HR pros share employees’ tall tales for absences

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It appears plain old “I’m sick” excuses to explain away work absences have gone out the window in favor of a more creative and detailed approach.

HR’s professional body, CIPD, recently asked its members to share some the more memorable reasons given to them from absent employees and it appears some workers put a lot of thought into their excuses.  Here are some of the best:

“A van driver rang in, saying he had forgotten to mention he was having a vasectomy that day. The day after I went to his house to pick up the van keys and he came in walking like John Wayne as he was in a lot of pain. The following year I bumped into him in the street, pushing a pram. When I asked him whose baby it was, he said; “Fooled you that time, didn’t I!”

“A long-term temp was always working for us and did an excellent job. Efficient? Yes. Good at planning ahead? Oh, yes. I’d gone into the office one Sunday to catch up on some year-end payroll work, and I noticed that the answerphone had a message on it. I played it – and I played it again. My lovely, reliable temp had left a message, in a slightly croaky voice, to apologize for not being well enough to come into work today and assuring me she would be at work tomorrow (Tuesday). The message had been left on Friday at 5.52pm”

“I got a message from a manager about their member of staff who couldn’t get to work as she was too ill. Not only that, but “water was everywhere”. Her manager put “Feels ill and domestic emergency: flood” on the absence form. Had this employee not returned with sticks of rock [English candy] as gifts for team mates from her day at the seaside on work time, we might have been none the wiser.”

“One young man left a message saying he had a gastric bug. Less than 10 minutes later, he called again and left another message in a very muffled and slightly slurred voice saying “I won’t be in today – I’ve been to a family party and I’m still very, very drunk.” So drunk that he’d forgotten he’d already called.”

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