Employers Share Most Outrageous Excuses Employees Gave for Coming in Late in CareerBuilder's Annual Survey

Study Points to the Importance of Punctuality in the New Year

CHICAGO, January 12, 2012 – Cat hiccups, a disgruntled roommate and a governor’s phone call are among this year’s most unusual excuses employees gave for being tardy, according to a new CareerBuilder study. Sixteen percent of workers reported they arrive late to work once a week or more, up from 15 percent last year. Twenty-seven percent of workers arrive late to work at least once a month, up from 26 percent last year. The nationwide survey was conducted between November 9 and December 5, 2011 by Harris Interactive© among more than 7,000 U.S. employees and 3,000 employers across industries and company sizes.

While employers are more flexible about work schedules and start times today, excessive tardiness can have serious consequences. Over one-third (34 percent) of employers said they have terminated an employee for being late.

“Punctuality – or lack thereof - can impact how your commitment, reliability and performance are perceived by your employer,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “One of the best ways to make sure you get to work on time is to get organized and plan ahead.  Lay out whatever you’ll need for the workday the night before, plan to be at the office early, account for expected commute delays and eliminate distractions in your morning routine.”   

Traffic, sleep schedules and weather conditions are the top three causes for late arrivals to the office, according to workers:

  • Traffic – 31 percent of workers
  • Lack of sleep – 18 percent
  • Bad weather – 11 percent
  • Getting kids to school or daycare – 8 percent

Other common reasons for tardiness included public transportation delays, pets, spouses, watching TV and Internet usage.

When asked for examples of the most outrageous excuses employees provided for being late, hiring managers shared the following:

  1. Employee’s cat had the hiccups.
  2. Employee thought she had won the lottery (she didn’t).
  3. Employee got distracted watching the TODAY Show.
  4. Employee’s angry roommate cut the cord to his phone charger, so it didn’t charge and his alarm didn’t go off.
  5. Employee believed his commute time should count toward his work hours.
  6. Employee claimed a fox stole her car keys.
  7. Employee’s leg was trapped between the subway car and the platform (turned out to be true).
  8. Employee said he wasn’t late because he had no intention of getting to work before 9:00 a.m. (his start time was 8:00 a.m.)
  9. Employee was late because of a job interview with another firm.
  10. Employee had to take a personal call from the state governor (turned out to be true).

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,023 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 7,780 U.S. workers (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between November 9 and December 5, 2011 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With pure probability samples of 3,023 and 7,780, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.78 and +/- 1.11 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

About CareerBuilder
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract their most important asset - their people. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 40 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world’s top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and data analysis to recruitment support. More than 9,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder’s proprietary job search technology on their career sites. 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, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.

Media Contact:
CareerBuilder
Ryan Hunt
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ryan.hunt@careerbuilder.com
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