About one-third of all employees who call in sick are faking it, a percentage that has held steady over the years. However, the chances of getting fired for abusing sick-day privileges are falling, down from 18 percent a year ago to 15 percent today, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.com, a jobs site.

The number of U.S. employers who check up on absent workers declined to 29 percent this year from 31 percent last year and 35 percent the year before, the research showed.

However, employers this year are turning the other cheek more than before, metaphorically speaking, because they believe stress and burnout from the challenges and aftershocks of the economic meltdown are playing a role.

Or could it be the revenge of Ferris Bueller?

More likely the latter.