor's note (29%), calling the employee (19%), having another employee call the employee (7%) or checking the employee's personal social networking page (6%).

Tony Roy, president of CareerBuilder EMEA, said: "If you lie about the reason for needing time off, you can seriously hurt your credibility with your employer. The vast majority of employers - 79 % - enable workers to use sick days for mental health days to rest, recharge and return more productive, so your best bet is to be up-front and honest with your manager."

When asked to share examples of the most unusual excuses they received from workers calling in sick, employers in Europe reported the following:

· Employee's foot was stuck in the toilet

· Employee said someone threw a garden gnome through his window

· Employee claimed to be attacked by a shark

· Employee witnessed someone being pushed under a train

· Employee had a nightmare and felt out of sorts

· Employee was intoxicated by burning vines

· Employee got her finger stuck in a car door

· Employee injured his leg chasing his dog to prevent it from attacking a rabbit

· Employee had to take his mother shopping

An online survey of 757 business leaders in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden was conducted in a range of organisations between 17 November and 17 December 2010. The UK sample size was 194.

Business leaders included C-level executives, directors and senior managers with recruitment responsibilities. The survey was conducted online for CareerBuilder by Shape the Future, a market research agency based in East Sussex, which specialises in high-speed online research.


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