For a large number of workers, calling in "sick" doesn't always mean staying at home and fighting a flu bug.

According to a recent survey by Careerbuilder, about a third of 6,800 employees polled said they've used sick time for running errands or relaxing around the house, the Chicago-based based online job board said. A quarter of respondents said they've skipped out on work to catch up on sleep or go to a doctor's appointment. Another 10 percent said they've missed work to avoid facing a boss or colleague.

A separate survey of 3,300 employers also found workers offer a range of creative excuses for taking a day off. One employee cited in the survey said her psychic told her to stay home, while another claimed to have been injured in a bike accident with a turkey.

As a result of odd excuses like these, 31 percent of employers polled said they checked up on absent employees. More than half called missing employees at home, and 17 percent even drove by their homes, the survey found. Nearly 20 percent said they had fired a worker for missing work without a legitimate excuse.

Employers can improve the process by implementing a Paid Time Off system, which gives employees more flexibility in how they categorize time away from the office, according to Rosemary Haefner, Careerbuilder's vice president of Human Resources.

"It's in your best interest to be upfront with your employer and chances are you'll get the time you need," Haefner said in a statement.