What are the worst excuses for missing work?
"My dog has had a fright and I don't want to leave him" and "I've injured myself during sex" also made the list of reasons given to researchers at mutual healthcare provider Benenden Health.
Its study of 1,000 workers and 1,000 bosses indicates that six out of ten bosses don't believe employees' excuses when they call in sick - particularly when they are as far-fetched as "I am stuck in my house because the door's broken".
Gill Landon, development director at Benenden Health, said: "In a tough economy, managing sickness absence becomes vital for businesses.
"But employers are clearly suspicious about days taken off for illness - perhaps not surprising given the varied excuses presented for absence.
"This is not helped by the fact that for more than a fifth of the sick days taken, workers admitted they could have actually made it into work."
In this age of internet living, the survey also reveals that one in three managers scour social media after receiving a sickie call-in to see whether the staff member is well enough to post updates - and whether those updates match the information they have been given.
"High levels of sickness absence can have a huge negative impact on businesses - both from a financial perspective and on the effect it has on staff who bear the extra workload.
"This is naturally causing employers to be more alert to spotting staff who are not genuinely ill, using methods such as checking their social media profiles to catch them out if they are lying or rigorously questioning the reasons they give for their absence," Landon added.
According to The Week magazine, meanwhile, even those hunting for a job often make excuses for being late for interviews. It therefore advises interviewees to leave extra time to avoid having to make excuses - and almost certainly missing out on the job.
25 of the best (worst) excuses
- A can of baked beans landed on my big toe
- I was swimming too fast and smacked my head on the poolside
- I've been bitten by an insect
- My car handbrake broke and it rolled down the hill into a lamppost
- My dog has had a big fright and I don't want to leave him
- My hamster has died
- I've injured myself during sex
- I slipped on a coin
- I've had a sleepless night
- My mum has died (this was the second time the person used this excuse)
- I am hallucinating
- I am stuck in my house because the door's broken
- My new girlfriend bit me in a delicate place
- I burned my hand on the toaster
- The dog ate my shoes
- My fish is sick
- I swallowed white spirit
- My toe is trapped in the bath tap
- I'm in A&E as I got a clothes peg stuck on my tongue
- I drank too much and fell asleep on someone's floor – I don't know where I am
- My trousers split on the way to work
- I'm using a new contact lens solution and my eyes are watering
- I have a blocked nose
- I've had a hair dye disaster
- I've got a sore finger