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CHICAGO -- A recent careerbuilder.com survey found 14 percent of retail workers say they arrive late to work at least once a week, and more than one in five of all retail workers (22 percent) admit to making up fake excuses to explain their tardiness.
The survey, "Late to Work," which was conducted from Feb. 15 to March 6, indicated that punctuality may be more critical in retail than other industries.
While 44 percent of hiring managers across all industries indicate they don't care if employees are late as long as their work is completed on time with good quality, the same is true for only 22 percent of the retail hiring managers. In fact, 40 percent of retail hiring managers say they would consider terminating an employee if he/she arrives late four or less times in a given year.
"Retail is a high-touch, customer service industry, and therefore companies immediately feel the pressure if employees are late," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for careerbuilder.com. "However, as retail organizations look to improve retention rates, some are creating more flexible work environments to accommodate employees' outside obligations. More than a third (34 percent) of retail hiring managers who say retaining employees is harder than it was a year ago, say their organizations are increasing workplace flexibility, which includes flexible hours."
When asked to identify the primary cause for coming in late, 27 percent attributed it to traffic, 19 percent cited falling back asleep, 10 percent said a long commute and 6 percent cited getting their kids ready for school or daycare as the main culprit. Other popular reasons included forgetting something at home and having to go back, and feeling sick.
While the majority (69 percent) of retail hiring managers don't typically question the validity of the reasons provided, 31 percent say most of the time they don't believe the excuses.
Retail hiring managers provided the following 10 examples of the most unusual excuses employees offered for arriving late to work:
1. Got left at a party 150 miles away and couldn't find a way home.
2. Mother made him clean his room before he could go to work. (He was 27.)
3. Went out to car and man was sleeping in the backseat.
4. Pet skunk was having seizures.
5. Still intoxicated from the night before and was worried about getting a DUI.
6. Forgot his pants and had to go back to get them.
7. Had to take dog to vet because it swallowed the car keys.
8. Stopped to jump start a stranger's car.
9. Brakes stopped working and then started working again.
10. Forgot it was Monday.
The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of careerbuilder.com among 193 retail employers (employed full time; not self-employed; with at least some involvement in hiring decisions), and 468 retail employees (employed full time; not self-employed; with no involvement in hiring decisions) ages 18 and older within the U.S.