Hiccuping cat among late excuses at work – survey

12 Jan 2012

One in six employees will be coughing up an excuse this week as to why he or she was late for work and some of those excuses will be quite, er, creative, a survey by US jobs website CareerBuilder suggests.

CareerBuilder’s annual ‘Most Outrageous Excuses for Coming in Late’ survey reveals that 16pc of all workers arrive late at work at least once a week, and more than a quarter (27pc) come into work late once a month or more.

While there are perfectly plausible and usual excuses for tardiness – traffic snarls (used by 31pc of employees), lack of sleep (cited by 18pc of workers), bad weather (said by 11pc of staff), getting the kids to school or daycare (creche) (used by 8pc of employees), and transportation delays (also used by 8pc of employees) – hiring managers report that employees have given more unusual excuses for arriving late at work. Among those excuses are:

  • My cat had the hiccups.
  • I thought I won the lottery.
  • I got distracted watching The Today Show (an American breakfast TV programme).
  • My roommate got mad at me and cut the cord to my phone charger, so it didn’t charge and my alarm didn’t go off.
  • You mean my commute time doesn’t count toward my work hours?
  • A fox stole my car keys.
  • My leg got trapped between the subway car and the platform. (This one actually turned out to be true!)
  • Try the honest approach: I have no intention of getting to work before 9am. (Start time was 8am).
  • Sorry I’m late, I had a job interview with another firm.
  • I had to take a personal call from the state governor. (This one also turned out to be true).

CareerBuilder’s survey also suggests that any excuses for being late better be good ones, as 34pc of employers say they have fired an employee for being late.

The extent to which an employee is punctual can impact how his or her commitment, reliability and performance are perceived by his or her employer, UPI.com reports Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of human resources at CareerBuilder, as saying.

"One of the best ways to make sure you get to work on time is to get organised and plan ahead," Haefner said. "Lay out whatever you’ll need for the workday the night before, plan to be at the office early, account for expected commute delays and eliminate distractions in your morning routine."

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