Best Excuses for Playing Hooky from Work

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — A full third of employers say they notice an increased number of sick days among their employees around the holidays with 19% noting that December is the time of year that employees call in sick the most followed by 16% in January and 15% in February, according to an annual report.

"With all of the holiday travel and gatherings, it's likely that some of those calls are for legitimate illness as people get run down and exposed to lots of germ while running around getting ready for and participating in yuletide events," said Joyce Maroney, director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc.

CareerBuilder's annual study found that apart from actual illness, about 33% said they took a sick day, because they didn't feel like going to work, 28% because they needed to relax, 24% cited going to a scheduled doctor's appointment and 19% said catching up on sleep.

"Employees call in sick more often in December due to financial stress," said Travis Freeman, a financial advisor with Four Seasons Wealth Management in St. Louis. "During the holiday season, we're not just thinking about gifts, we're thinking about holiday dinners, travel expenses, property taxes, income taxes, etc. Combine this with lower holiday bonuses due to the slow economy and you can see why financial stress picks up year-end."

About 90% of office workers come to work even when they know they are sick compared to 80% last year, according to Staples 4th Annual Flu Season survey.

"Flu season poses a big problem for businesses," said Lisa Hamblet, vice president for facility solutions at Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples. "Each year it causes an estimated 70 million missed workdays and billions in lost office productivity. It's critical that both employees and employers take notice and promote healthier habits."