Pulling a sickie: 10 top excuses for missing work

One entrepreneur reveals his list of the most bizarre employee excuses for not making it into work.

Some 350,000 British employees were estimated to have called in sick to work on 1 February, the day dubbed by experts as National Sickie Day. The mass absence was expected to have cost businesses around £30m in lost revenue and productivity.

The day coincided with research by the Employment Law Advisory Service (ELAS) which found 25% of employers accept emails or text messages from staff to say they are ill, instead of the traditional phone call, making it easier for employees to fake it.

ELAS's Peter Mooney said: "The traditional phone call was always a way for bosses to decipher whether staff members were bluffing or genuinely ill.

"But now, as our research shows, many employers are dispensing with it, which leads me to think that the system will be open to more abuse than ever."

Bizarre excuses
"You would have thought that the recession would have helped people realise how lucky they are to have a job compared to the two million on the dole; yet some will still come up with some pretty mad reasons to avoid a day of hard work", commented Charlie Mullins, managing director of Pimlico Plumbers, who revealed some of the bizarre explanations offered by his workers over the years as reasons for a day off work.

Among the excuses offered were:

  1. "I got run over by a car three years ago and it weakened my bones. That’s why when my dog banged into me, my tooth fell out."
  2. "I've swallowed a hot sausage last night and it's burnt my throat so badly I can’t breathe properly."
  3. "My Granddad died in Spain, I went out there to visit my Grandma for the funeral, but she died whilst I was there, so I went and got drunk."
  4. "Me and my cousin were in the pub and we had an argument because he’s a druggie. I was so mad I stormed out the bar and didn’t look the right way when I was stepping out and I got run over by a car doing 70mph."
  5. “"I've got a suspected broken back, the doctor said it's because I've done excessive painting."
  6. "My Dad couldn't get me into work because his moped broke down at the weekend."
  7. "I bought a dog, it's a staffie-bull terrier cross, it's only four months old and it was in the front garden and it jumped the fence. It ran into the road and a police car knocked it over and killed it. I need the day off because I'm suing the police."

"I just couldn't make this stuff up, although I suspect some of these former employees might have done!", said Dominic Ceraldi, HR director at Pimlico Plumbers.

What’s the strangest excuse you’ve ever heard for not turning up to work? Share your tall tales below.

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AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.