From escaped zebras to must-see TV, employers share some of the most unique excuses they’ve heard from tardy employees in a new CareerBuilder study. The study also finds that nearly one quarter (23 percent) of employees admit to being tardy at least once a month on average, with 15 percent admitting to arriving late at least once a week.
The national survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from November 6 to December 2, 2013, and included a representative sample of 3,008 full-time, private sector workers and 2,201 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.
Running a little late could have big repercussions. One in three (35 percent) employers have fired an employee for tardiness, and 48 percent of employers expect their employees to be on time every day. Thirty-four percent say they allow employees to be late every once in a while, as long as tardiness doesn’t become a pattern, and 18 percent don’t care how their employees manage their time, just that they get their work done well.
“Most employers understand that occasionally things pop up and cause employees to be behind schedule. The trouble comes when tardiness becomes a habit,” said
Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Employees who are often late should consider regularly checking the weather forecast for their commute, setting up alerts from any public transportation they use, or getting more done the night before so they’re not rushed in the morning.”
Employees tend to run into some roadblocks more often than others. Traffic remains the most common reason employees say they’re late (39 percent), followed by lack of sleep (19 percent), problems with public transportation (8 percent), bad weather (7 percent) and dropping the kids off at daycare or school (6 percent).
Some employees don’t stick with the common excuses for their tardiness. Employers shared some of the most memorable excuses they’ve received from employees who were running late, including:
1- Employee claimed a zebra was running down the highway and held up traffic (turned out to be true)
2- Employee woke up on the front lawn of a house two blocks away from his home
3- Employee’s cat got stuck in the toilet
4- Employee couldn’t eat breakfast – he ran out of milk for cereal and had to buy some before getting ready for work
5- Employee was late to work because he fell asleep in the car when he got to work
6- Employee accidentally put superglue in her eye instead of contact lens solution, and had to go to the emergency room
7- Employee thought Halloween was a work holiday
8- Employee said a hole in the roof caused rain to fall on the alarm clock and it didn’t go off
9- Employee was watching something on TV and really wanted to see the end
10- Employee forgot that the company had changed locations
11- Employee got a hairbrush stuck in her hair
12- Employee was scared by a nightmare
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,201 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3,008 workers (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) ages 18 and over between November 6 and December 2, 2013 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With pure probability samples of 2,201 and 3,008, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have sampling errors of +/-2.09 and +/- 1.79 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract great talent. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors and 1 million jobs. CareerBuilder works with the world’s top employers, providing everything from labor market intelligence to talent management software and other recruitment solutions. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.
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