Phone in Sick Day
Also known as
Call in Sick Day
World Phone in Sick Day
Decadent Action in 1997
Phone in Sick Day is celebrated as easily as it sounds, but the reasons behind it are more complex. It is a day when people call in sick as a form of protest against longer work hours, less leisure time, and a lower quality of life, and to show their dissatisfaction with the "rat race" of modern life. The day is particularly geared towards the working class, as a way for them to come together and show their economic power, as they otherwise don't have much power individually, being that they work some of the lowest paying jobs.
The day was started by Decadent Action, a now-defunct British group that was a self-proclaimed "consumer terrorist organization." In 1997, they called for a "one-day sickout" in Britain; afterward, they claimed that 2,000 British Airways workers had called in sick. Similarly, after the following year's observance, they claimed that an overwhelming percentage of Irish police and London prison guards stayed home from work on the day.
Phone in Sick Day made its way to America in 1998, when it was announced there by Rtmark, an anti-corporate group based out of California. For the holiday's first handful of years in Europe and America, it was held on April 6. In 2000, the date was changed to May 1 in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and to May 2 in many other countries.
One reason for the switch was to put it near May Day, which is also known as International Workers' Day. It is held on the same day as International Workers' Day in the United States because that holiday is not much celebrated there, even though it stemmed from events that happened there: the fight for the eight-hour day and the events of the Haymarket Affair. Since many other countries around the world observe International Workers' Day, Phone in Sick Day is held a day after it. Observants in those countries take part in the day to be in solidarity with Americans that marked the day before and to show their own concerns.
Another reason for the switch to the May date was because it was closer to summer. Phone in Sick Day is in part focused on leisure, and by this point, it's been so long since summer that many have forgotten what certain types of leisure activities are like. Thankfully, summer is approaching, and many activities that are done during it can be done by early May.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by phoning in sick to work! Nothing else needs to be planned for the day; you can do whatever you please. Since the day is about getting away from the rat race of modern life, you could spend time in nature or doing one of your favorite leisure activities. You could also refuse to buy anything today. Another idea could be to read a book about corporations or corporate power.