Paid sick time policies are an effective way to prevent the spread of contagious illnesses at work, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

However, over 40 million private sector workers don’t have access to this benefit.

Even those who do get paid sick leave may be hesitant to use it because of pressure from their boss to show up at the office, healthy or not.

If you have a supervisor like that, is any excuse good enough? Researchers wanted to know.

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The Sun reported that a survey of 1,000 senior business leaders found that having the flu was the number one reason to miss work – satisfying 4 out of 10 bosses.

Back pain and injury caused by an accident were also among the most believable excuses.

Interestingly, the report said workers are more likely to lie if they need to take time off for mental health issues compared to physical ailments.

Here are the top 9 excuses from the study:

  1. Flu
  2. Back pain
  3. Injury caused by accident
  4. Stress
  5. Elective surgery
  6. Depression
  7. Anxiety
  8. Common cold
  9. Migraine

If you’re truly not feeling well, Clark Howard has said in the past that if you have paid sick leave or PTO (paid time off) as part of your benefits package, use it.

You’re potentially being more loyal to your employer — not less — by staying home.

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If you go to the office while sick, your work performance may slip and you’ll make mistakes – or you could even get your manager sick as well.

Who do you think your boss would be mad at then?

Mike Timmermann,


Rare Studio

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