swing the lead

swing the lead {UK} (pretend to be unwell so that you do not have to work; avoid doing one’s work, esp. by making up improbable or deceitful excuses; shirk one's labour; malinger) — увиливать от работы, отлынивать от работы, симулируя болезнь или выдумывая небылицы и т. п.; симулировать, прикидываться больным

Example: John phoned in sick, but I think he is just swinging the lead. He probably wants to watch the tennis final on TV.

Example 2: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with her—she’s just swinging the lead.

Example 3: And that was exactly what the radiologist was doing as he slowly ran his sensor over my stomach. "You've complained of pain in your side?" "Not really, I haven't had any pain at all." A bit of a cheat that, being in here without pain. Still, I'm not swinging the lead , my GP sent me here. Each time I had tried to discharge myself from his surgery, he had reassured me that I was not shamming, there really was something wrong with me. The radiologist was obviously getting good soundings on the right of my stomach, for his sensor was traversing backwards and forwards like a frigate on a sweep with a nice, fat positive response, from a holed-up submarine. "You've got something …?" (Fighting cancer: a personal story. Hitchcock, Raymond.)

throw a sickie (pretend to be ill to take a day off work or school).

sham (to put on the false appearance of; feign)

Example: "shamming insanity to get his tormentors to leave him alone" (John Wain).

malinger - притворяться больным, симулировать болезнь

[skive off]
[pull a fast one]
The lead was a weight at the bottom of a line that sailors used to measure how deep water was when the ship was near land. ‘Swinging the lead’ was thought to be an easy task, and came to mean avoiding hard work.


More examples swing the lead

More examples
swing the lead (British & Australian old-fashioned)
to pretend to be ill so that you do not have to work
(usually in continuous tenses)
And is she genuinely ill or is she just swinging the lead? А она действительно больна или просто симулирует?
I'm sick of having to do the work for my colleague – he's always swinging the lead! - Я устал делать работу за своего сотрудника - он всегда прикидывается больным!