If you 'called in sick' today, there's a darn good chance you're not really sick at all.

In news that’s shocked precisely no one, a new survey has found a lot of us Aussies aren’t actually sick when we call in sick.

You there, sitting on the couch catching up on Netflix, or enjoying a day at the beach, might be one of them.

Software company, TSheets surveyed 500 hardworking, long-weekend loving Australians, and found only 52 per cent of us are genuinely ill when we call our managers to say ‘we’re not coming in’.

So if we’re not sick, what are we really doing with our extra day off?

According to TSheets, it’s to save up annual leave, go for a job interview, enjoy the nice weather or a day at the beach or to go to an event.

Now, we definitely don’t condone calling in sick when you’re not actually ill, but if you’re going to do it, it’d pay to do it convincingly.


Calling in sick excuses
Sick days: they happen to the best of us.

When it’s done right, you’ve scored yourself a guilt-free day of crunchy snacks and elastic-waisted pants.

But if you botch it, chances are you’ll be paying for it for a few weeks thanks to a shitty boss and poor preparation.

So before you send an email soliloquy outlining the monstrous bowel action preventing you from coming into work, take a minute and read through our top five tips to negotiating the delicate procedure that is Chuckin’ A Sickie.

1. Make the call

Choosing the right moment to contact your boss is the most important part to nailing the sick day. Call too early, and you’re a premeditated monster; but call too late, and risk facing the full force of your boss’s Monday morning, pre-coffee fury.

Legitimately ill, or legitimately needing to finish House of Cards series 3, always opt for a call the night before. Make sure it’s after the work day has finished but before they sit down for dinner, and for the love of tracksuit pants DO NOT TEXT MESSAGE THEM – call! Using the sick facemask emoticon will absolutely spell the end of your master plan.

2. Know your illness

In our sophisticated world of Web MD and HotDoc, a simple cough and splutter along with a whimpering “I think it’s food poisoning” ain’t going to cut it. If you’re actually sick, make sure you communicate the symptoms that prevent you from being in an office environment – think germy tissues, contagious coughs, or a headache that makes your computer screen potentially give you a nose bleed.


If you’re not sick (oh, c’mon, we’ve all been there) prepare your story thoroughly: that is, don’t throw around a 12-letter exotic and previously extinct virus unless you’re totally across what the weeping rash it causes actually looks like. RESEARCH THE ILLNESS. BELIEVE THE ILLNESS. BE THE ILLNESS.

LISTEN: Is it ever OK to text your boss when you’re “sick”? Mamamia Out Loud has the answer (post continues after audio…)

3. Stay off social media

Ah, the Achilles Heel of Gen Y.

You: “Sorry Boss, I’m battling a pretty serious case of Sizzler Stomach and I’ve spent so much time on the loo I’m thinking of installing a television on the towel rack.”

*Ten minutes later, on Instagram*

You: “Omg! PSA ladies! Half price sale at Witchery! #shopping day #sickie #theywillneverknow”

Put. The. Phone. Down.

calling in sick excuses
Reason #1 to never, EVER add workmates on Facebook: sick days. Buuuusted!

4. Look a bit crappy the next day

In the masterful performance the Sick Day requires, it’s the encore act that’s really going to win over your audience. Think to yourself: if I was really riding the porcelain bus all day yesterday, would I really want to be rocking out a skintight leather skirt and bright red lipstick today? No. I would be dressed like Roseanne Barr and barely managing a ponytail. Keep it real, people.

5. Go the whole hog

Not exactly the most diplomatic advice we can give, but important none the less: MILK THAT SICK DAY. Don’t offer to stay across emails. Don’t answer calls from clients. Don’t even put on pants if you don’t want to. You have one day to get over your sickness/ aversion to work, so make this day all about rest and relaxation. Because really? You’re not going to have another shot at this for *at least* six months.

Crack open the Tim Tams, sister, today is all about you.

So if you’re long overdue for a day on the couch, get ready. Lay down the groundwork today! Raise up your croaky voices and give me a niggly cough LIKE YOU MEAN IT!

…Oh, and just for the record, no one believes in food poisoning any more. Go for something a little more original.