Calling in Sick Because of Stress

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The No. 1 most accepted excuse for calling in sick to work is the flu, which seems pretty standard. No boss wants one worker with a virus to infect the whole office, and even if the employee is faking it, it’s not worth taking the risk. But a few of the other top 10 most believable excuses for taking a day off from work might surprise you — like stress, depression, and anxiety.

A survey by one UK healthcare company asked 1,000 senior business leaders to rank the most reasonable excuses to call in sick, resulting in this list:

1. Flu
2. Back pain
3. Injury caused by accident
4. Stress
5. Elective surgery
6. Depression
7. Anxiety
8. Common cold
9. Migraine
10. None of the above

The findings imply that bosses truly are A-OK with employees taking days off for mental health reasons (like anxiety and depression). And stress, coming in at No. 4, is a common and totally acceptable reason to avoid the office. Despite this, however, employees still seem to feel uneasy asking for time off purely for mental health purposes, perhaps because it’s harder to “prove.” In fact, according to the research, “staff are more likely to lie if they need time off for mental health issues than they are for physical problems.”

So stop fibbing when you need a mental health day! There’s nothing to feel guilty about, and you’ll benefit tremendously from a dedicated day of recharging and resetting.