One-third of U.S. workers call in sick when healthy: Survey

3 in 10 go to work sick to save sick days for when they’re feeling well
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/25/2013

In the past year, nearly one-third (32 per cent) of workers in the United State have called in sick when not actually ill, up slightly from last year (30 per cent), according to a CareerBuilder survey.

On the flip side, 30 per cent of employees say they’ve gone to work despite actually being sick in order to save their sick days for when they’re feeling well.

Twenty per cent of workers said in the past year they called in sick but still ended up doing work from home throughout the day, found the survey of 3,484 workers and 2,099 hiring managers and HR professionals.

Cold weather and holiday stress can take a toll on absentee rates. Three in 10 (30 per cent) employers said they notice an increased number of sick days among employees around the holidays. Nineteen per cent of employers said December is the time of year employees call in sick the most, followed by January (16 per cent) and February (15 per cent).

Thirty per cent of employers said they have checked in on employees who have called in sick to make sure the excuse was legitimate, found the survey. Of those who verified employees’ excuses over the past year, 64 per cent required a doctor’s note, 48 per cent called the employee, 19 per cent checked the employee’s social media posts, 17 per cent had another employee call the sick employee and 15 per cent drove past the employee’s house.

Apart from actual illness, the most common reason employees take sick days is because they just don’t feel like going to work (33 per cent) or because they needed to relax (28 per cent), found CareerBuilder. Others spend their sick days going to the doctor (24 per cent), catching up on sleep (19 per cent) or running personal errands (14 per cent).

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