(Reuters) - A heavy turkey dinner caused one worker to sleep through his shift. Another said his false teeth flew out the car window as he was driving along the highway.
These were just two of the imaginative excuses employees gave bosses when calling in sick last year, according to a study released on Thursday by CareerBuilder, the jobs website.
Nearly a third of the 5,500 workers and managers who took part in the online survey admitted to taking sick days when they were not in fact ill, which experts said costs businesses money.
"These are funny explanations, but employee absence is a fairly serious issue for employers," said Patricia Purdy, vice president of core benefits with Chicago-based Pacific Resources, an employee absence management company.
On average, employee absences account for 35 percent of an employer's base payroll, Purdy said. When someone doesn't come to work, bosses have to pay overtime to workers who do, sometimes pay replacement workers, and absorb the costs of lower productivity, she said.
Only 24 percent of people said they used sick days to see a doctor, including one employee who called in because his "fake eye was falling out of its socket," according to the report.
One third of respondents said they used sick days because they just didn't feel like going to work. One said he was "too grouchy from quitting smoking" to go to the office that day.
"While some employers may be flexible with how employees use their sick days, 16 percent say they've fired employees for calling in sick with a fake excuse," CareerBuilder said.
Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts; editing by Gunna Dickson