THREE THOUSAND YEAR OLD EGYPTIAN TABLET SHOWS ATTENDANCE RECORD AND ABSENCES AT WORK
Calling the sick to work seems to be an ancient tradition. Whether it's a runny nose or a scorpion sting, sometimes you just can't do it. As a result, ancient Egyptian employers kept records of their employees' vacations in registers recorded on tablets. The tablet is stored in the British Museum and dated to 1250 BC. In other words, it is a wonderful window into the ancient work-life balance. The 40 employees on the list receive credit for each day they are absent for reasons ranging from illness to family obligations.
Known as the Ostracon, this tablet is made of limestone with the new Egyptian hieroglyphs written in red and black ink. The day of the week is indicated by the season and a number (eg "winter 24 April"). That day, a worker named Pennab was out of work because his mother was ill.
Other employees were absent due to their own illnesses. A certain Huinefer often "suffered from the eye." Meanwhile, Sheba is bitten by a scorpion. Some staff also had to take time out to embalm and pack deceased relatives.
Some reasons may sound strange to modern ears. "Beer brewing" is a common excuse. Beer was a daily fortified drink in Egypt and was also associated with gods such as Hathor. Brewing was therefore a very important profession. Delivering stones or helping scribes also took time out of the workers' lives. Another reason is "bleeding in the wife or daughter.”
This is a reference to menstruation. It's clear at this point that you need a man in the rear to pick up the slack. A wife's menstruation is no excuse these days, but it seems that ancient people juggled work and personal life similarly.