Fake Illness, An Excuse To Be Absent From Work

October 25, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. alibi (n.) [al-uh-bahy] – an excuse or reason
Example: The student has an alibi for being late to school.

2. sham (adj.) [sham] – fake; not true
Example: The worker always uses a sham excuse for not submitting papers on time.
3. attribute (v.) [v. uh-trib-yoot; n. a-truh-byoot] – to relate to a particular reason or cause
Example: Global warming is mainly attributed to pollution.

4. mingle (v.) [ming-guhl] – to join other people, usually for a social activity
Example: I usually mingle with my high school friends when I’m free from work.

5. compensate (v.) [kom-puhn-seyt] – to make up or pay for something lost or spent
Example: The store gave a discount to compensate for the broken product the customer bought from them.

Read the text below.

Many Chinese and Indian workers call in sick fromwork to get some time off according to a recent online survey.

The survey, commissioned by the employee management company Kronos, included 9,500 respondents from different countries. China ranked first in the survey with 71% of its total respondents saying that they had pretended to be sick to get a break from work. Ranking second was India with 62%.

With only 16% of respondents admitting that they had used the same alibi, France took the last spot while Mexico ranked close to it with 38%. On the other hand, half of the workers in United States and Canada had also used the sham sickness reason. Australia and Britain were in between with 53% and 41% respectively.

Aside from being sick, other reasons for being absent used by the respondents were sick children and insufficient sick leave.

When asked what they do during absences, most said they stay home, watch television or sleep. However, Indians and Mexicans use their time to go out and mingle with other people.

Joyce Malorey, who spearheaded the survey, explained that these results can be attributed to the number of paid leaves and holidays in each country. She mentioned how in China and India, employees are allowed only 10 and 12 days annual leaves respectively. Both countries compose 2 of the 3 countries with the lowest number of leaves for employees. In contrast, France, who ranked last, has the highest number of annual leaves.

The same respondents also came up with some solutions to the problem. Majority suggested more flexible work hours to improve the situation; almost half of Chinese workers recommended more days off. In addition, French workers said they choose to have days off during Fridays, and compensate for their absence on another day of the week.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         What would be the advantages and disadvantages of paying workers on days off?
·         If you were a boss in a company, would you give payments for days off?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think employees lie just to get a day off from work?
·         How do you think can employers make sure their employees tell them the truth?

October 25, 2011