Employees have been calling in sick since time immemorial. Although it is not a new practice, compared to last year’s CareerBuilder survey slightly less workers said they had done it over the last 12 months.
Slightly more than a third of workers (35 percent) said they have called in to work sick when they were feeling just fine, down from 38 percent last year. The nationwide survey was conducted by Harris Poll for CareerBuilder. More than 3,100 full-time workers and more than 2,500 full-time hiring and human resource managers across industries participated in the survey.
When asked why they called in sick when they were feeling well, 28 percent said they just didn't feel like going in to work and 27 percent took the day off to attend a doctor's appointment. Another 24 percent said they needed to relax and 18 percent needed to catch up on sleep. And 11 percent took the day off to run personal errands.
The above were routine excuses commonly used to take a day off. But there were plenty of off-the-wall excuses given by employees, hoping they’d pass muster with their bosses. Here are some of the craziest, many of which border on the outrageous:
Though most employers (67 percent) give their employees the benefit of the doubt, 33 percent checked to see if employees were telling the truth. Among employers who checked to see if employees who called in sick— asking to see a doctor's note was the most popular way (68 percent), followed by calling the employee (43 percent) — 18 percent of employers took the initiative and drove past the employee's house.
However, more than 1 in 5 employers (22 percent) said they fired employees for calling in sick with a feeble excuse, which was on par with last year’s survey. More than a third of employers (34 percent) have caught an employee lying about being sick by checking social media. Of those, 27 percent have actually fired the employee for underestimating their employers. However, 55 percent were more forgiving, only reprimanding the employee for the lie.
Was it worth it? The answer is obvious.
George Santino didn’t have it easy. He grew up in poverty in one of Philadelphia’s poor neighborhoods. He had an alcoholic and physically abusive father. Things didn’t go well for Santino on the work front either. His real estate ventures failed, and he suffered a number of devastating physical accidents.
Despite all these setbacks, Santino never gave up. Each setback made him more determined to get back on his feet and succeed. And succeed he did. Sheer persistence and a strong desire to rise above his humble roots were the motivating factors for writing “Get Back Up — From the Streets to Microsoft Suites,” which is about how he learned to overcome his shortcomings and build a successful career. Here are a few of Santino’s tips that could benefit career builders:
Older employed in their 60s face a double-edge sword. While they’re delighted to keep on working, they face extremely high tax rates — considerably higher than the rates paid by millionaires and billionaires, according to a study conducted by Boston University economist and researcher Laurence Kotlikoff.
Kotlikoff, a senior fellow at the Goodman Institute, produced the study with Alan Auerbach, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley, and two additional authors.
"Senior workers earning an average income can easily lose more than half of their earnings to higher taxes and reduced government benefits," said Kotlikoff. "In some cases, workers can lose 95 cents out of each dollar they earn."
The good news is that millions of older workers are mentally and physically capable of making major contributions to our economy, said Kotlikoff. The bad news is that the nation is worse off when these people are pushed out of the workforce by policies that encourage them to retire, said Kotlikoff.
Penalized by Social Security system
The study found that the Social Security Administration is a major source of penalties for working: For instance:
These taxes are on top of income, payroll and other taxes. Although the government begins adding the benefit reduction back once the worker reaches the normal retirement age, many seniors don't realize that or don't understand it.
"If we abolished these 'earning penalties' the government would probably be a net winner. Seniors would work more and earn more and the other taxes they pay would more than make up for any short term revenue loss," said Kotlikoff.
Another impediment to work is the Social Security benefits tax:
When the Social Security benefits tax is added to the earnings penalty, the tax rate on moderate-income seniors can actually reach 95 percent.
The Social Security benefits tax also imposes very high rates on savings. For example, for someone in the 15 percent bracket for ordinary income:
These high marginal tax rates only impact those in the middle of the income ladder, said Kotlikoff. They don't affect the work incentives of the rich or the poor. But, "the loss of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the potential loss of Medicaid and other entitlement benefits create high marginal tax rates for low income workers in other ways."
A new report from career portal CareerCast lists the most dangerous and the safest jobs.
CareerCast publisher Tony Lee said that some of the most vital careers ‘‘upholding and maintaining the very fabric of American society are also among the most dangerous.”
It’s no surprise that professions such as police officer, firefighter and emergency medical technician, which are often associated with danger, made CareerCast’s top 10. These professions are tailored for the brave; those willing to sacrifice their own health and safety for the well being of others.
It’s no surprise that veterinarians were also named among the most dangerous professions. “Animals can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous,” said Kyle Kensing, CareerCast’s online content editor. “Veterinarians working with dogs and cats can face hazards of bites and scratches, and those who work with livestock and other large animals also risk serious injury.”
Also included among the top 10 most dangerous jobs are construction laborer, correction officer, farmer, nursing assistant, taxi driver and truck driver.
Quantifying the safest jobs is not quite as clear as determining the most dangerous. Low demand for travel, low physical activity and/or exertion, and workplace settings contribute to safer, physical conditions. Some of the best-ranked jobs having to do with monitoring and studying the environment have the lowest rate of physical incidents, according to CareerCast.
Predictably, IT jobs such as computer systems analyst and web developer, reported the fewest cases of on-the-job injury or illness. Other safe jobs include accountant/auditor, actuary, dietician, interpreter/translator, mathematician, medical records technician, paralegal assistant, and statistician.
The following are CareerCast’s 10 most dangerous jobs of 2016, plus average salary and growth prospects:
10 safest jobs
How most dangerous and safest jobs were compiled
The safest jobs were chosen based on work environment, which includes physical factors, all of which contribute to workplace danger; energy (exertion/stamina); physical demands; work conditions (toxic fumes, noise, etc.); and degree of confinement.
Picking up where I left off in my last blog, Scott Schober, CEO of Berkeley Varitronics Systems and author of “Hacked Again,” offers more solid cyber security tips that you ought to take seriously. Here are five more:
Think twice before putting personal information on a social media site
The result is you might end up being a victim of identity theft. When it comes to identity theft, criminals are scouring social media channels for information about targeted victims. It’s important not to give up too much information on your own social channels. More important, don’t post every detail of your personal life. While checking your Facebook account is fun, consider that it “can also be fun for a criminal who now knows when you aren’t home,” Schober said. “Any pieces of personal information a hacker can gather about you is another step toward stealing or selling your identity,” he added. Don’t list important information such as your date of birth or where you work because it makes you an easy target.
Don’t respond to spam
Don’t fall for phishing scams
• 156 Million phishing emails are sent every day by cyber criminals globally
• 16 million emails make it through the SPAM filters
• 8 million people open the emails
• 80,000 people (or 10%) fall for a scam every day and share their personal information.
Solution: Although tempting, fight the urge and don’t click. Said Schober: If “you think that people don’t fall for phishing scams, think again.”
Beware of insider threats
Schober said that it only takes one corrupt employee within an organization to pull off a successful cyber crime. His advice: “Report all suspicious activity to your employer as you never know when you have an insider threat.”
Protect credit cards
Due to state-of-the-art technologies, such as scanners and other devices that can quickly and discretely capture your credit card data, these types of breaches are very common, said Schober. Be proactive and protect your credit cards with security sleeves. Best strategy: Request credit cards that only use smartchip technology because these cards are much more difficult to compromise. Schober advises regularly checking your statements to ensure your transactions are valid. And contact your bank immediately if you notice something suspicious.