Women are more likely than men to “pull a sickie” and are happier to give an embarrassing excuse for taking unplanned leave, according to a new survey.
Research carried out for Sovereign Health Care found employees were more likely to take an unwarranted day off this month than at any other time of year.
And women were less likely than men to believe a colleague who phoned in sick was genuinely ill.
Sovereign Health Care polled 1,360 people and found more than half (56%) of the female participants admitted to pulling a sickie when not really ill, compared with just a third of men.
Both sexes agreed that using “women’s issues” was the most common embarrassing excuse to a boss for being off.
The poll also highlighted some extreme – perhaps far-fetched – reasons for absence, including “My dog has fallen and broken all its legs” and “There’s a squirrel in my lounge”.
Other unusual excuses included losing shoes, being locked in the house, and not being able to afford the bus fare.
Russ Piper, Sovereign Health Care chief executive, said: “Workplace absence is an emotive subject, particularly when so many employees now feel they have to do more just to keep their jobs, without having to pick up the slack from others who are taking, perhaps unjustified, days off.
“Managing absence can be a complex process, but employers have a responsibility to all members of staff to ensure they are motivated and supported and that their systems are not open to abuse.”