It happens to even the most punctual among us: your alarm doesn’t go off, traffic is awful, the car wouldn’t start, the train was late. All normal and understandable reasons for showing up late for work. But some people have much more unusual—and questionable— excuses for being late, according to a new CareerBuilder survey.
When asked about the most outrageous excuses they’ve been given for being late, surveyed employers shared the following answers from their employees:
- It’s too cold to work.
- I had morning sickness (from a man).
- My coffee was too hot and I couldn’t leave until it cooled off.
- An astrologer warned me of a car accident on a major highway, so I took all backroads, making me an hour late.
- My dog ate my work schedule.
- I was here, but I fell asleep in the parking lot.
- My fake eyelashes were stuck together.
- Although it has been five years, I forgot I did not work at my former employer’s location and drove there on accident.
As inventive as these excuses are, in general, the usual suspects are to blame for why employees are late to work: traffic (51 percent), oversleeping (31 percent), bad weather (28 percent), too tired to get out of bed (23 percent), and forgetting something (13 percent).
The Importance Of Being Timely
You might think it’s OK to be running a few minutes behind, but the majority of employers (60 percent) say they expect employees to be on time every day, and more than 2 in 5 (43 percent) have fired someone for being late – compared to 41 percent last year. By region, 48 percent of employers in the South say they have fired workers for being late, followed by those in the Midwest (45 percent), West (42 percent), and Northeast (38 percent).
Tardiness is more of a habit for some employees than others. When asked how often they come in late for work, 1 in 4 workers (25 percent) admitted they do it at least once a month — down from 29 percent last year — and more than 1 in 10 (12 percent) say it’s a weekly occurrence for them.
Based on the survey, if you’re over 45 and from the Midwest, you are least likely to show up late for work. Broken down by age, 38 percent of those ages 18-34 are late at least once a month, compared to 36 percent of those 35-44, and 14 percent of those 45 and older. By region, 30 percent of workers from the West are late at least once a month, compared to only 26 percent in the Northeast, 25 percent in the South, and 23 percent in the Midwest.
Perhaps to stay on employers’ good sides, 65 percent of workers who arrive late will stay later to make up for it – down from 69 percent last year. Overall, workers want to move past 9-5: 63 percent of workers say they believe working 9 to 5 is an antiquated practice, and 88 percent think start and end times should be flexible.
More than 1,000 hiring and human resource managers and more than 800 workers in the private sector across industries participated in the nationwide survey, conducted online by The Harris Poll from November 28 and December 20, 2017.