Charlie Mullins 2

Bizarre employee excuses for pulling a ‘sickie’

Charlie Mullins, MD of Pimlico Plumbers offers his experience of sickness excuses.

If you’re the boss of a growing company then one issue you and your HR Manager will undoubtedly have to face is employee absence from work and how to deal with it.

It’s something that all businesses need to be aware of and something that can prove costly if boundaries aren’t clearly laid out from the start.

Indeed, a recent report issued by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has revealed that absence from work due to sickness may be costing the UK private sector as much as £3.1bn a year.

Within the public sector this figure is even higher, reaching a whopping £3.4bn a year. No real surprise there though, especially with some organisations even allowing staff to claim back their holiday days if they happen to fall ill while they’re off.

Now, back in the real world at my firm Pimlico Plumbers, on the whole we have a very dedicated workforce. But like any business there are always a few bad

apples who might be trying to pull a fast one to get a day off work. And some of the reasons we have heard from those trying to avoid a day of hard work are, well, let’s just say you couldn’t make them up.

Here are just a few of the reasons that have been recorded over the years by my HR Director Dominic Ceraldi, for people not coming into work:

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 bad 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.

While these reasons may seem quite comical listed here, they do tie to a far more serious business management issue.

Whatever size you’re company has reached, but especially when it is growing, you’ll need all hands on deck and to be able to rely on your people to turn in when expected.

Start by making sure you get the right team in place and then think about what kind of sickness absence policy you are going to introduce. It should form a core part of your HR foundations. If in doubt, always seek expert advice.

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