According to a survey from CareerBuilder, more than a third of workers (35%) said they have called into work sick when they were feeling just fine. The survey included responses from more than 3,100 full-time workers and more than 2,500 full-time hiring and human resource managers across industries and the United States. The top reasons for calling in sick when feeling fine were not feeling like going into work (28%) and needing to go to a doctor’s appointment (27%). Another 24% said they needed to just relax and 18% needed to catch up on sleep. Meanwhile, 11% took the day off to run personal errands.
The survey also revealed something interesting about employers who suspect employees are abusing the sick day policy. One-third of employers (33%) checked to see if an employee was telling the truth by requesting a doctor’s note, calling the employee, checking social media, etc.
The survey results highlight a number of problems in the modern work environment. First, it seems that employees do not feel that they have enough time to detach from work to relax, destress, and take care of personal tasks, such as errands and doctor appointments. Employee burnout is an issue plaguing workforces across the country. Employers would be wise to enact policies that do not lead to employees abusing sick days. In many cases, companies may need to do more; for example, some employers require employees to take vacation. Another issue raised by the survey was the level of distrust that exists in the employer-employee relationship at many companies. The consequences of this mistrust can manifest itself in more ways than just sick days. Transparency in the workplace can go a long way to facilitate trust.
For whatever it’s worth, the silver lining in the survey results may be that the percentage of employees calling in sick when feeling fine was down from 38% from last year. Regardless, this is an issue that employers need to be aware of and proactively address.