In a new survey by CareerBuilder, cat hiccups, a disgruntled roommate, and a governor's phone call are among this year's most unusual excuses employees gave for being tardy. Sixteen percent of workers reported they arrive late at work once a week or more, up from 15% last year. Twenty-seven percent of workers arrive late to work at least once a month, up from 26% last year.

While employers are more flexible about work schedules and start times today, excessive tardiness can have serious consequences. Over one-third (34%) of employers said they have terminated employees across industries for being late.

Traffic, sleep schedules, and weather conditions are the top three causes for late arrivals to the office, according to workers:

  • Traffic31%
  • Lack of sleep18%
  • Bad weather11%
  • Getting kids to school or daycare8%

Other common reasons for tardiness included public transportation delays, pets, spouses, watching TV, and Internet usage.

When asked for examples of the most outrageous excuses employees provided for being late, hiring managers shared the following:

  • Employee's cat had the hiccups
  • Employee thought she had won the lottery (she didn't)
  • Employee got distracted watching the TODAY show
  • Employee's angry roommate cut the cord on his phone charger, so it didn't charge and his alarm didn't go off
  • Employee believed his commute time should count toward his work hours
  • Employee claimed a fox stole her car keys
  • Employee's leg was trapped between the subway car and the platform (turned out to be true)
  • Employee said he wasn't late because he had no intention of getting to work before 9 am (his start time was 8 am)
  • Employee was late because of a job interview with another firm
  • Employee had to take a personal call from the governor (turned out to be true)

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