When your employees call in sick, there's a good chance they aren't really under the weather at all, new research finds.
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Nearly 30 percent of workers surveyed said they have called in to work sick when they were feeling just fine, according to a study from CareerBuilder.
The most popular reason for faking a sick day? Just not wanting to head in to work. Specifically, 30 percent of those who have skipped work when they were not sick said they did so simply because they didn't feel like going to work that day. The research also found that 29 percent said they wanted the day to relax, and 19 percent wanted to catch up on some sleep. For 11 percent, bad weather was a good enough reason to call in sick.
The study found that many employees are making up fake excuses even when it's not required. Although nearly half of the workers surveyed said they have paid time off that they can use any way they like, 23 percent still feel obligated to make up an excuse for taking a day off.
But many organizations aren't just taking employees' word for it: More than 30 percent of managers check to see if their employees are telling the truth. The most popular ways of doing so include asking for a doctor's note and calling the employee, the study found. [8 Amazing Job Benefits That Keep Employees Happy]
However, some businesses take things a bit further. The research showed that 15 percent of employers have driven past a "sick" employee's house to make sure he or she was really home.
Faking sick days can have significant consequences: Nearly 20 percent of employers have fired an employee for calling in sick with a fake excuse.
Some employees end up outing themselves online. One quarter of the employers surveyed have caught an employee lying about being sick by checking their social media accounts. Of those, 22 percent have actually fired the employee, but 54 percent were more forgiving and only reprimanded the employee for the lie.
Overall, employees in professional and business services and sales called in sick most often in the past year. On the flip side, employees in the IT, retail, and leisure and hospitality industries were least likely to call in sick.
The study was based on surveys of 2,203 hiring managers and human resources professionals, and 3,103 U.S. workers.
Originally published on Business News Daily.