10 Best Excuses for Being Late to Work

Are you chronically late?  Or maybe just chronically late to work?  Well, you’re not alone.  20% of workers are late to work at least once a week, according to Careerbuilder.com’s annual survey.  Last year, only 15% of the workforce suffered from habitual tardiness.  12% were late at least twice per week.

traffic jam

The most commonly used excuses included:

  • Traffic (33 percent);
  • Lack of sleep (24 percent); and
  • Getting the kids ready for school or day care (10 percent).

Public transportation, wardrobe issues, and pet problems were also common reasons.

But the real hilarity is not in the everyday excuses–we’ve all heard (and probably used) those before.  The real entertainment is the most uncommon excuses that Careerbuilder collected over the last 12 months.  These really leave me to marvel at the, um, “creativity” of these employees.  My personal favorite this year is #5.


  1. “My husband thinks it’s funny to hide my car keys before he goes to work.”
  2. “I was attacked by a raccoon and had to stop by the hospital to make sure it wasn’t rabid.”
  3. “My left turn signal was out so I had to make all right turns to get to work.”
  4. “A gurney fell out of an ambulance and delayed traffic.”
  5. “I feel like I’m in everyone’s way if I show up on time.”
  6. “My heat was shut off so I had to stay home to keep my snake warm.”
  7. “My father didn’t wake me up.”
  8. “A groundhog bit my bike tire and made it flat.”
  9. “I walked into a spider web on the way out the door and couldn’t find the spider, so I had to go inside and shower again.”
  10. “I got locked in my trunk by my son.”
  11. “My driveway washed away in the rain last night.”
  12. “I had to go to bingo.”

Click here to see last year’s 10 Best Excuses for Being Late to Work


When Switching to a PTO System, What to Do With Accrued Leave Time?

I spoke about Paid Time Off (PTO), Systems during a recent audioconference.  Following the seminar, I received the following question from a participant. I imagine many others have had similar concerns about making the switch from a traditional time-off system, where vacation, sick, and personal time are all separate and treated differently, to a PTO system, where all time off is lumped together in a “bank” from which the employee can withdraw, regardless of the reason.shutterstock_24208687 

Q:  We are considering switching to a PTO bank for paid time off.  We discovered that we have some employees who have built up huge banks of personal and sick time that we have traditionally allowed to be carried over from year to year.  Until recently, we “bought back” sick time at the end of the year, so long as the employee had at least five years of service and had accrued a minimum amount of sick time.  Now, we pay out unused vacation and personal time but sick time is forfeited.  As we plan our PTO policy we wanted to limit the carryover of PTO to 10 days (80 hours) at the end of our fiscal year.

Can you provide me with examples of what other companies have done when implementing a PTO system to handle situations where people have extremely large banks of time to be converted to PTO?


Many employers decide to reduce the amount of hours that may be paid out when they switch to a PTO system because the understanding is that PTO is a richer benefit.  So the first thing to do is to determine whether you will permit payout or rollover at all.  (Note that the laws vary on the permissibility of “use it or lose it” policies from state to state.)  Once you establish a maximum number of hours that can be carried over into the next fiscal year, you’ll have to decide what to do with any time in excess of the minimum.  There are a number of viable ways to handle these excess hours.  If possible, try to consider allowing employees to choose from several options.  Here are just a few:

1.  Pay out cash for the PTO hours over the maximum number at a discounted rate, similar to your buy-back plan. 

2.  Designate the excess hours as sick-leave-only time.  This would never be paid out or rolled over from year to year.  But if an employee has reason to think he or she may need the sick time (for example, for maternity leave), this would be a very desirable alternative.

3.  Forfeit any time above the minimum.

4.  Permit a certain amount of hours to be carried over based on the length of service; i.e., the longer the individual has been employed, the more time he or she may carry over.

For the Chronically Absent: Step-by-Step Guide on How to Call in Sick When You’re Not

sick-day-handbook.jpgPosted on wikiHow.com is a comprehensive guide for calling out off work without raising suspicions. wikiHow.com is a reader-authored and -edited website that offers tutorials and instructions for just every topic imaginable. The article is titled, “How to Call in sick When You Just Need a Day Off.”

Far be it from me to tell you how to use this, um, “thorough resource.” Maybe you envision posting it on your intranet as comic relief. (After all, laughter can improve the workplace).

Or, maybe you want to know the tricks of the trade (the faker trade, that is), so you can spot the fakers when you see them.

Or, for all I know, you may want to take these tips for a test run and use them the next time you need a mental health day.

Who am I to judge?

Regardless of how this “guide” is utilized, it does cover just about everything one needs to know in executing an escapism plan. For example, there is a list of alternative “calling methods.” Including, calling your boss early in the morning so your voice is rough, thus giving you additional credibility.

There are also various “things to do and say” while on the phone, such as “make your vomit sound real,” and how to give yourself a case of the temporary sniffles by, basically, self-induced water torture.

And, for those of who make it in to work only to decide that the Macy’s sale really would be a better use of your time, there are ways to “fake sick at work,” thereby enabling you to make a clean escape.

Once you make that escape or that early morning phone call, the article cautions that you should heed certain warnings so as not to foil the plan. A personal favorite from the warnings list:

It’s important that your boss thinks you are sick in your bed. Blaring music or a loud TV can destroy that image, as can thousands of screaming fans at a footbal game. If you’re out of the house, you might want to call from your car. But be sure the engine and air condititioner are turned off.

The article ends with some sage words of advice:

“All in all, the best thing to do is never pretend to be ill, not only is it dishonest and deceitful, if you are found out you could face disciplinary action and, even worse, you can lose your job.”