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03 March 2024

Excuse me? 5 silliest reasons UAE employees give to take a day off

By Shuchita Kapur

It’s the season of flu. My colleague’s neighbour’s child got it, passed it on to her children, who then passed it to her and the next thing to happen was, of course, she took off from work.

This concerns me not because I really care about the well-being of my co-worker (no malice intended) but the quantum of my work. She took off and I was the most eligible person to share her burden of tasks for the next two days.

In many instances, employers and HR managers fret about lost work-hours because people just decide to call in sick. But, the good thing is that flu is a seasonal problem and can still be dealt with.

However, employers in the UAE say the list of reasons to take off is not limited to just being down with flu. Staff can come up with the silliest/weirdest reasons to take a day off from work to relax, to finish personal work or attend to something else that cannot be postponed.

Jennifer Campori, Managing Director, Middle East and Europe at Charterhouse Partnership, has been in the recruitment industry for a long time now and lists some of the worst/silliest excuses given by employees when they decide to take a day off in the UAE.

· Sending a text message at 8:35am on a Sunday morning to say you have had food and drinks poisoning from a Saturday brunch!

· I had plastic surgery at the weekend and the swelling hasn’t gone down!

· Text message on a Thursday morning to say you have been up all night throwing up and cannot move, but on Friday you are at a 12noon brunch and party with your colleagues. Wow, you got well quite quickly!

· I broke my finger while wrestling with my girlfriend.

· I went to Ski Dubai, fell over and rolled down the mountain but I can come to work, however, need to wear pyjamas because my entire body is bruised.

Hilarious as they may seem, some employers in the country have their stories to share as well.

“We have our share of such employees,” the HR manager of an international bank in Dubai quipped. “One of them takes off every now and then, but one of the silliest excuses she gave me once was that she fought with her husband and was feeling low and hence would not be able to concentrate on her work the next day,” he said on the condition of anonymity.

Other excuses that employers list are pet problems (for some they can be as important as children), car breakdowns or failed car brakes, main door lock not working or rescuing the maid’s husband, who may be at the Bur Dubai police station.

The list of excuses can go on but it’s better to be safe than sorry. The kind of job market we are in, prudent employees will think twice before coming up with silly reasons to stay away from work.

There are many available candidates in the market, willing to work hard… so why tempt fate? At least, not until the next flu season.

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