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The most common days for people to call in ‘sick’ aren’t what you think

Playing hooky is just as contagious as the flu on some days during the year.

The most common days for people to call in ‘sick’ aren’t what you think
[Photo: Alex Jones/Unsplash]

Feeling sick? Maybe just a bit hungover or want to eke out a little bit more of the weekend? Shoot, maybe you just had a whole day off for a holiday and now need time to recover from your family.

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Well, you’re not alone. Or unique. It turns out across the country when you’re “sick,” so is everyone else. We analyzed our website traffic to find the days when the most people are playing hooky.

The results? Well, there’s a reason your boss is so suspicious.

  • Monday is by far the most popular day, with 20% of sick day searches occurring on the first day of the workday. Garfield was right, I guess, Mondays suck.
  • Friday is shockingly the least popular weekday according to our data.
  • Holidays heavily impact sick days. Seven of the 10 sickest days in 2019 were holiday-related.
  • The day after Christmas was the most popular day to skip work in 2019.
  • Super Sick Monday (the Monday after the Super Bowl) is notorious for work call-outs, but for 2019 didn’t quite make the top 10.
  • Daylight savings’ time and Martin Luther King Day also just missed the cut, but are prime contenders to make the 2020 list.

For this data, we turned to our own website traffic. We analyzed traffic patterns and visitors to our article on Tips for calling in sick even when you’re not. We looked at all website visits for 2019.

Since traffic fluctuations can make daily visitors alone an unreliable method for comparison, we measured traffic changes day over day to identify days where interest in calling in sick surged. The higher the day over day traffic increases, the more people calling in sick.

The 10 “sickest” days of 2019

  1. 12/26/2019 – Day after Christmas
  2. 4/22/2019 – Day after Easter
  3. 1/2/2019 – Day after New Year’s
  4. 5/13/2019 – Day after Mother’s Day
  5. 7/8/2019 – Monday after July 4th
  6. 8/12/2019 – Monday
  7. 3/18/2019 – Day after St. Patrick’s Day
  8. 10/21/2019 – Monday
  9. 6/24/2019 – Monday
  10. 1/7/2019 – Monday after New Year’s

Holidays are contagious apparently. People are significantly more likely to call in sick near a holiday. The day after Christmas had the highest surge rate, with an almost 400% increase. To put that into perspective, a “normal” surge is closer to 100%. In general, the closer the holiday is to a weekend, the greater the chance of people calling in sick.

Interestingly, July 4th was on Thursday in 2019. However, the holiday had a surge of call-outs the following Monday, not the immediate Friday following.

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That makes sense because next to holidays, the favorite day to call in sick is Monday. It is also likely that many holiday festivities for the fourth took place over the weekend, leading to a lot of fake coughing on phone calls to bosses all across America.

We couldn’t identify any event prior to August 12, June 24, or October 21 leading to everyone wanting to skip work, forcing us to conclude they were simply the Mondayest Mondays ever, scientifically of course.

While the biggest motivating factor for calling in sick is proximity to a holiday, the day of the week matters, too. The most popular day by far is Monday, with Friday being in last place for weekdays.

One thing is clear: Workers across America have a heightened interest in calling in sick on the same days. The days everyone wants to stay in bed the most? Any weekday near a national holiday and Mondays.

It is impossible to tell how many of these sick days are genuine sickness or exhaustion from dealing with the stresses of the holidays, and which are from a simple desire to be anywhere other than work. After all, a great deal of these holidays come with copious amounts of food, drink, and close proximity to a lot of people. Maybe holidays are contagious.

So, if you want to play hooky from work with your boss being none the wiser, stay away from Monday. Be an original, and do a Tuesday. Barely anyone calls out on Tuesday. Better yet, find a job that doesn’t make you want to call in sick all the time.

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This article originally appeared on Zippia and is reprinted with permission.

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