UK business is getting tougher on sickies, says survey
David Woods, June 07, 2011
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.