ELAS coined the phrase National Sickie Day in 2011 after noticing a pattern of increased absence rates on the first Monday in February. This year National Sickie Day falls on Monday 6th February and ELAS is predicting approximately 350,000 people will call in sick, costing the UK economy around £45 million in wages, lost hours and overtime.

Over the years the absence management specialists have heard some outrageous excuses from people calling in sick, and 2016 was no exception. Here are the top 10 worst excuses for absences. 

1. It’s my dogs’ birthday and I need to arrange a party for him



2. My friend is on annual leave so I can’t get a lift


3. I got arrested


4. I lost my PPE


5. I’m too drunk to drive


6. My only pair of work trousers is in the wash

7. I stayed out too late partying last night and haven’t had any sleep


8. The dog ate my shoes


9. My wife earns more than me so I have to look after the kids


10. I have no way to get to work


Emma O’Leary, employment law consultant for the ELAS Group, says: “These excuses might sound weird and wonderful but they are all genuine reasons we have heard from our clients over the last year. As an employer you are perfectly entitled to challenge the authenticity of an absence; if an excuse seems too far-fetched then ask for evidence if appropriate. If you notice a pattern emerging then you should speak to the employee about their poor attendance and take proactive steps to action it. It is useful to have a formal system in place to monitor absences, such as triggers on a points-based system like the Bradford Factor or ELAS’s Absence Assist which helps identify trends and has been proven to reduce absence rates by up to 62%. The key is not to penalise genuine absences but to tackle the trend of sickies.”