That’s according to employment law experts ELAS, who have compiled the most spectacular excuses heard by bosses in order to celebrate this year’s National Sickie Day.

The annual event, which marks the worst day of the year for absenteeism, falls on the first Monday in February each year, with around 350,000 people expected to call in sick this year.

Here are 10 of the worst excuses ever:

  • It’s my dogs’ birthday and I need to arrange a party for him
  • My friend is on annual leave so I can’t get a lift
  • I got arrested
  • I lost my PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
  • I’m too drunk to drive
  • My only pair of work trousers is in the wash
  • I stayed out too late partying last night and haven’t had any sleep
  • The dog ate my shoes
  • My wife earns more than me so I have to look after the kids
  • I have no way to get to work


ELAS expects today’s absences to cost the UK economy around £45 million (NZ$76.2m) in wages, lost hours and overtime, while it has advised employers that they are “perfectly entitled to challenge the authenticity of an absence”.

Among the worst excuses heard by bosses last year were employees claiming the dog ate their shoes, they were too drunk to drive and that they could not make it to work because they had been arrested.

One even claimed they needed to arrange a birthday party for their dog, while another said their only pair of work trousers was in the wash.

2015’s most outrageous excuses included an employee claiming they had locked themselves in their bathroom, and a worker from Glasgow saying they missed their stop and could not get off the train until they reached London.

“These excuses might sound weird and wonderful but they are all genuine reasons we have from our clients over the last year,” said Emma O’Leary, an employment law consultant at ELAS.

“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 has been claimed that many employees shirk work at the start of February because they are attending a job interview.

After using the Christmas holidays as an opportunity to re-evaluate their life and think about their job prospects, workers who are unhappy with their role often spend January considering their next move and then begin the interviewing process for new jobs in February.




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