Calling in sick, calling in well

American workers, you are an odd bunch.

Some of you call in sick when you’re fine. Some of you refuse to take time off even when you ought to be in the E.R. And when you do call in sick, of course, you come up with the most creative darned reasons.

We all sorta knew this. But a survey has wrapped this everyday American truth in data.

The survey, done by Harris Poll for CareerBuilder, found that more than one-third of employees – 38 percent – have called in sick when they felt just fine.


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Now, a side question for behavioral economists: What do you make of the rise in that number from 28 percent the year before saying they’d called in sick when they weren’t? Does that mean American workers are more secure about the job market – that is, not so worried about getting fired – does it mean they are just getting more devious?

Most employees clearly felt they could get with it and, if the data is to be believed, most of them did. But there are dangers for the fibbers that didn’t exist back when Ferris Bueller played hooky from school and was on television at a Cubs game catching a foul ball.

Of course we mean the Net.

Of course, if you were faking it when you called in sick, you wouldn’t even think of posting something on Facebook… What? Well, that explains why one-third of employers said in the poll that they have caught an employee lying about being sick by checking social media.

Maybe you folks are not only odd, you’re not too bright, either.

On the other side of the ledger, an awful lot of people told Harris that – either sick or not – they can’t afford to use a sick day.

Nearly half — 48 percent – said they can’t afford to miss a day of pay and that was up from 38 percent last year.

One final twist, that answer depends a lot of age. The younger the worker, the more likely they are to say they can’t afford to take time for being ill.

Between the ages of 18 and 24, 71 percent said it.

Only one-in three said same thing among workers who were 55 and older.



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