Image: ABC. By Kellie Scott.
Bogus stories of throwing up and other toilet horrors are the most likely to convince the boss you need a sickie, with colds and mental health issues the least persuasive, new research shows.
The study from UK healthcare provider Benenden involving 2,500 employers and employees found vomiting was the most acceptable reason to take a day off (73 per cent), closely followed by diarrhoea (71 per cent).
Fewer than two-thirds of people thought the flu was a valid reason, but forget run-of-the-mill sniffles — only about one in 10 bosses would accept a head cold as a good reason to stay away from the office.
A “sick bug” had a 53.2 per cent success rate, while stress was only accepted by 19 per cent.
Only 17 per cent believed mental health issues were a valid reason for sick leave, and a headache scored the lowest.
But even some people (6 per cent) believed feeling “under the weather” was a good enough excuse when suffering no specific symptoms, the researchers said.
The results of the Benenden research also revealed women were more likely than men to call in sick — with 54 per cent of women calling in sick compared to 43 per cent of men.
Absenteeism was also more frequent among younger people (aged 18 to 35).
University of Sydney work and organisational expert Associate Professor Angela Knox said aside from legitimate sick days, Australians often “chucked a sickie” because their work conditions were unsatisfactory.
“When people are unsatisfied at work they can’t be bothered going because they know they are going to have a terrible day,” she told the ABC.
“Often illegitimate forms of sick leave go hand in hand with workplaces where there is a poor level of organisation, people aren’t clear on the kinds of jobs they need to be doing, or they’re very stressed.