More than one-half of Canadians admit to playing hooky from work: Survey

Stress, burnout to blame
||Last Updated: 05/15/2013

More than one-half (54 per cent) of employed Canadians readily admit that they have called into work sick when they actually were not sick, according to a recent survey by Kronos. And of those who said that they have faked being under the weather to avoid working, nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) stated that they have done so because they felt stressed or burned out.

“When lost productivity and other operational expenses tied to employee absences are considered, the cost of absenteeism can impact as much as one-third of overall payroll costs,” said Spiros Paleologos, vice-president of operations, Kronos Canada. “Canadian organizations representing all sectors need to urgently adopt techniques to more effectively manage unplanned employee absences.”

The survey found that while a large percentage of Canadians admit to playing hooky from work, there are marked differences in responses across the provinces. While 60 per cent from Ontario who are currently employed admitted that they have faked calling in sick, 49 per cent of respondents from Quebec and 49 per cent from western Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan) admitted to doing the same, found the poll of 766 workers.

Respondents from Ontario were most likely to blame taking a fake sick day on feeling stressed or burned out (78 per cent). While 69 per cent of respondents in western Canada agreed to the same, only 40 per cent from Quebec stated stress or burn-out as a reason for calling in sick when actually not being sick.

Other leading reasons that working Canadians across all provinces cited for calling in sick when they actually were not include:

• need to care for a sick child (35 per cent)

• workload that is too heavy (13 per cent)

• insufficient paid vacation days (12 per cent).

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