That's coughing, not cheering: Faking sick to watch sports

May 21, 2012 at 8:59 AM ET

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Are these guys supposed to be at work?

The United States has the Super Bowl, the World Series and March Madness, to name a few of the sports events that consume our attention for much of the year.

And yet, it turns out we may not be even close to the most dedicated sports fanatics out there. That is, if you judge dedication by a person’s willingness to skip work in the name of sports.

A new poll finds that Americans are far less likely to call in sick to watch a sports event, or recover from watching one, than people in China, India and other countries.

Harris Interactive surveyed thousands of people in Australia, Canada, China, France, India, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States on behalf of Kronos Inc., which makes technology for human resources operations.

The researchers found that only 11 percent of Americans had called in sick to watch a sports event. Just 7 percent of the nearly 1,200 Americans surveyed had called in sick the day after a sporting event to recover from the excitement.

In China, a whopping 58 percent of respondents had faked a sick day to root for their favorite team. In India, 48 percent had done so. The United Kingdom? Twenty-four percent.

Only France ranked lower than the U.S. among the countries surveyed, with virtually no one admitting to calling in sick to see sports.

The Chinese and Indian respondents were also much more likely to cop to calling in sick the day after a sporting event, with 54 percent and 41 percent, respectively, of those countries’ citizens admitting to taking a sports recovery day.

Even Canadians were slightly more likely than Americans to admit to that practice, with 9 percent saying they had done so.

The results had a lot in common with a more general survey Kronos commissioned last year. In that survey, seven in 10 Chinese workers admitted to faking a sick day for any reason, while fewer than two in 10 French respondents said they had done so. About half of Americans said they'd faked a sick day for any reason.

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