How employers catch phony sick day claims

Over the past year, roughly 30 percent of U.S. workers who have called in sick were not actually ill, according to a CareerBuilder survey. The study found that sick days are more frequently claimed around the holidays, making December the most popular month for taking days off, followed by July, January and February. Too many people taking days off at the same time can result in reduced worker productivity.

CareerBuilder surveyed 2,494 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3,976 workers. To discover fake sickness claims, most employers required a doctor’s note or called employees later in the day. Some went to greater extents, having others call the supposedly ill employee, or drive to the person’s home. Seventeen percent of employers fired workers for phony excuses.

So if they weren’t sick, why were employees taking days off? Thirty-four percent of workers just didn’t feel like going to work and 29 percent needed to relax. Twenty-two percent took off to make doctor’s appointments, 16 percent caught up on sleep and 15 percent ran errands.

Some of the more interesting excuses the survey found include being bitten by a bird, and emotional distress after watching “The Hunger Games.”

While CareerBuilder only studied employees who take sick days illegitimately, workers could be committing insurance fraud if their false injuries and illnesses are related to workers’ compensation insurance claims. Employers and coworkers that suspect others of workers’ comp fraud can contact SCF Arizona’s fraud investigation hotline at 800-526-5226.

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