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More U.S. workers playing hooky

With excuses like "I'm too fat to get into my work pants," less information is probably more when calling in sick.

Alorie Gilbert Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Alorie Gilbert
writes about software, spy chips and the high-tech workplace.
Alorie Gilbert
2 min read
Calling in sick--it's the corporate equivalent of "the dog ate my homework."

And apparently it's more rampant than ever. Forty-three percent of U.S. workers said they've faked illness in order to dodge a day of work at least once in the past year, according to a survey by online job board CareerBuilder.com. That's up from 35 percent in last year's survey, the company said Tuesday.

It may be because the line between sick days and vacation days is blurring in many workers' minds, the August survey indicated. More than a third of the poll's 2,450 respondents view them as equivalent.

A chance to relax and catch up on sleep was the most popular reason respondents gave for playing hooky. Others said they just didn't feel like going to the office or wanted to catch up on housework and errands.

Wednesday was the most frequent day for shirking work, with 27 percent breaking up the week with a sick day. Stretching out the weekend by skipping a Monday or Friday, also common, is likely to raise bosses' suspicions, the report said.

So are elaborate excuses for missing work. Hiring managers that participated in the survey reported a number of laughable stories that could only be inspired by a certain Shel Silverstein poem. Among them, "I accidentally flushed my keys down the toilet," "I forgot I was getting married today," and "I'm too fat to get into my work pants."

But many bosses are not amused. Twenty-three percent reported firing an employee for missing work without a legitimate reason.