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Excuses 507x213

Does your excuse add up?

Lulu Jones - Intern

Lulu Jones is currently interning at RTA from the Job Centre. Here she provides her opinion and some advice.

I’m sure you can remember having to think up excuses to tell your school teacher about why you hadn’t done your homework, or why you were late for a lesson, but how does that translate into the work place now that you’re older?

“A can of baked beans landed on my big toe”

In the current economic climate it’s fair to say that employers are becoming less tolerant of employees taking sick days, especially in SME’s where their absence is felt more with other staff having to cover. Research in 2013 has shown that rising sick bills are costing UK businesses around £29 billion a year!

Sick Brits?

PwC carried out a survey which revealed that employees in the UK take four times as many sick days than people in other countries, so this is obviously going to make employers more cautious when their employees call in sick. Some will search through social media sites to see if the employee is well enough to post anything, and some will relentlessly question the person on the excuses they’ve given.

Always ring your employer when you’re ill, don’t rely on emails

There are some people who view sick days as essentially being an excuse to take a holiday day, which doesn’t help managers’ scepticism when it comes to employees taking sick days, but there are other reasons directly related to the job which results in people taking sick days. Mental health is integral in any job, as if your mind’s not in it you won’t be able to do your job properly. Employees should never take advantage of their employers, but this works vice versa. If an employee is treated badly and over worked, it’s much more likely that people will take time off because of stress or fatigue. With this in mind, businesses need to make sure that there is a robust sickness and absence procedure in place, one that takes into account the employees physical and mental well being.

A happy workforce is a productive workforce

Making sure people are happy in the workplace is another way of trying to reduce staff absences, Gill Landon, HR & Development Director at Benenden Health said that “employers should also show caution – we can see from the findings that being stressed or overworked can result in increased numbers of sick days being taken. Employers need to play their part by ensuring that the well being of staff is dealt with through an effective health and well being policy in the workplace.”

Benenden Health conducted a survey of 1000 employees and 1000 employers and discovered some very strange excuses; here are some of the worst:

  • I was swimming too fast and smacked my head on the poolside

    sick note

    Be careful what excuse you use when you’re having to take a day off work

  • I’ve been bitten by an insect
  • My car handbrake broke and it rolled down the hill into a lamppost
  • My dog has had a big fright and I don’t want to leave him
  • My hamster died
  • I’ve injured myself during sex
  • I slipped on a coin
  • I’ve had a sleepless night
  • My mum has died (this was the second time the person used this excuse)
  • I am hallucinating
  • I am stuck in my house because the door’s broken
  • My new girlfriend bit me in a delicate place
  • I burned my hand on the toaster
  • The dog ate my shoes
  • My fish is sick
  • I swallowed white spirit
  • My toe is trapped in the bath tap
  • I’m in A&E as I got a clothes peg stuck on my tongue
  • I drank too much and fell asleep on someone’s floor – I don’t know where I am
  • My trousers split on the way to work
  • I’m using a new contact lens solution and my eyes are watering
  • I have a blocked nose
  • I’ve had a hair dye disaster
  • I’ve got a sore finger

And my personal favourite from an American website:

  • A hitman was looking for me

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