ONE in five small business managers regularly suspect employees of 'pulling a sickie' after hearing every excuse in the book, according to Canstar Blue.
The consumer research company surveyed more than 800 managers with less than 20 employees to determine the most common reasons for absenteeism.
The majority of staff members say they feel sick at 59 per cent, followed by they have a sick child at 49 per cent, upset stomach at 42 per cent, while headache and food poisoning both sit on 35 per cent and car trouble at 25 per cent.
Managers say they have also heard excuses including a death in the family, injury, sick pet, stranded far from home, hospitalisation or having something delivered.
Canstar Blue spokesman Simon Downes says some employees may feel the need to exaggerate or lie to their boss to avoid work.
"Some managers may expect their staff to be able to work through a common cold, so employees may feel the need to stretch the truth in order to get that day off," Downes says.
"You can only imagine what goes through the mind of a manager when a member of staff says they can't come to work because their pet budgie is sick.
"But employers should ask themselves why their staff feel inclined to pull a sickie in the first place. If you're happy at work, you're probably less likely to try and get a day off for no good reason."
The suspicion is most prevalent in the financial services industry, with 27 per cent of bosses believing staff have lied to get out of work compared to just 7 per cent of managers in the arts industry.
The Small Business survey also identified the reasons employers become frustrated with staff members, with lateness topping the list at 38 per cent.
This was followed by wasting time by talking to each other at 34 per cent, wasting time away from the work area at 30 per cent, leaving early at 28 per cent and taking long lunch breaks or incompetence both at 27 per cent.
Downes says it's no surprise that the majority of employer complaints relate to wasting time, particularly in small business.
"The reality is that many small businesses fail, and even those that are successful will only become so after their fair share of blood, sweat and tears," he says.
"Anything that distracts people from doing their job efficiently, including the time spent on smoking or drinks breaks, is likely to cause a headache for many managers.
"Ultimately, getting the best out of your employees is an integral part of the job when you're in charge.
"Creating a positive working environment might not seem high on the list of priorities when you're facing the sort of challenges that comes with running a business, but a happy worker is a good worker and will probably be less likely to phone in sick."
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