From food poisoning to faulty washing machines, here are the top 10 excuses workers use to call in sick

Edith Hancock
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"Sorry, I think it was something I ate...". Food poisoning is the most popular skiving excuse (Source: Getty)

Don't pretend you haven't done it.

It is a rite of passage that an employee will use at least one poor excuse in their career to get out of work, but new research has found that Britons lack creativity when pulling a sickie.

With the live European Championships action on TV decimating the Square Mile's office population this month, researchers at recruiter Reed have revealed the 10 most popular reasons British workers use to skive work.

Read more: How to stop employees pulling a sickie

Perhaps not surprisingly, minor, short-term ailments were the most popular, with faux food poisoning and sudden bouts of summer flu claiming the top two spots.

However, honesty seems to be the best policy in many UK offices, as "I want to stay home and watch the football" is the third most popular excuse given.

The top 10 excuses Britons use to pull a sickie

  1. "I have food poisoning"
  2. "I have the flu"
  3. "I want to stay home and watch the football"
  4. "My dog is sick"
  5. "I have a doctor's/dentist's appointment"
  6. "My washing machine is broken"
  7. "I've had an allergic reaction"
  8. "I need to go to [insert distant relative]'s funeral"
  9. "My car broke down"
  10. "My child is sick"

EU-regulated white goods and household appliances are already a sore issue for many Leave campaigners, so it comes as no surprise that overflowing washing machines comes in at number six. However, the study shows a severe lack of imagination among British workers, as no other appliances make it into the top 10.

Read more: Nine per cent of workers admit to "ghosting" their bosses

The results also show that parents don't always practice what they preach. While kids are chided for faking illness to get out of school, "my child is sick" makes it into the list of British workers' most popular skiving excuses.