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Andrea Santiago

Healthcare Workers Calling In Sick To Work

By November 26, 2012

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Absenteeism Increases Around Holidays, Creating Staffing Challenges for Healthcare Employers

"I have bats in my hair."

"I drank antifreeze by mistake."

Deer bites, falling refrigerators, stolen cars, and mints up the nose... these are just a few of the unusual excuses heard by healthcare employers when workers call in sick, according to an employer survey by MiracleWorkers.com, a healthcare job site, and a division of Careerbuilder.

Absenteeism is a chronic issue, and it becomes even worse during certain time periods during the year, when more people tend to call in sick, and do so more frequently. Healthcare employers expect to see less employee traffic as the holidays approach, the new MiracleWorkers.com survey finds.  Over one-third (37 percent) of healthcare employers reported that workers call in sick more often during the winter holidays.

While the cold and flu season is a heavy contributor to workplace absences this time of year, some workers may be using sick days to take care of some
holiday shopping or other errands.  Twenty-eight percent of healthcare workers have admitted to already playing hooky from work this year, citing personal errands, doctor's appointments and lack of desire to work among the top reasons for calling in sick when they were well.  The nationwide study was conducted by Harris
Interactive in 2011 and included more than 280 healthcare employers and nearly 600 healthcare workers.

While healthcare employers reported heightened absenteeism around the holidays, the prime time of year when companies say employees call in sick is in the first quarter:

  • January through March -  34 percent
  • April through June -   10 percent
  • July through September - 30 percent
  • October through December - 26 percent

Absenteeism is a problem for any employer, but for healthcare employers, many of whom are already understaffed, missing workers can pose serious issues and even impact patient safety.

Should you call in sick to work at your medical job? Learn more, and check out the remaining list of unusual excuses for calling in sick to work.


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