It's cold and flu season, meaning that many small business owners have to deal with absences and sick days, preventing entrepreneurs from reaching their financial plan as quickly as they would like. While most of these sick days are legitimate – meaning that employees are very much under the weather – a recent poll reveals that some business owners have caught their workers fudging the truth about why they can't be in the office.

In a poll of 2,200 company managers and 3,100 employees, 25 percent of employers said that they have dealt with a worker who faked their illness, reported. Additionally, 28 percent of employees acknowledged that they've called out sick on at least one occasion before, despite feeling well.

When asked why they took a sick day unnecessarily, 30 percent indicated it was because they didn't feel like going into work on that day. Twenty-nine percent said they did it to take a mental-health day.

Some professions have a higher rate of people calling out sick than others – whether legitimate or made up. More than one-third of workers in the professional and business services industry called out sick within the past 12 months, CareerBuilder reported, with sales employees in second at 34 percent. The workers least likely to call out sick were in leisure and hospitality at 20 percent.

There are those workers who don't feel like they can take a sick day without it affecting their schedule. For example, 53 percent of respondents said that they went to work despite being under the weather, exposing their fellow workers to their germs.

Encourage ill workers to stay home to prevent spread of germs
While productivity is a key part of owning a business, it's more important to ensure that workers are in good health and well-being. Roughly 60 percent of employees say they go to the office even though they're too sick to be working, based on survey data from the National Federation of Independent Business. This is despite the fact that 36 percent of these same employees are aware that their productivity is adversely affected as a result.

Business owners are encouraged to remind their workforce to stay at home if they are, indeed, sick. Flu shots should be recommended and hand sanitizers ought to be used liberally to prevent germs from spreading.