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20 Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice
Last Updated: August 28, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Elaine Lou Cartas and by wikiHow staff writer, Dan Hickey . Elaine Lou Cartas is an award-winning Business & Executive Career Coach and the CEO of Elaine Lou Coaching, based in Los Angeles, California. With over 10+ years of professional experience, Elaine guides women of color, and allies, who’ve established themselves in leadership and executive roles to create a holistic life so they can lead without sacrificing their well-being. She was awarded #1 Thought Leader by LA Weekly + Top 5 Business Coaches by Apple News for 2023. Her career advice has also been featured in Fobes, Business Insider, Money Magazine, and LinkedIn News. Elaine is also the host of the Color Your Dreams Podcast (https://elainelou.com/coloryourdreams/). Elaine received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of California, Irvine; and her Master's in Leadership and Management at the University of La Verne. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 562,992 times.
We all feel the need to skip work some days, but what are good excuses to miss work on short notice? If you don’t think you can get away with your usual excuse again, don’t worry—there are a ton of other believable reasons to call off work last minute or leave work early. We’ve put together a handy list of 20 bulletproof excuses to get out of work that will make your boss sympathetic and get you a much-needed day off. If you’re ready for a mid-week day at home, keep scrolling!
Things You Should Know
- Keep it short and sweet by saying you don't feel well. If pressed, say you have a migraine, the flu, food poisoning, or you threw out your back.
- Tell your boss that you have an emergency appointment. This could be for you, or it could be for a "sick" child, spouse, or pet.
- To avoid health-related excuses, say that you're locked out of your car or you have a flat tire.
Email Template and Text Examples to Miss Work
You’re not feeling well.
- “I woke up this morning with an awful sore throat and cough. I’d hate to get anyone else sick, so I won’t be coming in today.”
- “My allergies are horrible today because of the change in weather. I can’t get my symptoms under control, so I need to take a sick day today.”
- “I’ve got terrible menstrual cramps today and can barely move off the couch. Unfortunately I’m not going to make it into work this afternoon.”
You’ve got a sick child to take care of.
- “My son woke up with a fever this morning and I need to take today off to take care of him.”
- “My twins were throwing up all night and I need to be home to monitor them today.”
- “I can’t make it in today. Strep throat has been going around my daughter’s school and it looks like she’s caught it.”
You have a last-minute doctor’s appointment.
- “I’ve been trying to get an appointment for weeks and a slot just opened up for tomorrow, so I’ll need to take the day off.”
- “I woke up with a high fever and had to make a last-minute appointment to get checked out. I’m sorry for the late notice, but I can’t come in to work today.”
- “My doctor’s office called and rescheduled my appointment for this afternoon. Unfortunately I’ll have to leave work early today.”
You’ve got food poisoning.
- “I’ve been up all night with food poisoning and there’s no way I can come into work today.”
- “I think I’ve come down with food poisoning. I can’t keep anything down, so I’m going to have to take today off.”
- “I went out to eat last night and I think I contracted food poisoning. I’m not going to make it to the office today. Hopefully I’ll be recovered by tomorrow.”
You’ve got a dental emergency or appointment.
- “I broke a tooth at breakfast this morning and need to go see a dentist right away.”
- “There was a cancellation at my dentist’s office and my appointment got rescheduled for today, so I won’t make my shift.”
- “I slipped on ice while walking to my car and busted a few teeth. I have to go in for emergency dental surgery and can’t come into work today.”
You’re coping with a migraine.
- “I’ve got a horrible migraine today and there’s no way I can make it through my shift later. I’m going to need to take today off.”
- “I have a migraine today and it hurts to even look at a computer screen. I’m taking a sick day today.”
- “I can’t come in this evening. I’ve had a horrible migraine all day and it doesn’t seem like it’s getting better anytime soon.”
You had a minor accident or injury.
- “I tripped over my son’s Lego spaceship and rolled my ankle. I’m hobbling pretty poorly and need the day off to recover.”
- “I twisted my knee on a run last night and it’s swollen and painful today. I need to go to the doctor to get it checked out, so I need the day off.”
- “I sliced my hand open when I broke a dish this morning. I have to go get stitches and won’t be coming in today.”
You threw out your back.
- “I did something to my back at the gym this morning and can barely move.”
- “I threw out my back yesterday while I was moving some appliances around for my kitchen renovation.”
- “I had to help my daughter move into her dorm yesterday and hurt my back lifting some heavy boxes. I’m gonna need to take a day off to recover.”
You need a mental health day.
- “I’ve been under a lot of stress getting ready for my wedding next week and need a day off to get myself together.”
- “My anxiety has been through the roof this week. I’m taking a personal day today to take care of myself.”
- “Without going into too much detail, I’m in a rough spot mentally and need some time off today.”
You were exposed to Covid.
- “I just found out I was exposed to Covid at a family gathering yesterday. I don’t have symptoms, but will not be coming in until I can get a negative test result.”
- “I was in close contact with someone who has an active Covid infection last night. I will be staying home to quarantine today.”
- “I was exposed to Covid recently. My rapid test was negative, but I can’t come in today since I’m waiting on my PCR results.”
- Double check your company’s Covid policy before using this excuse. You may be required to quarantine for several days or weeks.
You just donated blood.
- “I wasn’t expecting to feel so lightheaded after donating. I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to come in today.”
- “I fainted after my blood donation this morning and need the day to recover.”
- “The nurse who took my blood recommended I stay home today since I felt pretty weak afterwards.”
You have a pet emergency or vet appointment.
- “My cat won’t eat or drink anything and I’m worried about her health. I had to make an emergency vet appointment.”
- “My dog ate something in the trash and is now very sick. I need to stay home today to watch him.”
- “My dog went after a raccoon on our morning walk today and got bitten and scratched. I’m worried about infection so I had to make a last-minute vet appointment.”
You’ve got a family emergency.
- “My father fell this morning and has to go into emergency surgery. I need to be at the hospital with him and can’t make it into work today.”
- “I got a call from my elderly grandma and she sounded completely incoherent. I’ve got to check in on her and won’t be coming in today.”
- “I’m experiencing a family emergency today and need to leave town unexpectedly. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but I can’t come in today.”
You can’t find childcare.
- “My nanny called in sick at the last minute and I can’t find anyone else to watch my daughter.”
- “My son is being sent home from school early today and now I have to go pick him up. I’m going to have to leave the office early today.”
- “My daughter’s daycare class has to quarantine because of a Covid exposure and I couldn’t find a babysitter to watch her today.”
You’ve got out-of-town visitors.
- “My mom is surprising me with a visit tomorrow and I haven’t seen her since before the pandemic. I’m going to need the day off.”
- “My brother is flying into town unexpectedly to deal with a personal emergency and I need to be available to pick him up from O’Hare.”
- “My sister got called into jury duty and I have to watch my nephew all day tomorrow, so I’ll need to take the day off.”
You’re taking care of a household problem.
- “My basement is completely flooded because of that storm last night. I’ve got to stay home today to do damage control and get some repair people in here.”
- “The stairs on my back porch collapsed and the only time a carpenter could come take a look is during my shift today. Unfortunately I’ll need the day off.”
- “A pipe burst in my kitchen and I had to call an emergency plumber. I can’t make it into work today.”
You’re expecting an important delivery.
- “I’m having a new oven delivered and installed tomorrow, so I’ll need to take the day off.”
- “I have to be home tomorrow to sign for an important package from a relative. The delivery window is all day, so I can’t come into work.”
- “My couch delivery is coming sooner than expected and I need to take this afternoon off to be home for it.”
You’re having car trouble.
- “I can’t get my car to start. Unfortunately I can’t make it to work until I figure out what’s wrong.”
- “I got a flat tire on my way to work this morning. I need to take my car in to get a replacement and won’t be coming in today.”
- “I noticed some smoke coming out from under the hood and took my car to the mechanic. It’ll be in the shop all day, so I’ll need the day off.”
You’re locked out of your house or car.
- “I locked my keys in the car while I was warming it up this morning. I can’t leave until my wife gets home with the spare keys.”
- “I’m locked out of my apartment and my roommate is out of town until tomorrow. The locksmith won’t come until this afternoon, so I have to miss work today.”
- “I lost my keys at the gym this morning and can’t get in to change for my shift. I have to wait for my boyfriend to get home and make key copies.”
You’re observing a religious holiday.
- “I will be taking tomorrow off in observance of Yom Kippur.”
- “I can’t come into work on Friday in observance of Diwali.”
- “Work is restricted on Fridays during Ramadan, so I will be leaving early tomorrow.”
- Keep your excuse brief since too many details might begin to sound fabricated. Just state your excuse, apologize for the late notice, and mention you’ll give more information once you have it.  X Research source Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1
- Consider whether your excuse makes more sense if it’s spontaneous (like an injury or car trouble) or if it needs advance notice to make sense (like a religious holiday or an important upcoming delivery). Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 1
- When possible, call your manager instead of texting or emailing. It shows that your excuse is urgent and that you’re taking extra care to alert them as soon as possible. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
- Review your company’s policies about missing work before calling in with an excuse. Too many absences might result in probation or disciplinary action (plus you’ll want to save some sick days for actual illnesses and emergencies). Thanks Helpful 18 Not Helpful 2
- Consistency is key. If you call in sick, avoid posting photos on social media of yourself at a party or on the beach with alcohol. Your employer may see them, leading to truancy dismissal and negative references that can harm future employment. Furthermore, your credibility will be damaged, making it difficult for others to trust you. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.thejub.com/millennial-career-resources/7-best-excuses-not-to-go-to-work
- ↑ https://careersidekick.com/excuses-to-miss-work/
- ↑ https://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/14-good-excuses-to-miss-work-on-short-notice-609876/?singlepage=1
- ↑ https://hqhire.com/reasons-to-miss-work-last-minute/
- ↑ https://thebalancework.com/good-excuses-to-miss-work-on-short-notice/
- ↑ https://www.zippia.com/advice/excuses-to-miss-work/
- ↑ https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/10/package-theft-how-amazon-google-others-are-fighting-porch-pirates.html
- ↑ https://careeremployer.com/miscellaneous/12-excuses-to-miss-work-on-short-notice/
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11 Good Excuses To Miss Work on Short Notice
- Excuses To Miss Work
- Excuse Letter For Absent
- Leave Of Absence Letter
- Long Term Disability Insurance
- What Is A Sabbatical At Work?
- How To Take A Personal Day
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- Day Off Request Email
- Excuses To Leave Work Early
- Doctors Note For Work
Despite your best efforts, there will be days when you have to miss work with little to no notice. Illnesses, accidents, or family emergencies are always legitimate reasons for missing work at the last minute. Just make sure you contact your boss as soon as you can, and don’t overuse these excuses.
Needing an excuse to miss work on short notice happens sometimes. While missing work on short notice can be common, there are good and bad reasons for doing it.
In this article, we’ll cover which excuses for missing work won’t raise any eyebrows, and which are likely to make a bad impression. We’ll also cover how to handle situations when you need to come into work late or leave early, as well as tips for delivering all these messages.
Good short notice excuses include accidents, health issues, and major and minor emergencies.
Contact your boss to let them know you won’t be coming in as quickly as you can.
When possible, try to leave work early or come in late instead of missing the whole day.
11 Good excuses for missing work on short notice
Good excuses for missing work at any time, worst excuses for missing work, good reasons to come in late or leave early, tips for giving an excuse, missing work at the last minute faq, final thoughts.
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Any excuse is usually fine for missing work, as long as you’ve given your supervisor plenty of time to plan for your absence. But when you need a good excuse to miss work last minute, some reasons just won’t cut it.
If you find yourself in a last-minute call out of work situation, here are just the excuses to get out of work:
Accidents. Accidents are the ultimate excuse for getting out of work on short notice because they are, by definition, unpredictable. An accident doesn’t necessarily have to involve you directly, either. A spouse, child, or dependent that needs your help taking care of an accident are all valid excuses for missing work.
Food poisoning. This is an effective excuse because almost everyone can relate to an experience of food poisoning. It’s embarassing, unpleasant, and not the sort of thing that gareners a lot of follow-up questions.
Menstrual cramps. Speaking of excuses that don’t generate a lot of follow-up questions, menstrual cramps are a very good reason for missing work on short notice.
Sick child/spouse/dependent. While everyone thinks about personal illness as their go-to excuse for missing work, an illness in the family is just as good of an excuse. Anyone who’s had to care for a sick child knows that it’s a full-time job.
Injured back. Back pain can come on pretty suddenly, making this a good last-minute excuse for missing work. Whether it’s something brought on by age or an injury from the gym, people can relate to the debilitating pain of a back injury.
You need a mental health day. Depending on your boss, your calendar, and your habits, it can be totally fine to take a mental health day on short notice. People generally understand that everyone just needs a day off once in a while.
Migraine. Migraine headaches can come on suddenly and be debilitating, and they’re a very legitimate reason for calling in sick to work last minute.
Dental emergency. Chipped teeth and cracked crowns are no joke, and they need to be fixed as quickly as possible. Because of this, it’s perfectly acceptable to miss work for a dental emergency.
House maintenance issue. Unexpected household issues such as a burst pipe or a gas leak is a good excuse for missing work. Not only do you need to be home to mitigate any damage, but you also often have to be around to let in the repair person.
Death of a loved one. Finding out a friend or family member has passed away (or is going to soon) is always a good excuse for missing work at the last minute. In fact, many companies have bereavement policies that give you paid days off specifically for these circumstances.
Unexpected circumstances. Whether you got a flat tire or your child’s school flooded and now you need to stay home to watch them, unexpected circumstances are legitimate reasons for missing work at the last minute.
There are a few good reasons for missing work that are always acceptable, whether these things happen as you’re walking out the door or are scheduled ahead of time.
Below are five good excuses for missing work at any time:
Personal illness. If you’re too sick to get out of bed and do your job, or if you have an especially contagious illness, call out. A day away from the office isn’t just for your sake, but for your coworkers’ health and safety as well.
Even if you work remotely, powering through your tasks while sick will slow down your recovery and leave you less effective for a longer period of time.
Unexpected sickness affects everyone, and good managers will include some wiggle room in the schedule to accommodate this.
You may need to schedule a doctor ’s appointment to get a note for your employer that “verifies” you were, in fact, sick. Most employers will only require this sort of thing if you’re out for an extended period of time — not just a day or two.
Keep your employer updated periodically and let them know at the end of the day whether you will be returning or if you need more recovery time at the end of the day.
Family or home emergency. An emergency is, by its very nature, unexpected and urgent. A family emergency can include your child getting sick, a car accident, an elderly family member’s injury, an unexpected surgery, the death of a loved one, or any other urgent family matter.
A home emergency could include a burst pipe, a fire, a broken car, or any other home matter that must be tended to immediately or prevents you from going in. In the case of a family emergency or a home emergency, let your employer know as soon as possible that you’ll need to miss work.
The emergency situations listed above all have varying degrees of seriousness and may require different amounts of time off. For instance, if you are dealing with the death of a loved one, you will need more time off than if you are dealing with a burst water pipe. Whatever you do, don’t make up a fake emergency.
Unexpected circumstances out of your control. Unexpected circumstances includes anything that prevents you from going to work that you couldn’t have known you would need to plan around. Maybe your flight was delayed, the bus broke down, your babysitter never showed up, or any other random occurrence.
Situations where you could have planned around this circumstance – such as your car running out of gas on the highway or your alarm malfunctioning – should be used with extreme caution. It’s understandable if this happens once, but it will reflect poorly on your preparedness if it happens multiple times.
Keep in mind that you may need to work from home in these situations or arrange for some other way of completing your day’s work. Don’t use the “unexpected circumstances” excuse more than a couple of times, as these occurrences are typically quite rare.
Working hard and earning it. After working hard and earning some time may be the only situation where missing work is a positive situation for you and your employer, and it requires a bit of planning and dedication. If you spend extra time working in your week (by coming in early or staying late), you may be able to arrange a day off for yourself .
More important than the time commitment is the result of your efforts. Asking for a random day off after completing a big project that’s the result of a lot of hard work is an acceptable part of most work cultures.
Scheduled appointment. Medical appointments can be difficult to secure and may need to be scheduled during work hours. Professional appointments, such as a meeting with a prospective client, may also need to be scheduled during regular work hours. Both are perfectly legitimate reasons to miss work.
As soon as you schedule your doctor’s or dentist appointment, let your employer know through the appropriate channels that you will need to either leave early or come in late (you won’t be able to miss an entire day for one appointment, typically) on that day.
Similarly, let your employer know once you schedule an outing with a client or other work-related matters (just make sure it’s part of your job, of course). Just be sure whatever you say you’re doing, you are actually planning on doing it. Otherwise, you will be quickly called out.
Bad excuses to miss work can generally considered unprofessional and could even get you fired. Below are some of the worst excuses for missing work to help you avoid using them next time you call out.
Feeling tired. If you are feeling tired due to a sickness or an emergency situation, you should explain these circumstances to your boss as that’s obviously a bit different. However, if you simply got to bed late or are feeling groggy, that’s not a valid or professional reason for missing work.
Hungover. Never tell your boss you’re too hungover to go into work, no matter how “cool” they seem. You knew you had work the next day, and you took the gamble. And you lost that gamble, unfortunately, but you still have to go to work. If you’re really incapacitated, call in with a stomach flu , and maybe make some different choices next time.
Lack of planning. Emergencies and mistakes are understandable, and they happen to everyone. However, if you always find yourself having alarm clock, car, or babysitter emergencies, your employer will see you as an unreliable worker.
“Don’t feel like it.” It’s not likely that you’ll be bold enough to call in and say you don’t feel like coming into work today, but any reason that ultimately amounts to “I don’t feel like it” is questionable. If you are unhappy with your job, it may be time to consider finding a new one or discussing changing your workload.
Forgot. Not coming into work (and, naturally, not calling) because you forgot you were scheduled is going to get you fired unless you’re just starting out and has been hired at your very first part-time job . Keep track of your schedule and always call in if you are going to miss work.
When it comes to coming in late or leaving early, it’s preferable to your employer that you work at least part of your work day rather than none of it, so offering to work a partial day looks better for your professional standing than taking the whole day off.
Below are some good reasons for coming in late or leaving early:
Small emergency. If you are in a small-time emergency (e.g., home repair, car troubles), offer to come into work as soon as the issue is resolved. The situation may not be fixed in time for you to go in, but even making the offer makes you seem more dedicated to the job.
Sickness. If you are a bit ill (but definitely not if you are contagious), offer to come in late or leave early, depending on what you think you can manage. This will likely be received much more warmly by your employer and show that you are willing to push through. Just don’t push yourself too hard or unnecessarily expose your coworkers to your illness.
Appointments. Some circumstances (i.e., appointments) only necessitate missing a half-day of work, so scheduling an appointment strategically could make it so you can come in late or leave early according to your preference. Just make sure you communicate this with your boss as far in advance as possible.
Use the following tips to maintain your professional standing and to make it easier on those you work with when calling out:
Contact your employer as soon as you know you’ll be missing work. The sooner your boss knows you’ll be missing work, the more time they have to plan for your absence . Let them know as soon as possible, and be sure to follow the proper protocol in your workplace for calling off.
Follow company policy. Whatever absence policy your supervisor prefers, adhere to it. Some bosses like to be called, some are fine with an email, and others will require you to inform multiple people, including HR.
Most big companies will have an online portal to request days off, as well as a place to formally document the request and its acceptance.
Don’t lie. It can be tempting, but try to be honest when calling off from work. If you invent an emergency now, you may not have leeway for an actual crisis in the future.
Give necessary details, but not too much. Don’t be too vague, but don’t be too explicit. Simply saying you have a “personal emergency” is likely to be questioned by your employer, but saying you have explosive diarrhea is definitely not necessary. Accurately explain the situation as far as you feel comfortable.
In the case of an ongoing event, provide updates as appropriate. For example, if you come down with the flu, check in each day on your status; if there’s a home emergency, call to let your boss know when the professional arrives and you’re on your way.
Plan for covering your workload. Most importantly, when missing work, you’re going to want to make a plan for how the work you missed will get done. Whether you have a coworker cover your shift or come in early next week, let your boss know you are taking your workload seriously.
How do I tell work I can’t come in?
You tell work you can’t come in by contacting your boss as soon as you know you won’t make it. Ideally, this will be at least a few days in advance, but this isn’t always feasible.
If you wake up too sick to get out of bed, for example, the first thing you should do is call, text, or email your boss (whatever they prefer) to let them know.
How can I miss work without getting fired?
You can miss work without getting fired by having a legitimate (and true) excuse and giving as much notice as possible. If you realize you can’t make it to work because you’re sick, have to take care of a family member, or some other unavoidable reason, contact your boss as soon as you can.
You don’t have to go into detail about what’s going on, but communication is key to staying in your boss’s good graces when you miss work.
In addition, if you can make every effort to help your team cover your responsibilities by coming in late or fielding phone calls and emails from home, that also goes a long way.
How do I stop feeling guilty for taking a sick day?
You can stop feeling guilty for taking a sick day by getting a doctor’s note or reminding yourself that rest is vital to doing your job well. If you’re struggling with strong feelings of guilt over taking a sick day, having a doctor put in writing that you need rest can quickly quell that.
However, this isn’t always practical, so try reminding yourself that you’re helping your team by staying home and getting better. A day or two without you is far better than weeks without you if you get sicker, or weeks of everyone getting sick because you exposed them all.
Do you apologize for calling in sick?
Yes, you should apologize for calling in sick. This doesn’t mean that you should apologize for being sick and taking a day to rest — it means apologizing for any inconvenience your absence may cause.
While you shouldn’t feel bad for taking a sick day, acknowledging that your boss and coworkers will have to cover for you is a courteous and professional thing to do.
If you can, ask if there’s anything you can do to help from home and invite your team to contact you with any questions they may have.
Everyone needs to take an unexpected day off work at some point in their lives. Most supervisors like to get a bit of notice when you’ll be out, but good managers understand that some circumstances don’t allow for advance notice.
Some no-notice reasons are perfectly acceptable, as long as they’re used sparingly. Other excuses might make you look unprepared and unprofessional.
FindLaw – Can My Job Force Me To Work While Sick?
Terry Katz and Associates, P.C. – 8 Acceptable Reasons To Miss Work
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Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.
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12 Best Excuses to Miss Work (Last Minute/Short Notice)
By Biron Clark
Published: November 1, 2023
Writer & Career Coach
If you need to miss work, including on short notice, this article will give you the 12 best excuses to do it. Calling out of work doesn’t need to be difficult, but if you give the wrong reason, it could leave your boss doubting you and could even get you fired in some states. So keep reading for 12 believable excuses for missing work, even at the last minute.
12 Good Excuses to Call Out of Work
1. you’re sick.
Saying that you feel ill is one of the best excuses for missing work. A company/boss will not want you in the office if you’re sick and possibly contagious. Not only that, but since it takes at least a day or two to recover from the typical illness, it’s a surefire way to get out of work for at least one full day (whereas, if you say you have a dentist appointment, your boss is likely to ask, “What time is the appointment, and can you come in after?”) Telling your boss you’re feeling sick is one of the simplest and best ways to miss work on short notice because of the factors above.
Use these sick-day email templates to request the day off hassle-free.
Just be aware if you call in sick that some particularly strict/old-fashioned employers may want a doctor’s note as proof of illness when you return.And if you’ve got a terrible boss or company, they may still pressure you to come in. If you have that concern, or you’ve tried this excuse for missing work in the past and had trouble, keep reading for more ideas…
2. You’re caring for a sick child or family member
Along with calling in sick, there’s another equally good excuse for taking a day or more off: caring for a sick child or family member. These are both valid reasons to miss a day of work and qualify as an emergency that most employers will understand. Saying you need to care for a sick child is one of the best excuses to use at the last minute, including the same day of your work shift. You can simply call and say, “I’m sorry but my child is feeling ill and there’s nobody else who can care for them on such short notice. I’ll need to take a day to handle this emergency and I’ll return to work tomorrow.” Family emergencies happen and most employers will understand and be sympathetic when you call in sick for a medical reason. If you’re not comfortable using health as your reason for calling out of work, then keep reading for more ideas and excuses…
Watch: 12 Good Excuses to Call Out of Work
3. you have a family emergency.
A family emergency is one of the best reasons to call out of work because you usually won’t face many follow-up questions and won’t have to go into too much detail. The typical boss will quickly accept this excuse to miss work without much questioning or doubt. They may not even ask when you’ll be able to return and instead say, “Just let me know if you’re able to come in tomorrow.” However, one downside of using this excuse to miss work is that you’ll almost certainly be asked if the situation has improved once you return to work. Just don’t forget about what you said when you called in sick, so that you’re not caught off-guard when your boss later asks, “How did the family emergency turn out? Is everything okay now?” Otherwise, this is a good, reliable excuse that you can tell your boss to miss work, even on short notice.
4. You have food poisoning
Usually, you don’t want to be too specific when saying you’re sick as an excuse to miss work. You don’t need to fake coughing sounds, be dramatic, or give too many details. However, one extra detail you can provide is to say you think you have food poisoning. This is one of the most legitimate and believable excuses to miss work, especially the day of your shift, since most people understand how serious and unexpected food poisoning can be. So if you need to miss work on short notice and don’t want to face pressure from your boss to come in, this is a good reason that’s almost guaranteed to get you out of work for one day. However, they’ll likely expect you to come in the next day, or at maximum, two days later. So this isn’t a good excuse to use if you’ll need to be missing work for more than two days, but it’s a good reason to miss work for a day.
5. You have a migraine
A migraine is another good excuse for missing a full day of work with only a small chance you’ll be questioned about it, since most managers know how severe migraines can be. And unlike making up another medical issue or saying you have a doctor’s appointment, you won’t have to tell your boss an elaborate story or follow up with lies upon your return to the office. Migraines usually go away eventually, with or without treatment, so you can simply go into work the next day and say, “I’m feeling much better, thank you,” if anyone asks. For the reasons above, a migraine is a good excuse to miss work, especially on short notice. If your boss questions or doubts you at all, just say that you can barely look into the light and that you’re lying down in the dark right now as you make this phone call. If you can barely get up or look at light, employers will know you can’t perform your job. So they’ll likely accept this excuse and simply tell you to return to work as soon as possible.
6. You need to care for a sick pet
Pets also make good reasons to miss work, but this isn’t an excuse you should use regularly. Still, if used only once, it can make a good reason for missing work. To use this excuse, simply let your employer know that your pet isn’t feeling well and that you’re going to need to go to an emergency vet appointment or stay with them while you give them medication.
7. You have a last-minute dentist or doctor’s appointment
Next on our list of excuses to miss work is the doctor or dentist visit. While these reasons will get you out of work on short notice, they might leave your boss asking why you didn’t tell them sooner, and possibly asking for a doctor’s note or other proof of appointment. This depends on your specific employer. Still, the emergency dental or medical issue does come up, and sometimes you notice something that you’re anxious about and want to get checked as soon as possible. So you should be fine saying:
“There’s something I want to get looked at urgently and my doctor/dentist had a last-minute cancellation and offered me an appointment today.”
I’ve had employers in the past where I knew they trusted me completely, and this would be an easy way to get out of work, just like all of the excuses above. However, if you have a less trusting employer and you think they’d ask follow-up questions, then you may be better off using other excuses to call out of work instead of this one.
8. You’re having car trouble
If you rely on your car to get to work, you can say that you’re having car trouble and are waiting for someone to come look at it. However, you may face follow-up questions like, “Can you take a bus? We really need you here today.” This is best if there’s no other way for you to get into the workplace, and if you only need to miss work for one day. After a day, your boss may start pressuring you about finding alternative transportation. Of course, if you have an easy-going boss and a job that can be done from home, they may let you work from home the whole week while your car is getting fixed. It all depends on your boss and specific job, so you’ll need to use your best judgement when deciding whether to use this excuse or another when you call out of work.
9. You have a household problem
You can also say that there’s a house-related issue that requires you to remain home. For example, you could say that you have a leaky water pipe and you need to stay on-hand until the repair person finishes. Or you could say you’re expecting an important delivery and the delivery company said you need to sign for the package in-person today. These are all good reasons why you can’t go to work without you having to bring up health or other personal excuses. So if you’re more comfortable with this route, it’s another acceptable excuse to get out of working. However, one thing to keep in mind here: Your manager may ask you to explain why you didn’t tell them sooner about this. You could say that you let them know as soon as you found out, but just think about if that’s realistic before using this reason to stay home.
10. You have Military Obligations
Serving in the U.S. military is prestigious, even for those in the reserve forces. Employers know that military obligations aren’t simply applicable to active service members and that even those in the reserves, or army veterans, could be called in for duties, such as drilling weekends. This is considered one of the most acceptable reasons to take a day off. In fact, there are even laws in place to deal with this kind of absence.
So in case you need the day off due to these obligations, consider sending in this message:
“I’m sorry I will not be able to make it to work today. I am in the military reserves and have been called in to take part in a drill on short notice. I apologize for the inconvenience, but I hope you understand that I cannot refuse.”
11. You Have a Religious Holiday/Event
Most organizations list diversity as a priority. So if your employers don’t recognize your particular religious holiday, don’t shy away from bringing it up. Your employers will understand. And if they don’t, they’re probably bound by HR policies to respect and accommodate a person’s religious beliefs.
When asking for the day off, try wording it like this:
“Tomorrow is a big day for followers of my religion. To celebrate, there is an event that I’ve just been told I must attend. I know this is very short notice, but I hope you appreciate that my presence is important for my family and me.”
12. You Have House Maintenance Issues
While some house maintenance work, such as cleaning behind the wardrobe, can be left for the weekend, unexpected issues, such as a sudden gas leak or a pipe burst, require more immediate attention. No employer would want to risk putting you or your family in danger by demanding you come in.
An acceptable excuse would sound something like this:
“I can’t make it to work today because I’ve been dealing with a mini-calamity at home. A pipe just burst, flooding half my living room. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but I should stay in today and ensure it’s fixed soon.”
Can You Say You’re Feeling Tired as an Excuse to Miss Work?
While more and more companies are accepting the idea of a mental health day without a specific reason or emergency, this excuse is best if requested one or two days in advance. General tiredness isn’t one of the best reasons for missing work on the day of your shift, since it’ll leave your boss wondering why you didn’t plan ahead and communicate better. I’ve had horrible jobs myself, and I understand having a feeling of panic in the morning when you’re simply overwhelmed and want to call out. However, I recommend using one of the excuses above if you’re going to call out of work last minute. It’s better to take a sick day than a mental health day if giving short notice. Save the personal day or mental health day for when you’re able to request it at least one or two days in advance.
Is it a Bad Sign When You Make Excuses to Miss Work?
Everyone misses work from time to time and it’s not necessarily a bad sign that you need to take an unexpected day off. However, if you fail to inform your employer early enough and cause difficulties such as scheduling issues, then it could leave your boss upset. You shouldn’t feel bad about telling your employer you need a day off with any of the reasons above, but give them as much notice as possible and don’t call out as a common occurrence.
Can You Get Fired for Calling in Sick?
In many states, work is considered to be done “at-will,” which means an employer can technically fire you for calling in sick. Each state provides different rights to employees, though. No matter where you live, it’s unlikely that an employer will fire you for taking one sick day or calling out of work occasionally.
Bad Excuses and Mistakes: What Not to Say When You Call in Sick
If you read everything above, you now have multiple good excuses to miss work. To wrap up, here are a couple of mistakes to avoid and bad reasons for calling out of work. First, you never want to say anything that suggests you failed to plan ahead or that you didn’t let them know promptly. Don’t give a reason that sounds like it’s something you would have known about days before. Always think to yourself about how the excuse sounds before you call in on short notice. Ask yourself, “Does this sound realistic that I’d only be finding out at the last minute?” If not, pick a different excuse to stay home.
The other big mistake to avoid is overexplaining. You don’t need to share every detail when you explain why you can’t come into your job for one day. If you say you have a sick child, you don’t need to share every symptom as proof that they’re not feeling well. If you’re going to say that you’re sick, you don’t need to try to cough on the phone or sound miserable. Just be clear and direct, give the general excuse/reason that you’re going to use to miss work, and then stop talking and see how your boss responds. When you call out of work, it’s often better to say less. Chose one of the reasons from the list above to call out, explain it briefly, and then just stop. Even the best excuses can be ruined by talking too much or continuing to “sell” your story after your boss is probably already okay with it. So stop talking and let them respond once you’ve explained the basics.
An employer isn’t going to sympathize with you if you tell them that you have a splitting headache because you had an extra few drinks the night before. Let’s face it: You knew you had work the following day and decided to go out anyway. Maybe, in this case, it’s better just to call in sick or pop a pill and hope for the best.
Poor planning is not a quality any boss wants to see in their employee. Of course, some emergencies are understandable, but reasons like missing the bus or forgetting to set the alarm aren’t likely to go down well, especially when it happens too often.
Forgot You Had A Shift
Everyone makes mistakes. But forgetting that you had to go to work or had a shift to attend points, once again, to bad planning. Your best bet, in this case, would be to come up with another excuse or apologize profusely.
Conflicts with coworkers can be hard to deal with. But your employer will likely have little patience for you missing work over an interpersonal conflict. Talking things through with your employer or coworker might be a better solution.
Conclusion: Valid Excuses to Miss Work
We all need to get out of work at the last minute sometimes. If you use one of the excuses above and tell your manager briefly and directly that you’re not going to be able to come into work that day, you’ll give yourself the best chance at getting the day off without any suspicion or consequences. To make the process go smoother, call or email your employer as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the last minute if you can help it. And remember to be ready for any follow-up questions when you return to work and see your manager. A follow-up question or two doesn’t mean that your boss is suspicious; it simply means they care enough to check that your situation is better now.
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31 Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice (EXAMPLES)
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The need to take a day off on short notice from work happens to all of us. Life happens, and when it does, we need to take some time to take care of the circumstances that come our way .
Sometimes we may need to go into work later than scheduled, and other times we may need to call out for the entire day. Either way, taking some time off can prevent unnecessary burnout . We can only control so much in our lives… and calling out of work when we have to is one of them.
When you need to take a day off work, especially on short notice, it can cause some anxiety for both you and your employer. In this article, you’ll find good excuses to miss work on short notice and how to deliver those excuses to keep the anxiety levels at bay.
If you need a day off, it’s time to stop procrastinating and borrow from the excuses below to get it done!
Table of Contents
What Constitutes a Good Excuse?
When using a short-notice excuse, you’ll want to weigh your options. Some excuses may cause your boss to raise an eyebrow, while others may be perfectly acceptable despite the inconvenience.
The key to asking for time off, while staying in the good graces of your boss and coworkers, lies in knowing which excuses are appropriate at the time . The last thing you want to do is to make a bad impression at work and potentially stifle or end your career.
While you don't want to be a people pleaser, you do need to be polite while asking for the time off you want and need. Before contacting your boss to ask for a day off, think of their personality and how you can best handle the situation.
Nervous? You can check out this article to help give you the confidence you need to ask your boss for time off work.
A good excuse for calling out of work on short notice is something that requires your immediate attention. If the excuse you use is something that can wait, it may be frowned upon not to give your management a head’s up before actually calling out to attend to it.
Additionally, your goal should be to make sure the excuse is something readily believable . For instance, don’t say your pet is sick if you don’t have a pet.
31 Examples of Good Excuses
The following examples should help you when you miss work on short notice. We’ve included some lines as examples that you may use for each excuse.
Pro tip: It may be helpful to preface each excuse with a sincere phrase, such as:
“I realize this may be inconvenient…”
“I apologize for any inconvenience…”
“I’ve contacted [name of coworker] who is willing to cover my shift while I’m away.”
Words likes these can go a long way to soften the blow when an employee calls out.
Excuse #1: Computer issues if you are working remotely.
Working from home has its own unique challenges, and one of those is when you’re experiencing computer issues. Depending on the difficulty, you may find you need to wait a day or more to have a new computer shipped to your residence.
Before calling out for computer issues, be sure you have re-booted your computer first, as some glitches may be resolved in this way, and your boss may ask if you’ve taken this or other steps, such as calling the help desk, first.
“My computer is not working properly, even after re-booting it.” “My computer is not working properly. I’ve called the help desk and am waiting for a resolution.” “My computer is not working properly, and I’ve been informed that a replacement will arrive tomorrow.”
Excuse #2: A sick child.
With children, you never know when one may wake up feeling unwell or when one may be sent home from school sick. When this occurs, you’ll need an excuse to call out of work.
“My son is experiencing symptoms of a cold and fever, and I need the day off to care for him.” “My daughter has broken her arm, and I need to care for her.” “I’ve been called to pick up my child from school as he is sick, and will need to care for him for the remainder of the day.”
Excuse #3: An accident on the way to work.
Sometimes circumstances cannot be avoided. You may need to call out for a day to take care of business and any injuries you may have incurred.
“I’ve had an accident on the highway and need to rest for the remainder of the day, per the Emergency Department doctor. I’ll provide a note when I return to work.” “I slipped on the ice on my front steps this morning, and I’m waiting to get checked out by the doctor.” “I accidentally cut my hand while slicing vegetables and need to get stitches.”
Excuse #4: Hazardous weather.
We can’t control the weather and some are more comfortable driving in various weather-related conditions than others. Sometimes a company will close whenever there is snow or ice in the forecast, but sometimes not.
It is at the discretion of the employee to determine whether he feels it is safe to drive.
“According to the latest weather report, there are currently blizzard conditions that I’m not comfortable driving in.” “Since the roads are icy this morning, I feel it is too treacherous to drive to work this morning.” “The forecast shows dangerous ice and snow will be on the road before the workday ends today. Therefore, I will be taking a personal day as I don’t feel comfortable risking the drive.”
Excuse #5: A parent is seriously ill.
It’s difficult when our parents are unwell, and especially, as their condition deteriorates. As their children, we want to be there for them and often need to be. For help with writing a letter or absence for family matters, check out this article .
“My mother is not feeling well. I feel it’s best if I took her to get checked out at the hospital.” “My father is in the hospital and the prognosis is dire. I need to be with him.” “Please accept this as a formal reason for my absence today due to my assistance being needed by my mother as she is ill.”
Excuse #6: A mental health day.
Everyone needs a day of self-care to rejuvenate from time to time. Even if you have a career you love, it helps, particularly mentally, to take a mental health day.
While you may not feel that you deserve a day to yourself, or you may feel guilty for taking the time, remember that to be the best you, and the best employee you can be, you need to take care of yourself.
“In an effort to prioritize my mental health, I am requesting to take a mental health day.” “As I’m sure you know, working on XY project has required much overtime. I would like to request a mental health day to help me refresh and be better suited to achieve the same level of effort on my next project as I have on the previous one.” “I’m unable to come to work today due to personal reasons. I hope you’ll understand.”
Excuse #7: Food poisoning.
It can make you feel so miserable you cannot imagine feeling good again. If your body is subjected to food poisoning, you definitely will want to call out of work.
“I believe I’ve eaten something that is not agreeing with me. I need to stay home and heal today.” “I’m not feeling well today and will need to take the day off to recover.” “I’ve scheduled a doctor’s appointment as I’m not feeling well today and will need time to recuperate.”
Excuse #8: That time of the month.
Sometimes the reason for calling out of work is something you may not care to share, as in when you’re miserable because of your menstrual cycle. It can cause a woman to experience abdominal cramps, lower back aches, migraines, and more.
Of course, depending on your relationship with your boss, you may feel comfortable sharing the reason for your calling out. If you need to muster up your courage to use this excuse, we’ve written an article that may help you feel like a warrior.
“I’m not feeling well today. I need to take a sick day.” “It’s that time of the month and I’m not handling it well. I need to take a day to feel better.” “Please accept this request to take a sick day as I am unwell.”
Excuse #9: Recent injury.
If you’ve recently been hurt or hurt yourself and feel you need some time off, even if you’ve recently returned to work after an absence due to the injury, this may be a good excuse to offer.
“I’m having a lot of pain in my foot since the operation and need a day to rest and recover a bit more.” “I slipped and broke my tooth and will need to see the dentist today.” “I need a day off to recover from an injury. I’ll provide a doctor’s note when I return.”
Excuse #10: A last-minute request to participate in a funeral.
Sometimes we cannot anticipate when we’ll be called upon to provide support. You may find yourself in a position to help ease a family’s pain by sharing in their grief at a funeral or memorial service.
“A close friend recently passed and his family has asked me to participate in his funeral arrangements.” “Due to personal reasons, I’ll be unable to come to work today and am requesting to take a personal day.” “I’ve been asked to give the eulogy at a funeral and will need to take some personal time off.”
Excuse #11: A contagious illness.
If you have a disease that you may spread to your coworkers, you'll want to take a sick day, which is the most kind thing you can do to protect them.
“I'm experiencing a fever today and feel it would unnecessarily expose my coworkers if I come into work. Therefore, I am requesting to take a sick day.” “Tests have shown I have the flu and will not be into work today; instead, I'll be taking a sick day and will keep you posted on when I can return.” “I'm currently experiencing pink eye and will be out of the office until it clears up in order not to expose anyone.”
Excuse #12: You've been exposed to a contagious illness.
This has become an acceptable excuse since COVID-19 came upon the scene. If you've been exposed, you may want to check CDC guidelines and follow any recommended quarantine guidance and take some time off if needed.
“I was informed that I've been exposed to COVID-19 and need to be quarantined for x days.” “I've been exposed to x disease. I should be able to return to the office tomorrow per my doctor's advice.” “I've contacted my doctor for testing. I will return to the office once I'm sure I have not acquired the disease I've been exposed to.”
Excuse #13: A fire at your home.
This is definitely one of the good excuses to miss work on short notice, although having a fire at your home is definitely not good. Any manager should understand the need to call out for this excuse which can cause you all kinds of headaches and distress .
“Unfortunately, I had a fire at my home last night and will need to take the day off.” “There was a fire at my home and I will need the day to find a temporary place to stay while cleaning and repairs are being done.” “My home caught fire and, while I'm thankful no one was injured, I will need some time off to take care of things.”
Excuse #14: Your car won’t start.
Oh, the frustration when our cars do not work properly! Sometimes it can be because of the cold or a faulty part. For whatever reason, car problems can leave you without transportation to your job.
“My car would not start this morning and I need to take the day off to get it to the shop and repaired.” “This morning my car failed to start. The mechanic has an opening later today and I need to take time off to transport it and wait for repairs.” “I'm currently waiting for a tow truck to arrive as my car would not start this morning, leaving me without transportation to work.”
Excuse #15: A death in the family.
Sadly, there may come a time when one of your loved ones passes and you need to call out for work unexpectedly.
“We've had a death in our family and I need to take some personal time off.” “Due to the death of my daughter, I will need some personal time off. I'll keep you posted on the arrangements.” “We've had a death in our family and I need to travel to my hometown. Therefore, I'll need to take some time off.”
Excuse #16: Illness or death of a pet.
Sadly, we usually outlive our beloved pets. They are often as dear to us as our family members. Experiencing grief, whether for a person or a pet, is difficult and is a good reason for taking time off work. Also, when our pets are sick, it's understandable that we need to care for them.
“I need some time off to grieve the passing of my sweet pup which I've had for 12 years.” “I have an appointment this morning to take my pet to the veterinarian and will need some unexpected time off.” “I woke up this morning to my favorite cat being sick. I'm waiting to hear back about getting an appointment at the vet's office.”
Excuse #17: A package arriving needs your signature.
This can happen any time of the year but especially during the holidays as we usually send and receive more packages. Some require signatures in order to be delivered and you may need to take some time off to ensure you are home when the package arrives.
“I just received a notification that a delivery requiring a signature is due to be delivered to my residence today. I will need some time off to make sure I'm home during that time.” “I need to be home to sign for a package today. I've ensured coverage for my responsibilities and am requesting a personal day off.” “Please accept this request for a personal day off as I am expecting a package that I must sign for.”
Excuse #18: You need to wait for a repairman.
There are many reasons you might need a repairman at your home. From time to time, something will break that needs attention. Being able to provide a good excuse in order to stay home during these times, is important.
“My refrigerator stopped working this morning and I’ve called a repair service. The window of time includes most of the day so I need to take a personal day in order to be here when the repairman arrives.” “Unfortunately, my heating unit is broken and I need to wait for a HVAC repairman to arrive. Please accept my request to take a personal day off.” “I need to request a personal day off as an electrician is working to get the power restored at my home.”
Excuse #19: An opening at a doctor’s office.
Sometimes it’s difficult to get an appointment when we’d like it. We often end up waiting a month or two or more for certain appointments. When we get a call that someone has canceled and asked if we want the appointment, well, I would jump on it, wouldn’t you? Then, the next step is having to call out of work in order to keep the appointment.
“I finally have an appointment that I’ve tried to secure for a while. I will need some time off to keep it.” “I’d like to take a personal day in order to keep a much-needed appointment.” “I just found out that I have the opportunity to make an appointment for today. I’ll need to take some personal time.”
Excuse #20: Internet outages if you’re working remotely.
Experiencing problems with Wi-Fi and wired connections happen from time to time. When they do, it’s impossible to get work done.
“Our service provider is working on the outage and has not provided an estimated time of completion. Therefore, I will take a personal day since I am unable to complete my work.” “I am requesting a day off as I am unable to work due to an internet outage.” “Please consider this request for a personal day as I have no internet service.”
Excuse #21: You have a migraine. Ouch!
Whenever a migraine hits, it’s often hard to function as the pain can be unbearable. Realize that you can share as much or as little as you want when giving an excuse that deals with your health. Often, it depends on the relationship with your boss and how open you wish to be when sharing your health issues.
“I’m having a migraine today and will be unable to come into work.” “ I’m feeling ill this morning and will need to take a sick day.” “Please know that I am sick and will be unable to come to work today.”
Excuse #22. Dental Emergency
Breaking a tooth or having a filling fall out can be extremely painful and need immediate dental attention. You won't be able to work with the pain. Most people can understand the pain dental emergencies create.
“I broke my tooth when I misjudged at the gym and I need to get to the dentist immediately.” “A filling fell out and the nerves in my tooth are exposed so I need to have it fixed.” “My kid fell and knocked out a tooth and I need to take them to the dentist to have it reattached.”
Excuse #23. Childcare Issues
When you have children, things can happen that leave you without childcare. You can't leave your child alone and finding replacement care isn't always easy. Using this too often, however, can make your employer wonder if you are ready to work.
“My babysitter called off at the last minute and I can't get in touch with anyone as a backup” “My child's daycare is closed today because of plumbing issues, so I need to stay home with my child.” “My mother normally takes care of the baby but she had a medical problem that required she go to the doctor.”
Excuse #24. Public Transportation Issue
Normally, buses are dependable, but things can happen that make them need to interrupt their service. If you depend on them as your sole transportation, you can't help what happens.”
“My bus broke down and we are stranded here waiting for the repair people to come and check it out.” “There was an accident in front of our bus and the driver and all passengers are required to stay here and give our statements to the police.” “The weather is creating at least a two-hour delay on some buses and has caused some routes to be canceled for today.”
Excuse #25. Allergic Reaction
Allergic reactions can be minor or they can be severe. We know what things we are normally allergic to, but sometimes something comes along that causes a surprise reaction.
“I started a new medication and it is causing an allergic reaction that I need to contact my doctor about. He may want to see me.” “I woke up this morning with hives all over my body and need to get them checked out to see what caused the allergic reaction.” “My seasonal allergies are particularly bad today and I need to get some medication and rest.”
Excuse #26. You Witnessed/Were Affected By a Crime
Some people are more likely to witness a crime than others, depending on the kind of environment they live in. Regardless, when you witness a crime, you are not only traumatized but also obligated to talk with any police on the scene.
“I witnessed a robbery at the corner store while waiting for the bus and the police need me to come down to the station to give a statement.” “A neighbor's house was broken into and the neighbor attacked. She came to me for help and I need to stay with her until help arrives and she is taken to safety.” “One of my windows was shot out in a drive-by shooting today and I am too upset to work today. I need to take the day to process what happened.”
Excuse #27. Friend or Family Member is Suicidal
Sometimes you are the one person a friend or family member comes to when they are in a crisis. You can't tell them to hang on until you get home from work; you need to be there until they are in a safe place. The system is often slow as it is overwhelmed and this can take time.
“My friend called and is in a bad place mentally. I need to go as she has attempted suicide before and mentioning it now.” “I've been waiting for a couple of hours now for a crisis representative to come and transport my suicidal friend to the hospital. I can't leave until help comes.” “My friend's roommate called and said he is suicidal and left the apartment. Nobody can find him. I need to go and see if we can locate him and get help.”
Excuse #28. Power Outage (when working from home)
Nobody can predict when there will be a power outage. If you are working from home, this is a major problem. It is even worse if it is during the winter.
“The wind blew a tree down on a power line and the electricity is out on our whole block. They have no clue when it will be on.” “The power is out in this entire area because a transformer blew and the power company is doing its best to get it back on.” “My power went out and this means the furnace is also out. I need to find a place to stay until it is back on.”
Excuse #29. Child or Pet is Missing
You can't think of anything else when you don't know your children or pets are safe. If they happen to run away, you need to take the time to concentrate on finding them.
“My daughter and I had an argument and she left. I haven't been able to find her for several hours and she left her cell phone here.” “My dog slipped past me when I opened the door and I can't find him. I need to look for him because he's never been outside unaccompanied before.” “My cat got out and I can't find him. I need to go out and see if I can locate him and be here should he come home.”
Excuse #30. School Called and Needs You to Go In
Kids aren't always model students and you have to go get them from school. At other times, accidents and illnesses occur unexpectedly and you get called. You can't just leave your child there.
“My son got hurt in gym class and the school nurse wants me to take him to the ER to have his leg checked out.” “My daughter got suspended and I need to go in for a conference and need to bring her home.” “My kid is in the nurse's office complaining of an upset stomach and they have a slight fever. I need to pick them up,”
Excuse #31. Out-of-town Guests Coming in Unexpectedly
Situations happen that require a change of plans. Maybe the person picking up relatives can't make it or maybe this is a last-minute situation. In either case, you don't want to leave them stranded at the airport or train station.
“My son, who is in the military, just surprised me by announcing he is coming in for a three-day leave and I want to pick him up at the airport.” “My sister has a big convention she is attending in town and her ride fell through at the last minute. She called for me to pick her up because I'm the only one she knows in the city.” “My cousin's mother passed and he needs help with picking up relatives at the train station and places for them to stay while in town.”
Final Thoughts on Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice
Whichever excuse fits your circumstances, it’s important to note the value of integrity and respect when calling out of work… especially on short notice. If you are in a toxic work environment where your career could be in jeopardy for requesting the day… you want to be sure to stay in the boss’s good graces by saying just the right thing and ensuring your excuse is believable .
When situations occur that necessitate finding good excuses to miss work on short notice, the examples we’ve shared will help you to successfully make your case and prove your excuse is valid. Good communication in vital for calling out for work… and is just as important as the excuse itself.
Plus, you may earn additional respect from your boss for making the effort to appropriately communicate when you must miss work without much notice, especially if you’re offered a chance to make it right somehow.
Also be sure to express gratitude for their understanding. Doing so never falls on deaf ears.
Finally, if you want to ask better questions, then watch this short, 20-minute course to learn how to have a great conversation with virtually anyone .
34 Best Excuses to Get Out of Work (Or Miss Work)
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Are you looking for excuses to miss work? Needing to get out of work and informing your employer about it can be a tricky process. At times, you might not feel entirely comfortable sharing the truth. And so you need a “white lie” to tell that doesn’t hurt your standing of being a good employee. But also gets you out for the day.
Let’s start with what makes up a good excuse to call out of work and what makes up a bad excuse to call out of work.
Good Excuses vs. Bad Excuses
A good excuse is something believable. And won’t require you to continue to tell a lie over time for your employer to believe it.
For example, a bad excuse to call out of work would be a death in the family (family emergencies). This is a bad excuse to get out of work. Your employer will most likely care about the fact that someone passed away in your family. And will follow up with you regarding it. This means you’ll have to tell more lies in the future, which isn’t great.
A good excuse is relatable, believable, and somewhat honest. It is something that has an expiration on it.
For example, a good excuse would be telling your employer that you simply aren’t feeling well. This can be the best way to get out of work last minute. And even if you needed to take the day off in advance, you could tell your employer that you aren’t feeling well last minute.
If they follow up with you and ask why you don’t sound stuffy or something along those lines. Then explain what type of illness or bug it was and move on.
Best Excuses to Miss Work
Do you want to get out of work last minute? Or call in sick? Here are the best excuses to use and how you might be able to tell them to your employer. And with the COVID-19 pandemic presents new opportunities for excuses. It's advised not to use the pandemic as an opportunity for a work excuse.
Not feeling well
Say something like, “I woke up this morning and didn’t feel well. I’m not sure what’s wrong. But I was hoping I could take a day off today.” Be sure to inform everyone on your team that you’re taking the day off. And move all of your appointments. If you're not feeling well, it's best not to go to work. Take a sick day!
If you aren't sure how to describe why you aren't feeling well, use one of the following:
- Might have a fever.
- You are sluggish.
- About to vomit.
- Can't stand up.
- Have body aches.
- Neck or back pain.
- You are "cloudy" or not in the right mindset to work.
- For 2022: Have symptoms of COVID-19 and need to quarantine.
Family member is in need (family emergency)
Say something like, “My mother needs me for some family matters today. It seems like today would be a good day to take off. If it has to be one of my vacation days, I’m also okay with that.” Be sure you inform all members of your team, as well.
Need to care for your animal
This doesn’t just have to be an animal. It could be that you have a lot of personal appointments, like a dentist's or a veterinarian's appointment.
Bring up that you have a few of these on this day, and it’s better to take the day off.
Say something like, “I have a dentist and veterinarian appointment that I forgot about. They happened to both be on the same day. Is it okay if I use this as a vacation day?”
Mental health day
This isn’t a bad excuse. Most employers and team members will understand. But when you inform everyone about a mental health day, be sure you only express this to your manager or boss vs. your colleagues. Colleagues might not need to know this information. Say, “I’m not feeling myself today. Is it okay if I take a vacation day today?”
What If I Need to Take Off in Advance
Suppose you need to get out of work in the future and know the date. Then you can use a last-minute excuse the day you need to use it. Or decide it’s better to take a vacation or unpaid workday.
Most employers will be okay with a last-minute vacation day. And if you don’t receive vacation days, they’ll be okay with last-minute needs you must address. It's okay to take an escape from your job. And refresh yourself.
Employers have changed their policies dramatically about this. Flexibility is one of the top benefits that Generation-Z and Millennials appreciate in the workforce. This has caused a shift in the workplace. They are making it more common for employees to be seeking time off and last minute flexibility .
The point is, don’t overthink it. The need to take time off is okay. And, understandably, sometimes you don’t need to share the reasoning.
All Excuses to Miss Work
While the list above is some of your best options for missing work, you might need a few more ideas. Here are more ideas and reasons for missing work.
Top excuses when calling off of work
- Doctor's appointment and not being able to reschedule.
- Food poisoning and letting your employer know you need time to recover.
- Jury duty and informing your employer that you'll need to attend by law.
- A sick child and informing your employer that they will be home from school or daycare.
- Flat tire and inform your employer you'd like to work from home or miss today's work. Or general car trouble.
- General car issues and informing your employer you won't be able to attend work.
- Pink eye and inform your employer that you'll need to stay home.
- A car accident.
- Attending the dentist for extended periods during the day.
- Attend the optometrist for extended periods during the day.
- Needing to be part of your church group during the day.
- Needing to be part of your volunteer work during the day.
- Staying at home for cable service.
- Staying at home for a delivery that requires a signature.
- Internet service outages which are preventing you from working from home.
- Attending a veterinarian appointment which could take the entire day.
- Needing to have your computer looked at or serviced.
- Having your car serviced.
All other excuses for missing work
- Needing to travel for extended periods during the day.
- Needing to perform annual accounting, which can take up large portions of your day.
- A general emergency. And when this is the case, you might not need to explain what it is to your boss and mention it is private.
- Running personal errands all day.
- Needing to take a sick leave day.
- A child at home that's feeling ill. And need to address the children's needs.
- Parents or parents who have emergency issues. And need to address those issues.
- Needing to take a personal day.
- Having a "house emergency," including water, heat, air conditioning, or other mechanics.
Excuses to miss work when working remotely
- Having computer trouble.
- Poor internet connection and need assistance.
- Having issues with children at home.
- Needing to go to the doctor's or see a doctor.
- Leaving for the day to donate blood.
- Required to be part of funeral arrangements.
- General pet emergency and needing to go to a vet appointment.
Consider the excuse, first
While all of these are decent reasons or a good excuse for missing work, try to keep them plausible. Keep in mind that your employer may ask for proof. This means a doctor's note from your doctor or a photograph of your car accident from the service agent.
Additionally, it is always better not to lie to your employer to develop better relationships with them. If you can, try not to lie.
It's always best to say that you aren't feeling well versus using a fake reason just for playing hooky. And if you don't feel like you need to miss work. Then you can always suggest working remotely until you feel well enough to return to work in the office.
What to Do After Getting Approval for Taking a Day Off
If you get approval from your manager or boss about taking a day off, don’t forget to inform your team. This can be a way to ensure that you get future days off. And if your day off happens to disrupt the rest of the workplace's productivity. Then your employer might be less willing to give you time off in the future.
The way to handle this is by informing each of your colleagues that you will take the day off. Moving any scheduled meetings that you are leading. Or informing those meetings that you will not be in attendance but will have someone fill in for you instead.
If you are not feeling well, be sure to inform those attending the meeting of that reason. All you have to say is, “I’m moving this meeting because I’m feeling under the weather. And I don’t feel like I’ll be able to create a productive meeting for everyone. Let me know if this alternative time works instead.”
How to Inform Your Manager or Boss (Tell Your Boss)
Choosing the right venue to inform your manager or boss is important. The best time to tell them is as soon as you can. For example, if you know the night before that you aren't feeling well. Or plan not to feel well the next day. Then inform them that night. They won't be available or online at the time, but that's okay.
And if your company uses the instant messaging service Slack . Or any other type of instant messaging service to communicate. Then send your manager or boss a direct message through that. And if you aren't sure they'll be on Slack the next day, email them .
If they don't use any of these tools, you might have to make a phone call early in the morning . Ideally, they don't pick up, and you'll be forced to leave a voice message, which might benefit you anyway.
How to Tell Your Colleagues
As mentioned, informing your colleagues and attendees of meetings is critical to taking the day off. Here's what you'll want to do:
- Contact them on Slack or email (or both).
- Inform them of why you'll take a day off (from the list above).
- Inform them of your plan to catch up with your work the next day. Or anything that they might need to keep up productivity (like someone who can fill in for you).
- Change any meetings that you are planning. Or inform meeting holders that you will not attend due to being out of the office.
- Then propose ways to solve the fact that you will be missing meetings. For example, you have someone fill in for you to take notes. Follow up with the meeting holder, manager, or boss the day you're back to get a recap of what happened in the meeting.
Tip for Calling Out of Work on Short Notice
If you have young kids, pets, or other responsibilities in life, it's a commonplace to have to take a day off of work on short notice. Personal life and work-life balance is essential to preventing burnout in the workplace.
Prevent future problems by following these general tips:
- Keep your excuse simple. Believable excuses are those that are simple to communicate. Too much detail could allude to the fabrication.
- Don't take too many days off in a row or it could reflect poorly on you as an employee.
- Get creative, if the day you want to take off falls on a religious holiday, for example, use that as an excuse.
- Never inform your employer that you must take a day off because of a job search or an interview for another job opportunity.
- If you work remotely, it's acceptable to take a day off if you aren't feeling well or if you are feeling tired.
- Never tell your manager that you have legal concerns or a personal home emergency that shouldn't get shared. Keep your private life private.
- Generally, don't share too many details about the reason for taking off work. Choose your valid reason and stick to that.
Email Example Asking to Take Off Work Last Minute
Here is a short email example asking your manager to take the day off of work due to unforeseen circumstances:
Could I take the day off today? Someone is filling in for me on the meetings today and taking notes. I am not feeling well. I have a fever and just can't seem to stay at the computer for very long.
Apologies that this is last minute, I wanted to get to you as much advance notice as I could. I woke up this morning hoping I would be okay. It turns out I might need the day.
If I need to mark today as a personal illness, please let me know.
Thanks so much,
About the author
Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes , Glassdoor , American Express , Reader's Digest , LiveCareer , Zety , Yahoo , Recruiter.com , SparkHire , SHRM.org , Process.st , FairyGodBoss , HRCI.org , St. Edwards University , NC State University , IBTimes.com , Thrive Global , TMCnet.com , Work It Daily , Workology , Career Guide , MyPerfectResume , College Career Life , The HR Digest , WorkWise , Career Cast , Elite Staffing , Women in HR , All About Careers , Upstart HR , The Street , Monster , The Ladders , Introvert Whisperer , and many more. Find him on LinkedIn .
Fact checked: Our small and dedicated team rigorously evaluates every article, guide, and reference to ensure the information is accurate and factual. Learn more .
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8 Acceptable Reasons To Miss Work
Employers are often understanding when their employees miss time at work due to an unexpected emergency or accident occurs. On the other hand, they might not be so sympathetic when staff members start taking random time off, especially if it occurs on a routine basis.
As an employee of a New York employer, it’s a good idea to know what your employer’s policies are regarding paid, or unpaid, time off. This way, you know how to present your reasoning when requesting to take days (or weeks) off from work.
Updated: Excuses to Call Out of Work during COVID-19
Good Excuses To Miss Work
The following excuses are generally legitimate reasons employers typically accept as short or long-term absences.
1. Car (or Other) Accident
Accidents are unexpected events and usually qualify as legitimate requests for sudden leave, especially if serious injuries are involved. In most instances, bosses will allow time for you to attend to the well-being of your spouse, child or other dependent loved one, along with time to deal with any details associated with the aftermath of an accident.
2. Death of a Loved One
Most employers are sympathetic when it comes to needing time off when a loved one passes away. They understand you’ll need to take time off from work to attend and/or plan the funeral. When a death occurs, it’s important to let your boss know immediately so they can arrange coverage in your absence. Check your employer’s official policy to see how much time off is allowed for bereavement.
3. Personal Illness
Personal illness, especially contagious types, are almost always a valid excuse to take off time off from work. Employers don’t want to find themselves with an epidemic of illness spreading through the workplace because this seriously affects operations and productivity. If more than a couple of days are needed to recover, be prepared, as some employers require a doctor’s note. Employers usually have a set policy as to how many sick days are used before a doctor’s note is requested.
The novel Coronavirus first declared a pandemic in the United States in March 2020, certainly qualifies as a contagious disease. With so much about the respiratory illness not yet known, government and health officials have required anyone with symptoms or who has had exposure to someone with symptoms to self-quarantine for 14 days. Although this requirement is necessary for public safety, we at Terry Katz & Associates understand that two weeks is a long time to miss work. We want to assure you that you have legal rights surrounding COVID-19 at both the federal and state levels.
Excuses to Call Out of Work during COVID-19
A dry cough, fatigue, and fever are the earliest and most common symptoms of COVID-19. While these typically remain mild and go away independently without treatment, they are also highly contagious. It would be best if you planned to stay home from work until your symptoms pass. Keep in mind that your employer has the legal right to require you to submit to coronavirus testing and have a negative result before you can return to work.
Here are some less common and more severe symptoms of COVID-19 that qualify as legitimate reasons to call off work during COVID-19:
- Chest pressure or pain
- Discoloration of toes or fingers
- Loss of voluntary movement or speech
- Loss of sense of taste, smell, or both
- Shortness of breath
Your Legal Rights if You Test Positive or Have Exposure to COVID-19
Under the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act, employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees with a disability. Although federal law does not yet consider coronavirus as a disability, its highly contagious and unknown nature requires flexibility and understanding from the nation’s employers. Unfortunately, some employers have had no choice but to furlough or terminate employees due to the enormous financial implications that COVID-19 has had on businesses.
Assuming you retain your position throughout the pandemic, your employer may offer one or more options as a reasonable accommodation:
- Give you permission to work from home until you’re healthy enough to return to the office.
- Provide you with personal protective equipment to ensure your safety if you directly serve the public in any capacity.
- Offer you the opportunity to take unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), use short-term disability if offered or use your accrued vacation and/or sick time leave to cover the time you miss.
You also have legal protection under New York’s whistleblower laws if your employer attempts to retaliate against you if you report the company for violating coronavirus restrictions.
4. Child’s Illness
Many bosses are parents and understand the urgency of needing to be there for a child. If you have to take time off from work to attend to your child’s illness many employers allow it. However, there are some bosses that aren’t so sympathetic and will only allow a certain amount of time of PTO (paid time off) per year for employees to use in these types of situations. How you choose to use it is up to you. Other employers may designate sick or personal leave that can be used in certain types of illness situations for children.
What you deem an emergency may not be defined the same way by your boss. Generally speaking, a family emergency is an unexpected event that occurs, affecting the health or safety of your family. It could be a sudden illness, injury from an accident, or another devastating event. In some circumstances, you could be eligible for extended leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This law allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid and job-protected leave per year to allow them to take care of an immediate family member (defined as a spouse, child, or parent) who has a serious health condition. FMLA also protects employees so they can take leave if they themselves have a serious health condition. The law also requires employee health benefits to be maintained during the leave.
6. Car Problems
One unfortunate and common problem people can run into during New York commutes are related to car problems or other issues with transportation. A flat tire, dead battery, accident on the road, or a late train can force you to miss work. If it happens once or twice, an employer might overlook it, especially if you are apologetic and go beyond to make up work or find alternate transportation to get to work (even if a bit late). However, if you habitually are late or absent because of transportation, your boss will likely start raising eyebrows and wonder if you’re being truthful.
7. Medical Appointments
In New York, it can be hard to get medical appointments. Bosses usually understand many doctors only are open during regular business hours. Sick time is often an acceptable use of time for medical appointments, however, it’s a good idea to ask your boss if it’s preferable you schedule your appointment for a morning and come in late or for an afternoon and leave early. A little courtesy can go a long way when it comes to scheduling doctor appointments during the workday.
8. Miscellaneous Absences
Some absences don’t fall into any of the above categories but can still be considered as acceptable reasons to miss days (or weeks) from work, depending upon the situation.
- Mental health day if you’re beginning to feel burned out at work
- Special occasions, such as a child’s performance, family reunion, or another special event
- Military obligations, including annual training or monthly drills (there are specific laws regarding this kind of absence)
- House emergency, such as burst pipes or a heating/cooling system issue, occurs
Whatever your reason is for requesting leave, either short-term or for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to be upfront and honest about your situation. Try to estimate how much time you need and be sure to update your supervisor if things change.
Remember, you always want to save any verification you need in the event you need to justify any short or long-term absences due to legitimate excuses. Employers may be suspicious because unfortunately, some employees tend to abuse leave time. You may be requested to provide documentation in some situations to justify your reasons to miss work.
If your employer terminates you for being injured on the job for any justifiable reasons, the experienced attorneys at Terry Katz & Associates can evaluate your situation and determine if you have a case. If you’d like to learn more about New York workers' compensation or would like a free consultation, please contact our office today
It has been many years and so many rejections on from Social Security regarding SSDI.
One month after hiring Terry Katz & Associates, P.C., and the fabulous help of Lawyer Maggie Langdale, Esq., and Paralegal Jenny Pagan, I finally successfully won SSDI.
I am so very grateful Maggie Langdale and Jenny Pagan.
They are truly my Angels.
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Missing Work Excuse Email and Letter Examples
Mary McLain / The Balance
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When Employers Require Excuses
When to send your message.
- Email Excuse Message Examples
- Sample Written Letters With Excuses
What to Include in an Excuse Letter
- Personal Day Off Messages
- Letters Requesting a Leave of Absence
- What to Include in Your Letter
- What Not to Include
When you're required to formally notify your employer in writing when you have either missed work, won't be able to come to work, or would like to take a day off, it's important to write a professional email message or letter with the basic details of why you were or will be absent. Even if you're not required to provide a formal excuse, it's a good idea to send a short email to explain your absence.
Companies may require employees to provide a written letter of excuse or send an email message when they miss time from work for doctor’s appointments or for other reasons. In addition, you may need to request a formal leave of absence in writing. If you're taking a personal day off, you may be required to request that in writing as well.
If you're sending an email to say you won't be in the office today, a brief message should be sufficient to provide your boss with appropriate notice . If you're requesting a leave of absence or other extended time off, however, you will need to provide more detailed information in your request.
Send your message as soon as you know that you will need time away from work.
The more advance notice you can provide, the easier it will be for the company to arrange to cover your workload and the more amenable they will be to granting your request.
These sample letters and email messages with excuses for missing work can and should be edited to fit your own personal circumstances—you shouldn’t simply copy-and-paste them.
Also see below for tips on what—and what not—to include in your request for a leave of absence letter.
Email Excuse Message Examples for Missing Work
- Absence Excuse Email Message
- Doctor Appointment Email Message
- Late for Work Apology Email
- Sick Day Email Message
Sample Written Letters With Excuses for Missing Work
- Absence Excuse Letter
- Apology for Missing Work Letter
- Doctor Appointment Letter
- Formal Excuse Letter
- Sickness Excuse Letter
When you're providing an excuse for missing work, there's no need to provide too much information. Keep your message as simple as possible, but include basic information regarding why you weren't at work, and when you will return.
Sample Email Excuse
Subject: Absence From Work - Your Name
Dear Mr./Mrs. Lastname,
I’m writing to inform you that I was absent from work on June 11, 2021, due to illness. I was unable to report to work that day because I had to go to the urgent care clinic. I was treated and told to go home and rest for the remainder of the day.
Please let me know if you need more information, and thank you for understanding.
What to Include in a Personal Day Off Letter
When you're requesting a personal day off from work, you don't need to provide a reason. Simply request the time off, giving as much notice as possible.
Whenever possible, try to schedule days off when you know the office will be covered and there aren't urgent deadlines to meet.
Personal Day Email Request
Subject: Personal Day - Your Name
I'd like to take a personal day off from work on Monday, July 22.
Please let me know if that's convenient, and I appreciate your consideration. Thank you!
Sample Letters Requesting a Leave of Absence from Work
- Formal Leave of Absence Letter
- Leave of Absence Letter
- Sample Absence Letter - Military Leave
What to Include in a Request for a Leave of Absence Letter
If you find that you need a leave of absence, your employer will expect you to explain why this is so necessary for you. Your absence will both inconvenience them and perhaps cost them time or money if they need to find a temporary replacement for you. Your letter should thus include an adequate reason for your request, supported by the following logistical details:
- The date(s) you won't be available to work.
- The date you will return to work, if you know it.
- An offer to help while you're out of the office, if that's feasible.
- An offer to complete all outstanding projects/client work before your leave begins, if time allows.
- An offer to provide documentation if you are requesting a medical or military leave of absence.
- The email and/or phone number where your employer can contact you if they have a question.
- Any other additional information required by your employer, if they have a formal policy to request sick time or leave from your job.
What Not to Include in an Excuse or Leave Request Letter
Think carefully about how much personal information you want to share with your employer regarding your excuse or request for a leave of absence.
You don’t want your employer to think that you are prevaricating or that your absence may be paving the way for a permanent departure.
The Bottom Line
- Don't include too much information. You don't need to provide all of the details of a medical problem or a personal crisis. Keep your letter short and simple.
- Don't make something up or include any information that can't be verified. Stick to the facts because your employer may ask for a note from your doctor to substantiate your request.
- Do keep it simple. Provide the information your employer requires, but keep your email or letter short and simple.
- Sample Absent Excuse Letters for Missing Work
- Sample Absence Excuse Letters and Emails for Work
- Sample Sickness Excuse Letters and Emails
- Letter Example for Missing Work for a Doctor Appointment
- Good and Bad Excuses for Missing Work
- Sample Absence Letter for Military Leave
- What Are Excused Absences?
- Good (and Bad) Excuses to Leave Work Early
- Sick Day Email Message Examples and Writing Tips
- How to Call in Sick to Work
- Excused Absence From Work
- Absenteeism in the Workplace
- Best and Worst Excuses for Being Late to Work
- Sample Professional Letter Formats
- Sample Email Message Formats for Job Searching
- Sample Apology Letter for Being Late for Work
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Best Excuses for Missing Work With Real-Life Examples
Everyone will occasionally need to miss work for one reason or another. Whether you’re sick, have a family emergency or a planned absence, the best excuses for missing work are honest ones. In this article, you will learn the best excuses for missing work and how to communicate when you need to take time off.
Best accepted excuses for missing work
Here the most popular acceptable excuses for missing work with real-life examples:
Missing work due to illness
A high fever, cough, body chills or nausea are all symptoms that should make you reconsider going in to work. Staying home is sometimes the best thing to let your body recover and prevent your illness from spreading – especially to your coworkers. You should check your company’s sick day policy before requesting off. If you are worried about being contagious but still feel healthy enough to be able to work remotely, you could suggest a work from home day.
Examples of missing work due to illness :
- You have cold or flu-like symptoms. Going to work would risk infecting your coworkers.
- You have a migraine . You are unable to drive to work and concentrate on tasks.
Missing work due to a personal or family emergency
A personal or family emergency is usually something urgent and unexpected that affects you or the health and safety of your loved ones. In the case of a personal or family emergency, you can choose to disclose the reason for missing work or not. It’s best to be honest with your job in case you need to take a more extended absence.
Examples of personal or family emergencies :
- The death of a loved one. If someone close to you has passed away, you may need to attend a wake or funeral or help arrange services. You may also need time off of work to emotionally recover and support loved ones.
- Sick child or child care emergency. If your child is sick and unable to attend their regular day care, you may be able to request off of work to stay home and care for them. You may also need to stay home if your regular nanny is unavailable for the day and you don’t have trusted backup care available for your child.
Missing work due to injury
If you injure yourself and require a visit to the emergency room, you most likely won’t be able to go into work for the day or at least part of the day.
Example of injuries:
- Biking injury. If you bike to work and a parked car opens its door into the bike lane as you’re passing. The collision could leave you with a fractured ankle and requires a hospital stay. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may also need to give your body a day or two to further heal before returning to work.
Missing work due to religious observance
You may occasionally need to take a day off to observe a religious holiday. If you know that you will need certain days off, you should communicate your religious needs to your job in advance. Ideally, you should communicate your religious needs when starting a new position, and remind your supervisor of specific dates you will need to take off or work limited hours. Since these are planned absences, you could also plan to work extra hours or swap shifts with a coworker.
Example of religious observances :
- Ramadan/Eid al-Fitr. This period changes year to year since Ramadan operates on a lunar calendar. Remind your employer and see if you can come up with a modified schedule to work around fasting times.
Missing work due to a home emergency
A burglary, fire or burst pipes in your home all provide excuses for you to take time off of work to handle the situation at home. An emergency at home often requires your full attention.
Example of a home emergency :
- Burst pipes in the home. The unfortunate case of burst pipes can lead to flooding and extensive damage. You may need to stay home during working hours when many repair companies are open to make sure necessary repairs can be done as soon as possible. This will prevent you from missing additional workdays to repair additional damage.
Missing work due to transportation issues
If you commute by car, train or bus, you may not be able to make it to work if you encounter serious transportation issues.
Examples of transportation issues :
- Your car breaks down on your way to work. You will probably need to have your car towed to a mechanic for repairs.
- An emergency with your train line leaves you stranded. Backup options like ride-sharing apps, biking and walking may not be viable options if you live far from work.
Missing work due to a planned medical procedure
You’ll usually need extra time to recover from a medical procedure. Unless you have a medical emergency, you can give your job advanced notice of when your procedure will take place and how much time it will take you to rest and recover. Request a doctor’s note for your job if you need one. It’s also important to take the time your body needs to recover. Consult with your doctor beforehand to give your work an accurate window of how much time you’ll need to take off.
Examples of medical procedures :
- Wisdom teeth removal: This procedure is a major surgery. With no complications, it usually takes people 24 to 48 hours to recover before they can go back to their regular work routine.
- Appendix removal: This procedure takes considerably more time for you to recover, anywhere between one to four weeks.
How to use reasons for missing work to request time off
Follow these steps to use reasons for missing work to request time off:
- Be honest.
- Have a clear, concise reason why you’re missing work.
- Communicate with your boss as soon as possible.
- Give updates if you need to take more time off.
- Communicate directly with coworkers and affected clients about who to contact while you are absent and when you plan to return
- Draft an out of office email with the contact information of the person who is assuming your responsibilities and when you plan to return.
- Prepare to make up for missed work when you return.
Taking the time to notify the right people will show that you’re taking responsibility for your absence, even if the reason you’re missing work is out of your control.
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The Best & Worst Excuses for Missing Work
Sometimes, you just can’t bring yourself to go to work – you might be sick , have an appointment, or just need a break . If your company has a paid time off (PTO) policy, you might not have to give a reason – maybe you just need to give a week’s notice. But, you still feel like you need an excuse for missing work, just in case.
Time Off by the Numbers
Career Builder did some research into excuses for missing work:
- 40% of employees have called in sick in the past year when they weren’t sick.
- 28% of employees have a PTO policy, but still feel the need to share an excuse for missing work.
- Over 33% of employees have come to work sick so they can save their sick days for when they aren’t sick but want a day off.
- 43% of employers have caught an employee lying about being sick by checking their social media accounts.
The Best Excuses
If you’re going to miss work, tell the truth . Even if you’re using a “good” excuse, getting caught in a lie could cost you your job. There’s always a chance that your boss will check on you to see if you’re lying, so play it safe and tell the truth.
If you know you’re going to miss work (for example, if you have a doctor’s appointment), give your boss as much notice as possible. If you’re scheduling your time off, you usually won’t have to give an excuse at all.
If you’re calling in today, you’ll probably have to tell your boss why you’re missing work. But, keep your excuse short and sweet. You don’t need to tell your boss your entire life’s story just to say, “My car broke down, and I can’t find another ride.” The more information you give your boss, the more they’ll think you’re lying, and the better chances you have that they’ll check in on you.
If you do have to give a reason for missing work, what are some of the best reasons?
- You’re experiencing major car problems.
- You have a doctor’s appointment.
- Your kid has a doctor’s appointment.
- You’re sick.
- Your kid is sick.
- A pipe burst, and your house is flooded.
- Your kid’s school closed unexpectedly.
- Your babysitter cancelled, and you can’t find anyone else to watch your kid.
- There’s a death in your family.
- You have food poisoning.
The Worst Excuses
There are also some excuses you should always avoid, even if the excuse is true. CareerBuilder talked to managers who have actually heard some of these excuses:
- A bear is in your yard, and you’re afraid to leave the house.
- You ate the toothpick in your food at a restaurant.
- Your uniform doesn’t fit.
- There’s not enough gas in your car.
- Your dog ate your car keys.
- Your artificial nails fell off, so you have to get a manicure.
- Your roots are showing, and you can’t come in looking like that.
- You got arrested.
- You’re hungover.
- You stubbed your toe.
What’s the weirdest excuse you’ve ever heard for missing work?
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16 Good Excuses To Miss Work On Short Notice
Each one of us needs to miss a day from work. The reason can be an actual sickness, or you want to take a break for a day.
If you are looking to miss work for a day, remember not to use excuses too often. It can make the manager suspicious, and he can catch onto your patterns.
If you recently got into some trouble at work, keep these excuses for some other day.
There’s a list of good excuses to miss work on short notice. The listed reasons aren’t guaranteed and can backfire.
But if used often with confidence, you can be successful .
1. You Have To Consult Your Doctor: – Fake An Illness:
Telling the employer that you have an appointment with your doctor is the most used excuse.
However, for some reason, it works the most. Out of the fear of misstepping, your boss won’t ask you too many questions.
However, it’s a go-to-excuse used by everyone once in their life. A doctor’s appointment is less doubted. But if overused, it can be troubling for you.
For instance, your boss might demand a note from your doctor or any proof. If you occasionally use this excuse, it will work every time.
2. There’s A Case Of Need At Your Home:
It’s a great excuse whose reasons can vary. The emergency can be in the form of a severe accident or a sick parent at home.
This excuse is quite time-sensitive, and you can skip the whole workday or take a mid-day leave.
You’ve to inform your boss that you can’t come to work because of this. Once you return to work, you must have to mention it once not to look fake.
3. A Sick Toddler Is The Best Excuse To Miss Work On Short Notice:
If you have kids at home, you’d agree with this excuse. Because for parents, children are the topmost priority and then comes their work.
So when it comes to kids, it’s valid for a parent to drop everything, even work for them.
You have to mention that your child is sick or he’s coming down due to a fever. So you have to stay at home with your kid or take him to the doctor.
4. You’ve To Take Your Car To Workshop:
Some of the problems in life are unavoidable. Facing car troubles is one of these issues.
It’s a good excuse to say to your employer that your car broke down last night.
Yet, if you’re living in a big city having a transportation system, it’s challenging to use this excuse.
For the people who drive cars, it’s a fact that the car breaks down many times.
However, you don’t need to go in-depth while giving this excuse. Because it happens with most of us and your boss would understand this.
5. A Toothache Hit You Out Of Nowhere – Visiting Dentist:
Like a doctor’s appointment, a dentist’s appointment is a great excuse to miss work. If you tell your manager that you have a toothache and going to a dentist to get it cured.
You might get sympathy, and your boss won’t ask you so many questions.
We all hate toothache, and no one of us wants to go to a dentist. So this excuse, when used, gets sympathy to you.
6. You Are Expecting A Purchase Delivery Is A Good Excuse
An unbelievable number of parcels get stolen daily. And you don’t want it to happen to you.
If it’s a big delivery like furniture, electronics, or jewelry, you don’t want to take a chance.
However, big purchases require your presence to sign for it and get it installed in the home.
The time of delivery is not sure, so you need to be present all day at home. It makes this excuse a great reason to miss work on short notice.
7. You Forgot Your House Keys Inside:
Although it sounds funny, it happens. If you have a slam lock, you might get locked out with your keys inside the home.
Being locked out of the house means you’ll have to wait for a roommate or spouse.
If you’re living alone , you’ll need to call a locksmith to help you out with this. And it can be time taking, might take even the whole day.
So if you don’t have a spare key under the mat, this excuse is a good fit to use.
8. Good Excuses To Miss Work On Short Notice – Your Pet Ate Ball:
If you own a pet , it must have fallen sick one or two times a year. Any pet owner will take their pet to a veterinarian when it gets sick. So is the case with you.
It’s a great excuse, and it works well if you’ve shown the pictures of your pet to your manager before.
This way, he’ll feel a closer relationship with your pet and give you the leave out of sympathy.
9. You Got To Correct The Electricity Issue At Home:
Just like owning a car, to have a house makes you responsible for its maintenance.
It’s not an easy task, and you’ll have to take care of it from any minor issue to fixing the backyard.
Sometimes major issues can occur, and you’ll need professional help to sort them out.
It can be plumbing, electricity issues, or an appliance going out of order.
Your boss will surely understand this because it’s a general issue and can happen to anyone.
10. You Are Facing A Family Problem
This excuse works well if it’s not used too often. Because using it much will cause troubles for your job .
If you have a good relationship with your manager, you’ll be comfortable using this excuse.
You can easily let him know that you have a family problem and need time to deal with it.
If your boss is wise , he won’t ask questions to disturb your personal space.
11. It Is A Good Excuse That You Suffer From Severe Stomachache:
If you got food poisoning and you go to work, you’ll spend the entire day in the restroom. So what’s the point of coming to work?
It means that it’s a useful excuse to miss work. It would help if you told your boss that you went to a popular restaurant and got food poisoning.
He’ll probably give you the day off so you can recover at home.
12. Good Excuses To Miss Work On Short Notice – You Got A Hidden Injury:
Accidents are, unfortunately, a part of life, and these can happen to anyone. If you want to use this excuse, it’s enough to say that an accident occurred.
There’s no need to go into too much detail. It will be sufficient to say that a small accident occurred and you can’t show up to work.
13. You Have To Visit A Friend In Hospital:
It always feels wrong when you have to go to the hospital. Most of the time, going to the hospital is a last-minute decision.
It’s an easy-to-use excuse. You need to tell your boss that you are in the hospital either for a family member or yourself.
So you won’t be able to make it to work that day. However, avoid using this excuse too much because it can doubt your employer.
14. Your Relatives From Another Town Are Visiting You:
To take a day off, tell your manager that some visitors from out of the town are there to visit you.
Being their host, you need to make some arrangements for them at your home. Or you need to take them on a short tour of the city.
In that case, you can miss work, and that’s entirely valid for you.
15. Good Excuses To Miss Work On Short Notice – Weightlifting Gone Wrong:
If you go to the gym, you can tell your boss that you stretched incorrectly. And so you got a sore back.
It needs bed rest to heal from a sore back, so you can’t possibly be at work if you’re in bed.
Tell your manager that you’ll be resting at home soothing your back.
16. There’s A Religious Holiday:
If you’re making an excuse for observing a religious holiday, make it look like a genuine one.
The one in which people can believe that you have to observe a religious event.
You must tell your boss beforehand that you need a day off in respect of observance.
3 Bad Excuses To Miss Work You Should Avoid
Not all excuses to miss work are valid and genuine. Here are some insufficient reasons you must avoid if you don’t want to get in trouble.
1. You Are Unhappy With Your Job
If you use dissatisfaction as an excuse to miss work, you might get your job in danger.
Because it will affect your standing, and you might get terminated.
However, if you’re dissatisfied and tired of your job , arrange a meeting with your boss.
And make him aware of the issues you are facing. When you present your concerns in front of him, he’ll do something to help you.
If you think that things aren’t getting any better, then explore other job options.
2. Feeling Tired Is A Bad Excuse To Miss Work
Although it’s quite uncomfortable to feel tired and it lowers the motivation level. You still can’t say to your manager because he might consider you non-serious.
Instead, it would help if you tried to find the reason behind your tiredness. It maybe because you were up all night or had to take care of a sick child.
Dealing with a family emergency can be another reason. So deal with the reasoning behind instead of venting.
Yet, if you feel tired because of the workload, speak to your boss and ask for fewer responsibilities.
3. Poor Planning Is A Bad Excuse
If you missed a meeting or arrived late and you say that you ran out of gas. That’s a pretty lousy excuse. Even it sounds so unprofessional.
If you make mistakes at work, your boss might forgive you once or two. But if you are a late riser and don’t give a damn to your shift timings . Then things can go worse!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you tell your boss you can't work today.
If you call out of work, inform your manager before so he can arrange your alternative. It won't let your work go missing. Be precise while telling your boss the reason for not showing up.
What Do You Say When You Call In Sick For Anxiety?
You can call your manager and say that your anxiety levels have gone high. And you can't perform well if you go to work that day. You can ask for a day off by saying that you need time to focus on yourself.
Is Anxiety A Valid Reason To Miss Work?
Yes, anxiety and stress are quite valid reasons for missing work. Yet research shows that people are still embarrassed to take a day off for such reasons.
How Do You Ask For A Day Off Last Minute?
Set your expectations early and inform your manager as soon as possible. Make a plan to get your work covered after you come back. Please don't make it a habit to take days off for no reason.
When it comes to using an excuse from any of the above, it depends on believability and confidence.
Make a story for the excuse beforehand and be stick to it. Try to sound this excuse as if things happened.
Call your manager and be calm while stating your excuse. Apologizing for the last-minute notice would be good.
If it’s your first time making an excuse, you shouldn’t get worried much. However, if you have been missing work for some days, you should go to work because no one wants to get their job in danger!
Leave a comment to let us know which excuse you have used before.
Last Updated on 2 years by Assma Riaz
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36 Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice [Remote & On-Site Workers]
Are you a remote or an on-site employee looking for a list of good excuses to miss work on short notice? This article will give you a list of 36 good excuses to miss work last minute for remote as well as on-site workers. Examples will also be provided.
Things to Consider …
Missing work can be a touchy subject, but sometimes there are legitimate reasons for wanting to take a day off. This article will focus on both remote employees as well as on-site workers excuses to call out of work last minute.
Since COVID struck, companies have become extremely lenient about allowing employees who don’t have to be on-site to work remotely. Some workers don’t have the luxury of working from home and have to be at the lunch counter, on the manufacturing floor, at a hotel receptionist desk, or waiting tables.
If your job can be done remotely and your company doesn’t allow any remote working, that might be a good reason for job change . The reality is that there are many companies out there that will allow you to work remotely.
The problem as a remote employee is that you need to have a good enough excuse to not even log into your work computer and actually do work. So the excuse needs to last for the full day unless you are only looking for a valid reason to leave work early .
As an on-site worker if you call out of work, you simply don’t have the ability to do your job at home. So, once you get the OK from your supervisor you are in the clear and have the day off.
Table of Contents
36 Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice
So what are some good excuses to miss work if you’ve just woken up and dread the thought of working?
Check out my list of bulletproof excuses to call off work last minute below.
1. You’re Not Feeling Well – One of the Last-Minute Good Excuses for Missing Work
You woke up not feeling well. This is one of the most common and best excuses to miss work on short notice. Some common examples can be seen below.
- You have the flu and can’t even get out of bed.
- You don’t have any energy and feel really run down and need to sleep. This is one of many good excuses to get out of work on short notice.
- You have really bad menstrual cramps.
2. You’ve Been Exposed to COVID
You just found out in the morning that your friend who you saw the previous night tested positive for COVID. So you have definitely been exposed and run the risk of testing positive in the near future. Make sure you keep your manager abreast of the situation.
COVID exposure is no joke and your company has a policy that if you have been exposed to COVID, you are required to avoid coming into work for three days. Each day you should take a COVID test and, if you have tested negative after three days, you can resume working.
3. Tested Positive for COVID – Another One of the Good Excuses to Call Out of Work
If you can work remotely, the COVID outbreak has led to the luxury of you being able to work from home, even today when most people are vaccinated and boosted. If you have had COVID you understand that for most people it feels like a bad cold and it hits you hard when it comes to your energy level.
As a result, you are constantly lying down or sleeping so you can’t even think of working from home (assuming you can) unless you have an asymptomatic case.
You can’t just call your boss and say “ I have COVID .” Just remember, you will have to prove to your employer that you had COVID and will have to show them a positive test result so this would be a tough one to fake if you truly didn’t have COVID.
If you have proof , testing positive for COVID is one of the most believable reasons to call off work.
4. You Have a Case of Food Poisoning
If you’re looking for good excuses to call off work, this one is a solid one. What is great about it is that you don’t even really have to prove it. An example can be seen below.
You went out to a new restaurant the previous night and woke up during the night feeling terrible. You’ve spent most of the night running to the bathroom so you need to stay home for the day. You simply cannot risk trying to commute into work.
This might be a tough excuse for a remote worker as you should still be able to work as long as your office is close to the bathroom! But, if you play it right, you could tell your boss you need to stay in bed due to dehydration and exhaustion.
Essentially you’re calling out of work for a sick day. It is the perfect reason to do so. Food poisoning is comparable to a stomach bug. Hopefully you only need one day off. Calling in sick is one of the valid reasons to call off work last minute.
5. You Have a Bad Migraine
You historically have had bad migraines in the past. This is typically related to stress at work. Not only could you not even focus on working, a day away from the office should alleviate your stress and help eliminate your migraine. This is one of the believable excuses to ask for a day off work.
6. You Hurt Your Back Exercising
You were working out with weights and tweaked your back. You’ve done this before and you know it takes about a week to fully recover. This might just keep you out of work for multiple days.
If you cannot sit in your home office chair this excuse might be a valid one for a remote worker as well.
7. You Severely Turned an Ankle (Non-Remote Worker Excuse Only)
During a pickup basketball game the previous night, you turned your ankle so badly you thought it was broken. You went to the emergency room and had x-rays taken.
It turns out it’s not broken but you cannot drive for at least until the swelling is down. If you’re a remote worker you can still work since you can sit at your desk in your home office.
8. Computer Crashed (Remote Worker Excuse Only)
You just got the infamous blue screen of death on your computer and are unable to restart it. You’ll have to bring it to a local computer repair shop until it is resolved. As a result, you cannot log on and do your job remotely.
If you’re looking for one of the really good excuses for missing work, this one is certainly one of those. To be honest, it may not be the work excuse you wanted to use because, if it’s true, it’s a real pain in the butt.
9. Family Emergency – One of the Fail-Safe and Best Excuses to Call Out of Work
This excuse is pretty much always a failsafe one. Companies these days are always trying to make their employees happy and will be very lenient with an employee when it comes to any type of family emergency.
You want to ensure that the emergency spans the whole day or more than one day if you are a remote worker. If not, you may have to work part of the day online. For example, some family emergencies are seen below.
- Your mother needs to be brought to the hospital for a barrage of medical tests and various appointments.
- Your son got sick in school and needs to be brought home in the middle of the day.
- Your brother was in a car accident and you need to go to the hospital to await word on his condition. You’ll also be sticking around there until you can visit with him in his room.
10. Home Emergency – One of the Best Excuses to Get out of Work
Out of the blue , you have an emergency at your home. A home emergency is one of the best excuses to get out of work. Severe home issues need to be dealt with immediately. Some common examples are listed below.
- A tree fell on your house from a wind storm and you need to tend to it with your chain saw. It may take all day to clean it up. You will also have to call a carpenter to fix the damage to the house. This is another one of the valid good excuses to call out of work.
- You’ve lost power at your home due to a transformer blew near your home. The whole neighborhood is out of power.
- There is a leak in the water pipes in your basement and the floor is flooded. You need to call a plumber in order to get it resolved. It will take you most of the day to clean up the flooded basement. This is certainly one of the best excuses to call out of work for the day.
11. Death of an Extended Family Member
One of your extended family members passed away unexpectedly. You need to be with your family for at least a day to help set up arrangements for a wake and funeral. An extended family member may not fall under your company’s bereavement policy but there should be no questions asked about this day off.
The death of a loved one is always a trying time for any of us. Even though you have to use it, of all of the good excuses to call out of work, this one is a solid one.
12. Unexpected Circumstances – Many Good Excuses to Get Out of Work
Sometimes it happens and you have to deal with circumstances that are out of your control. Here are some examples of valid work excuses.
- While coming back from your vacation your flight was canceled and you need to stay over in another state until the next day.
- Your vehicle broke down over the weekend but it happened 200 miles from your home. You needed to have it towed to a service station in that area so you need the day off to get it serviced. You also did not bring your laptop with you so you cannot work remotely while waiting for your car.
- Your dog got in a fight with another dog over the weekend and you need to bring it to the veterinarian. It could be an all-day event since you don’t have a prior appointment scheduled.
- Out of the blue your brother is in town on business and you need to spend the day with him.
- Your wife broke a tooth and you need to take her to the dentist. This is a personal emergency with which you need to deal.
13. Childcare Unavailable or Day Care is Closed – One of the More Popular Work Excuses
There was a maintenance issue at your child’s daycare and there is no heat. Your child needs to be kept at home for the day. Your child requires constant care so you won’t be able to work at all remotely that day ( if you are a remote worker ) and you have no other childcare options.
This is one of the ultimate and great excuses to miss work last minute.
14. Funeral of Family Member
You need to attend a funeral for an immediate family member. Most companies allow a minimum of 3 days off due to the death of an immediate family member. This is certainly one of the unquestioned reasons or good excuses to call out of work.
15. You Need a Mental Health Day
You’re going through a lot these days and you need a personal or mental health day to relax and re-energize. Your boss is aware that you’ve been stressed of late so it’s really not a big surprise to him. If your company believes in work-life balance, an excuse of this type is certainly understood and accepted.
16. Jury Duty
You were notified late the previous day you need to attend jury duty the following morning. You’ll be out of work at least for that day and, if you are chosen to be on the jury , it could be for an extended period.
You will have to attend jury duty unless you are not qualified to attend, excused, or exempt. Depending on which state you are in you can request an excuse or a postponement. It may or may not be granted based on the circumstances.
This is certainly one of the exceptionally good excuses for missing work because you have the law on your side.
17. Taking a Personal Day – One of the Legitimate Reasons to Call Off Work
Taking a personal day could be considered similar to a mental health day but you are given a certain amount of personal days at your company. When you woke up you just thought it was one of the better reasons to call off work.
18. Observance of a Religious Holiday
Religious holidays are valid excuses but you must give your supervisor a heads-up. Short notice can be considered a day in advance but you may want to give your boss more time than that in preparation of your day off.
19. Locked Out of Your Car or House
This excuse is a valid one to give to your boss. Possibly you went outside for the paper and the wind shut the door while it was still locked. Your house and car keys are in the house. Instead of breaking a window you need to call a locksmith to get you back into your house.
Another possibility is that you inadvertently left your car keys in your car and locked the door shut. Since you drive a 15 year old car there aren’t any safety measures on the car to prevent that from happening. You need to call AAA or the police to help you get into your car.
20. Car Trouble ( Non-Remote Workers Excuse Only )
Everyone has car trouble every now and then. This is a great last-minute excuse if you aren’t a remote worker. If you are a remote worker you certainly do not need your car to get to work. This excuse is only valid for on-site workers who cannot get to their job.
This excuse might not work for you if you live in an area where there is adequate public transportation though. But if you need to be around for AAA to pick up your car by then it might be too late to get into work.
If you’re a remote worker you might be able to get a few hours off if you need to wait at the service station or dealer for the car to get repaired. That might not even work because most car dealerships have WIFI so you could still work. Bummer…
21. You Cracked a Tooth and Need to Urgently see Your Dentist
You happened to crack one of your molars while inadvertently biting on a chicken bone ( this actually happened to me ) and it exposed the root of the tooth. You are in agony and need to set up an emergency appointment with your dentist. He has to see more patients so it could be a long wait.
22. You Have a Pet Emergency
Your dog isn’t eating and that is quite unusual. You have to bring her to the vet as soon as possible and won’t be able to make it into work today. Pets and their welfare are considered a high priority to any company who touts work-life balance.
23. You have a Sick Child on Your Hands
Your daughter woke up with a fever and needs an appointment with her pediatrician. You’ll probably spend most of the day at the doctor’s office waiting for a spot to open up to see your daughter and prescribe medications.
Having to care for a sick child is always a good excuse to miss work last-minute.
24. Snowstorm or Bad Weather is Predicted ( Non-Remote Workers Only )
You don’t think it makes sense to try to drive into work only to have to leave early to avoid the traffic on the way home. You also need to be home should your child’s school is let out early.
Obviously a remote worker can still do the job so this excuse is for on-site workers only. Sometimes being able to work from home doesn’t pay off!
25. Bad Traffic Problem ( Non-Remote Workers Only )
You checked the morning news and there is no way you will be able to commute into work today. There are major accidents on the highway and that has clogged up the back roads for commuting into work. It makes sense to not even attempt to drive into work today.
Once again this wouldn’t make sense for a remote worker as the daily commute is a thing of the past!
26. Work is Being Done on Your House
You need to be home while work is being done on the house. Here are some examples:
- The plumber is coming to fix a leaky faucet.
- The pipes in your basement are leaking and flooding is occurring on your basement floor.
- Your electrical box needs to be upgraded to the latest building standards as it is a fire hazard according to your electrician.
- Your internet is sporadic and you need to be home for the technician to scope out the problem.
- Your tub and shower is being replaced and you need to be home for the plumber and carpenter to complete the work.
27. Your Wife is Sick and Needs to see a Doctor
You need to do all of the tasks that your wife usually does such as dropping off and picking up your daughter from school. You also may have to bring your wife to the doctor’s office if she isn’t feeling any better as the day drags on.
28. You’ve Lost Power at Home
Since it’s in the middle of winter and you’ve lost power, you need to start up and monitor your gas generator. If you don’t there is a strong possibility your pipes will freeze in the house which could be a major catastrophe.
If this happens during the warmer months you still will need to run the gas generator so your refrigerator can keep your perishable items cold.
29. Need to Pick up Relatives at the Airport
Your parents are in town and you need to pick them up at the airport. You don’t feel right asking them to take a taxi or an Uber to your house. There is no way you can make it into work after taking the trek to and from the airport.
30. Expecting an Important Delivery
There is a monthly delivery of medication that are expected today. You don’t feel right just having them left on the doorstep.
You’ve also heard about packages being stolen randomly in your neighborhood and are concerned about theft. You’re going to take the day off to be there when they arrive.
31. You Slept Right Through the Alarm
This one might sound a little bit suspect to your boss but he knows how hard you’ve been working lately. You’ve been burning the candle at both ends trying to meet an important project deadline.
You really need your sleep today. So you’ve requested to spend the day resting up from all the extra time you’ve been putting in for the company.
32. You Have a Court Appearance
You’ve been a witness to an accident where you were behind the scene of the accident in your car going to work. You saw who caused the accident and have been asked by the insurance company of one of the parties to testify in court.
The court appearance is at 11AM so it doesn’t make any sense to drive into work for the morning only to have to leave to attend the court appearance.
33. Your Child has a Mid-Day School Event
Your daughter is in elementary school and there is a performance she is in that you need to attend. It takes place at noon and there is also a luncheon involved after the performance.
This is a valid excuse as this is a very important school function for your daughter. You vowed never to miss an event of this type. This is an acceptable excuse to call out of work as it falls under work-life balance which is a policy your company supports.
34. Need to Study for Certification
Your job requires you to be certified in a particular software that’s used at your firm. The exam is the day after tomorrow but you need today to be able to focus on the material without being bothered by coworkers. This is a valid last minute excuse to miss work but it is supported by your boss.
35. Community Service | Volunteering
You are known to be one who volunteers to help out at a local soup kitchen. They are short-handed today as some of the other volunteers called in sick. You got called at the last minute to help out for a holiday-related event.
This would definitely be considered a believable excuse to miss work on short notice.
36. Contractor is Coming to Give Estimate
This could be a number of various estimates you are looking to get from a contractor. Here are some examples:
- Estimate on a new roof which is currently leaking.
- Estimate on your house getting painted as you are moving in the near future and need to get this done.
- Quotes on having a new deck built off of your dining room.
- Quotes on having the siding replaced on your home.
- Estimate on replacing your septic tank and leach field.
Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice – A Recap
Being allowed to work remotely is an awesome perk for many reasons such as gas savings, no commute time, and eliminating any wear and tear on your car or truck. But with that perk also comes some drawbacks when it comes to coming up with good excuses to miss work.
Actually if you are a non-remote worker you have a little bit more leeway on excuses to miss work last minute. Since you don’t even have the technology to work from home, once you get approval for the day off, you’re scot free!
The list above will hopefully give you at least a day’s break from working in a g r e y – w a l l e d cubicle . Who knows, maybe you can stretch that excuse a little bit further!
Frequently Asked Questions About Good Excuses for Missing Work on Short Notice
Are there any legal implications of using these good excuses to miss work on short notice.
While there are no specific laws that prohibit employees from using excuses for missing work last minute, it is important to note that employers may have their own policies and procedures in place regarding attendance and absences. You should consult your employee handbook or speak to a Human Resources representative for more details specific to your company.
Employers may require employees to provide documentation or proof of their absence, and repeated absences without proper justification could lead to disciplinary action or even termination.
It is also important to be completely honest and transparent with your employer about the reason for your absence from work, as providing false information could potentially lead to legal consequences.
How can I ensure that my work excuses are believable and won’t damage my reputation at work?
The key to ensuring that your excuse is believable is to be honest and upfront with your employer. If you have a legitimate reason for needing to miss work on short notice, such as a family emergency or illness, communicate this to your employer as soon as possible.
If there is one aspect of your work situation that you have complete control over it’s your reputation . If you have always been a conscientious worker who has no prior history of being delinquent on your job, your work excuses should be believable and not questioned.
Be specific about the reason for your absence and provide any necessary documentation or proof to support your claim. It is also important to show your commitment to your job by offering to make up any missed work or finding a suitable replacement to cover your responsibilities while you are away.
Going that extra mile to work on a weekend or after hours to make up work lost will go a long way in the eyes of your employer, specifically your boss.
What should I do if I need to take time off on short notice frequently?
If you find yourself needing to take time off on short notice frequently, it may be worth considering a more flexible work arrangement, such as remote work or a part-time schedule. You can also explore options for taking advantage of your employer’s leave policies, such as sick leave or personal time off.
Most companies today are very lenient when it comes to work-life balance and will work with you if there are special circumstances associated with your time off requests.
It is important to communicate your needs and concerns with your employer and work together to find a solution that works for both parties. Additionally, consider taking steps to improve your overall health and well-being, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and practicing stress-reducing activities like meditation or exercise, as this can help reduce the need for frequent absences.
What to Read Next:
- 25 Clear-Cut Signs Your Boss is Threatened By You
- How To Make the Workday Go By Faster – 35 Top Tips
- Working in a Cubicle – Everything You Need to Know
- 8 Ergonomic Exercises you MUST Practice at Work Every Day
- Cubicle vs Open Office – What is Better? (Full Comparison)
Bob has been blogging for over 20 years and has been an office and cubicle dweller for more than 35 years. He has been featured in numerous online publications such as US News and World Report , Bustle , and Work Awesome ( you can read his articles here ). He created the popular office website CubicleBliss in January 2011 and rebranded it as WorkspaceBliss in April 2020.
In the office he’s been an IT Manager, Applications Engineer, Systems Analyst, Software Project leader, and Programmer Analyst in his long career. He’s a Certified Microsoft Professional and possesses a Masters of Science degree and two Bachelor of Science degrees, one of those in Informational Technology. During his career he has worked in the office full-time, as a hybrid remote worker, and has worked from home permanently.
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20 Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice That Keep You out of Trouble
By: Author Hiuyan Lam
Posted on Last updated: October 20, 2023
Categories Professional Etiquette
We’ve all been there before. Whether you’re looking to miss work because you have a friend or family member coming to town or you simply need an extra day, for whatever reason, sometimes you just need a handful of good excuses to miss work on short notice.
While it any given scenario can happen to the best of us, the reality is your employer isn’t likely to appreciate you missing work without a good reason.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of twenty good excuses to miss work on short notice.
Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice
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Tips and Cautions for Missing Work on Short Notice
When it comes to using one of these good excuses to miss work on short notice, there are a few tips you should keep in mind:
Be cautious of using excuses too often. You don’t want to miss enough work to give your boss a reason to let you go. Stick to two to three times per year, leaving room for actual sickness and other potential emergencies.
Sometimes, you just need some good excuses to miss work on short notice. A sick day, doctor’s appointment, and family emergencies are some of the common ones.
Consider any of the tips and suggestions from this list. They will help you to skip work for a day or two and not get into too much trouble. Good luck!
Think Fast: Creative Excuses for Missing Work on Short Notice
Navigating the professional world means inevitably facing moments when one needs to miss work on short notice. Whether it’s an unexpected family emergency, a sudden bout of illness, or a situation that simply can’t be sidestepped, presenting a believable excuse to superiors can induce anxiety. Good excuses to miss work on short notice. Yet, life’s unpredictability doesn’t always align with a 9-to-5 schedule.
This guide endeavors not just to provide a list of viable excuses but to also arm you with strategies to address such unforeseen circumstances with grace, ensuring that your professional reputation remains intact even when life throws a curveball.
Believable Excuses for Missing Work on Short Notice
In the ever-demanding realm of professional life, circumstances often arise that may necessitate taking a day off on short notice. Good excuses to miss work on short notice while most employers understand that life can be unpredictable, it’s still crucial to provide a genuine and believable reason for one’s absence.
After all, credibility and trust are fundamental in any working relationship. From sudden health hiccups to pressing personal emergencies, a myriad of reasons can disrupt our usual work routine. Yet, the key is in ensuring your employer comprehends and empathizes with your situation. Let’s explore some of the most commonly accepted reasons for missing work unexpectedly.
1. Health-Related Excuses:
Sudden health issues, while unfortunate, are an inescapable part of life. Migraines , acute stomach ailments, or unexpected allergic reactions are not just valid but often indisputable reasons to miss a day. Even an impromptu visit to the doctor or dentist can be deemed acceptable. After all, health should always be a priority, and most employers recognize and respect this. It’s essential, however, to ensure that such excuses are not overused, as this might raise suspicion.
2. Family or Personal Emergencies:
Life doesn’t always operate on a timetable, and emergencies can occur at the most inconvenient times. A child falling sick at school, a spouse having an accident, or even a sudden death in the family are all credible reasons to miss work. Employers, being humans themselves, often show understanding and compassion in these situations, recognizing that family must come first.
3. Transportation or Weather Issues:
Sometimes, factors beyond our control like a vehicle breakdown, public transport strikes, or extreme weather conditions can disrupt our commute. While these reasons are generally deemed acceptable, especially if they’re widely known issues, it’s always good practice to inform your employer at the earliest and, if possible, offer to work remotely or make up for lost time.
Tips and Tricks for Handling Last-Minute Emergencies
Life has a knack for throwing curveballs, often when least expected. Whether it’s a work-related challenge or a personal crisis, the sudden onset of emergencies can be both stressful and disorienting. Navigating these waters requires foresight, prioritization, and an unwavering presence of mind.
Although we can’t always predict the unexpected, we can certainly prepare for it and handle it with grace. From devising contingency plans to maintaining professionalism during tumultuous times, here’s a comprehensive guide to effectively dealing with those unplanned hiccups in your professional life.
1. How to Plan Ahead for Unexpected Situations:
Planning is your first line of defense against unforeseen challenges. Create an emergency contact list, keeping it accessible at all times. Regularly back up critical work data to avoid any losses. Moreover, familiarize yourself with the company’s protocols for unexpected absences, ensuring you know the steps to take when faced with sudden emergencies. By being proactive, you can mitigate the adverse effects of any unexpected situation.
2. How to Prioritize Your Responsibilities:
When time is of the essence, effective prioritization becomes crucial. Begin by distinguishing between ‘urgent’ and ‘important’ tasks. Understand the potential implications of not completing certain tasks and evaluate if some can be delegated or rescheduled. If missing work, ensure you provide colleagues with essential handovers or guides to cover your responsibilities. By systematically ordering your duties, you can ensure that the most critical aspects are addressed first.
3. How to Stay Calm and Professional in a Crisis:
A calm demeanor can make all the difference during a crisis. Deep breathing exercises can help regulate stress, while keeping a clear mind aids in logical thinking. Always communicate transparently with your employer, explaining the situation concisely. Remember, everyone faces emergencies; it’s the composed and professional handling of these that sets you apart. In moments of chaos, showcasing professionalism can earn you immense respect in the workplace.
Strategies for Avoiding Last-Minute Emergencies
While it’s true that some emergencies are unavoidable, many can be prevented with foresight, planning, and proactive strategies. Balancing our personal and professional lives, mastering time management, and cultivating a robust support network are instrumental in dodging unforeseen predicaments.
It’s essential not only to react appropriately when faced with challenges but also to anticipate them and prepare accordingly. Let’s dive deeper into these strategies, exploring how they can minimize the chances of facing those unwelcome last-minute crises.
1. How to Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance:
Achieving a harmonious equilibrium between work and personal life ensures you’re mentally and physically prepared to handle challenges in both spheres. To do this, establish clear boundaries: designate ‘unplugged’ times, engage in regular exercise, ensure you’re dedicating quality time to loved ones, and prioritize self-care. A balanced life equips you with resilience, making it easier to navigate unexpected hurdles without becoming overwhelmed.
2. How to Manage Your Time Effectively:
Effective time management can be your most powerful weapon against sudden disruptions. Start by setting daily goals, organizing tasks by importance, and avoiding procrastination. Utilize tools like calendars or time management apps to allocate specific blocks of time for each task. By ensuring every minute counts and avoiding the pitfalls of last-minute rushes, you’re better positioned to address any unforeseen challenges head-on.
3. How to Build a Support Network:
Your support network—comprising colleagues, family, friends, or even professional mentors—can be your lifeline during sudden emergencies. Regularly communicate with this network, fostering trust and mutual support. Knowing there’s someone you can rely on, be it for advice, assistance, or even just emotional support, can drastically reduce the stress of unexpected situations, giving you a backup when things don’t go according to plan.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Missing Work on Short Notice
Emergencies happen, and sometimes missing work on short notice is unavoidable. However, the manner in which you handle these situations can significantly impact your professional image and relationship with your employer. While being upfront and responsible is appreciated, some mistakes are commonly committed by employees, potentially tarnishing their reputation.
By recognizing these pitfalls, you can navigate unexpected absences more gracefully, ensuring that both you and your employer remain on good terms. Let’s explore some of the most common missteps to be wary of.
1. Lying or Exaggerating the Truth:
Honesty remains the best policy, even when it comes to missing work. Fabricating or exaggerating reasons for absence might seem tempting, but being caught in a lie can lead to serious trust issues with your employer. Moreover, a simple truth is often more believable and easy to maintain than a fabricated story.
2. Failing to Communicate with Your Employer:
Communication is crucial. Whenever you know you’re going to miss work, it’s essential to inform your employer as soon as possible. This allows them to adjust plans, redistribute tasks, and keep operations running smoothly in your absence. Late or no communication can lead to operational hiccups, putting additional strain on colleagues and superiors.
3. Overusing Excuses or Taking Advantage of the System:
While employers typically understand occasional emergencies, frequently missing work on short notice raises red flags. Consistently providing different reasons for your absence or trying to game the system can lead to doubts regarding your commitment and reliability. Ensure your reasons are genuine and strive for consistency in your work attendance.
Navigating the unpredictable twists and turns of life, especially in the professional realm, requires a blend of foresight, honesty, and adaptability. Unforeseen challenges and emergencies are par for the course, but it’s our response to these situations that sets the tone for our professional relationships.
By embracing a proactive approach, upholding honesty even in the most trying times, and maintaining a steadfast professional demeanor, employees can not only address unexpected challenges but also earn respect and trust. In this ever-evolving world, it’s not just about facing challenges but doing so with grace, understanding, and integrity.
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How can I avoid missing work on short notice in the first place?
Schedule regular check-ins with yourself to assess upcoming work tasks and personal obligations. Prioritize self-care to manage stress.
What are some common mistakes to avoid when missing work on short notice?
Being dishonest or crafting elaborate tales can backfire if caught. Not communicating your absence in a timely manner leaves the team in a lurch.
How can I build a support network to help me in case of emergencies?
Building a dependable support network requires time and effort. Start by cultivating close relationships with colleagues, friends, and family members.
What are some health-related excuses that are believable and acceptable for missing work on short notice?
Common health-related reasons include sudden onsets of migraines, catching the flu, or unexpected medical appointments, especially if they’re for diagnostic tests.
Can I use transportation issues as an excuse for missing work on short notice?
Transportation issues like car breakdowns, flat tires, or public transportation delays due to severe weather conditions are common and often beyond one’s control.
How can I prioritize my responsibilities when I need to miss work on short notice?
Begin by analyzing the urgency and importance of tasks. Can any of them be rescheduled? Can someone else cover for you? Delegate tasks if possible.
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Need to Miss Work on Short Notice? 27 Good Excuses That Bosses Will Understand
Missing work at the last minute can feel as pressured as negotiating a NATO peace treaty.
Whether someone is calling in sick, needing a mental health day, or just “literally can’t” on a given day, there are bulletproof excuses to get out of work and ways to massage the message to the managers.
The words, tone, and channels you use to ask for time off at the last minute are important.
In some cases, you’ve got the power of the law backing you up.
What Type of Excuses Do Bosses Generally Find Acceptable?
1. you just aren’t feeling well. , 2. your kids are sick., 3. you are mentally unprepared for a work day. , 4. you see severe weather is in the forecast., 5. you have aches and pains that are too much to bear. , 6. you have car trouble, new or ongoing, that needs to be handled., 7. you slipped and fell down and need to rest., 8. you have a time-sensitive delivery. , 9. your dental pain has reached an intolerable level. , 10. you have a last-minute guest coming to town., 11. your internet needs troubleshooting., 12. you are experiencing grief. , 13. your spot on a medical waiting list opened up., 14. you need to help a family member. , 15. you have a family member in the hospital., 16. you found a great last-minute travel deal., 17. the power is out or went out. , 18. you were involved in or witnessed a dog attack., 19. you have overwhelming anxiety for no reason., 20. you finally got taylor swift tickets. , 21. you ate something that isn’t agreeing with you. , 22. you completely forget to ask and feel terrible about it. , 23. you had a car accident. , 24. your phone died or is on the fritz., 25. the environment around your home is too loud. , 26. you’ll feel charitable and inclined to help someone. , 27. you don’t have a reason but… be mysterious., 1. “i just don’t feel like it.”, 2. “i’m still out of town.” , 3. “since bob missed yesterday, i’m missing today.” , 4. “i am so hungover.”, 5. “hello, backup boss i’m not coming in today.” , 6. “i had a verbal fight with a colleague and don’t want to see her.” , 7. “here’s an excuse with tons of reasonable doubt.” , 8. “you woke me up, so i’m just going to stay in bed.” , 9. “here’s an elaborate story that i’m making up as i go.” , 10. “i’ll figure out an excuse later.”, final thoughts.
The word “excuse” is a slippery slope. Are you justifying a fault or simply being released from a requirement?
Trying to find the best excuse to miss work can leave an employee with a sense of guilt that makes a day off feel like doomsday.
There’s no magic formula here—the most believable excuses for missing work are the honest, authentic kind.
- Health Issues : Companies are more aware than after post-pandemic that forcing or quilting someone to call in sick can lead to more illness in the office.
- Legally Protected Issues: State laws vary about the use of mental health days, and your company handbook will detail the time-off allotments. FMLA is protected under federal law but requires paperwork in advance.
- Accidents: If you or one of your dependents has been in an accident, your boss likely won’t push back.
- Burnout: Bosses who know good employees are at their wit’s end might be more flexible.
27 Good Excuses To Miss Work On Short Notice
It’s always wise not to “make up an excuse,” but you can take life events and challenges and parlay them into a day off.
Bosses have limitations and latitude as to how they can react to an employee’s last-minute call to take the day off.
COVID taught us that no illness presents the same in each person; bosses don’t want to risk it. You should offer to work from home. Don’t apologize.
“I woke up with a fever and need to rest.”
“I have a sore throat with white patches. I’m going to the doctor and won’t be in today.”
When a child is ill, you’ve been exposed. It’s time to focus on healing and prevention for both of you.
“My child has been vomiting all night. I need to stay home with him.”
“We have a bug going around our house. Out of the utmost caution, I’m staying home.”
School shootings, gun violence, political feuds, and severe weather wear on all of us.
“I’m mentally shaken about the storms that kept us up all night. I am helping with community clean up today.”
“My family needs a day to distance themselves from tragic news. We are all unplugging, and I won’t be available.”
If you’re in a watch or advisory area, take action outside of work.
“The NWS advises this storm could be damaging, and I need to prepare my family today.”
“The winter storm will make road conditions treacherous, and on the advice of the weather experts, I’m staying off the streets.”
The aches in necks and eyes from too much screen time need attention.
“I’m going to the chiropractor to get my spine aligned. I need to rest after that. I’ll be in tomorrow.”
“I have a migraine aura and need to get away from screens and sounds. Please accept this as notice that I won’t be in today.”
You need reliable transportation to get to and from work, so use a day to deal with auto or bicycle issues.
“My car battery died again today. This is inconvenient for everyone. I’m addressing it today and won’t be in the office.”
“We had a rash of car break-ins at my apartment complex, and I’m having a catalytic converter cage added.”
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It just takes a little black ice to turn a step into a slip and fall.
“I fell going to my car just now. I need to lay down the rest of the day and ice my ankle.”
“I saw three people fall today, and I can’t risk that with my knee injury. I will be staying home today.”
You have no control over delivery drivers in a distribution shortage.
“I have a major appliance being delivered between 10 am and 2 pm today. It just makes sense to take the day off.”
“The bug company is coming today to access all corners of my home, and I am required to be home.”
Nobody can focus at work with dental pain, and even breathing can introduce new bacteria.
“I have a tooth infection so bad I can hardly see straight. I will be taking a sick day.”
“The dentist told me this root canal requires me to be in bed for 12 hours afterward. I won’t be available today.”
The pandemic took away much-needed family and friends moments. Don’t feel guilty.
“My 60-year-old aunt can finally leave home, and she just showed up at my door. I’m spending the day with her while I can.”
“It turns out my best friend from college is in town for 24 hours, and we’re going to reconnect after 20 years.”
There are only so many “NO INTERNET” alerts we can handle with shoddy service. Take the day to fix it (finally!).
“My internet is down again this morning, and I know you said it’s frustrating when you can’t reach me. I’ll be unplugged until it is fixed.”
“I am switching internet companies, and it could be a long wait.”
Beyond the leave someone gets when a loved one passes, there are times weeks and months later grief can be overwhelming.
“It’s my mother’s birthday, and I didn’t realize how the first one without her would hit so hard.”
“Today, my grief is overwhelming. I know you said if I ever needed anything to let you know. This is me letting you know.”
Getting into a doctor’s office last minute is like winning the lottery.
“A last-minute cancelation opened for the mammogram. I need to be there and not at work.”
“The new specialist in town for skin cancer has a sudden opening to take care of some issues I have; I hope you’ll understand.”
Family first. That is a full answer.
“My dad can’t use the snowblower anymore at his age. I need to get gas and clear their walkway.”
“My diabetic grandma is having blood sugar spikes today and can’t be left alone. I’m the only family member in town, so I’ll be with her.”
Don’t wait until it’s too late to be there for people in emergency situations.
“My uncle was rushed to the hospital last night with a serious heart issue. I need to head to the ER now.”
“I have a nephew who broke his leg last night, and my sister is freaking out. I have to help them today.”
Finesse this one with your boss if there is a way to make it seem work-related or a milestone event.
“I just got an alert about a $25 train ticket to Springfield for today’s 10 am route. I know we’ve been looking to expand into that area, so I’m going.”
“My boyfriend just surprised me with a trip. I think this might be the big weekend. He feels terrible he didn’t clear it with you.”
A power outage can mean expensive losses if you don’t jump on it.
“The power was out for three hours last night, and I need to check my food since I’m on that strict renal diet.”
“Our neighborhood is without power, and with temperatures this hot, I will lose my food supply. I need to take action.”
It’s a traumatic experience whether a dog attack happens at the dog park or walking around your neighborhood.
“Buddy got bit this morning on our walk, and I need to get him to the vet now.”
“There was a dog attack at the park this morning, and I need to file a witness statement with animal control.”
Generalized anxiety disorder is a real thing, and you can’t control when the attacks happen.
“I’m having an anxiety attack now, and these last a while. I simply can’t come in today.”
“My heart is racing, and I have pain in my chest. I’m sure it’s just anxiety, but I need to get it checked out with my family’s heart history.”
I’m not sure a human in this country wouldn’t realize how big of a deal this is.
“I know this might sound lame, but I just had two tickets to the Detroit Taylor Swift concert fall into my lap. I’ve got to head to the city for the day.”
“I won the radio contest this morning for the Taylor Swift concert, and I won’t make my swing shift tonight.”
Whether it was a binge or a bad slice of sushi, nobody wants to see, hear, or smell it.
“That lobster roll really made my belly snap. I need to be close to a toilet for the next six hours.”
“I promise I’m not hungover, but something in that keg of beer at the professional mixer last night is tearing up my stomach.”
It happens to all of us in this crazy, hectic life.
“This is totally my bad, but I have a hair appointment two hours away and then lunch with my mom. I could’ve sworn I asked for the day off, but now I see I didn’t.”
“I’m on my way to the airport when I saw that meeting pop up. I am so sorry I didn’t tell you about this trip.”
Big crash or fender bender, it doesn’t matter. Injuries likely manifest hours afterward.
“I had a car accident last night in the drive-through, and the more I think about it, the more I want to get seen by urgent care first thing.”
“Did you hear about the big accident on I-80? I was in the middle of that, and I won’t be in today.”
What was once an inconvenience is now the loss of a lifeline.
“My iPhone isn’t holding a charge, and I can’t make my sales calls without it. I need to get this addressed today.”
“My Pixel camera got smashed in my purse, and I can’t make marketing photos without it.”
When we work from home, there’s little control we have over the noise around us.
“There’s pothole construction outside today. They’ve been drilling since 5 am. They’ll be making noise until 4 pm. I’m going to burn a day off.”
“I didn’t realize the roofers would be this loud, even with my office on the lower floor.”
So many tragedies tear at our hearts, and it’s okay to turn a mental health day into a day of action.
“I saw those tornadoes in Missouri, and they need blood badly. I’m going to donate blood.
“You know how you guys joke about my doomsday supply of water? I’m putting it to good use to help wildfire victims get water.”
Some issues can be too much to explain to a boss, especially if you don’t feel comfortable with the relationship.
“I have a personal emergency, and I won’t be in today.”
“I don’t mean to some vague, but there’s a serious issue that just popped up, and only I can address it.”
10 Worst Excuses to Call Out of Work
Taking a day off work should come with mutual respect and genuine empathy on both sides. Follow the cardinal rule of “Don’t be a jerk.”
Take a survey of anyone who feels like going to work today, and maybe one or two people (who weren’t listening to the question) will raise their hands. This reflects more of your work ethic than your need for time off.
You took a trip to Aspen in winter with a flight that landed an hour before your shift starts? That’s bad planning and reflects on your organizational skills more than your Black Diamond run skills.
When you’re keeping score with colleagues, you’re showing the wrong kind of competitive edge. You don’t know Bob’s situation from the day before and should be supportive, not trying to even the score.
If you want to rage on a Wednesday night, fine. But have some self-discipline to keep it manageable so you can do your job. Your boss wants an ace, not a potential alcoholic.
Don’t use your boss’s absence to mean you shouldn’t have to show up and perform. It shows disrespect to your middle managers and will definitely get back to the bigwigs.
This shows you have no conflict resolution skills and tells your colleague who’s the real alpha dog of the office. Go in and face it or avoid it; just show up.
Don’t say someone died, that you tested positive for COVID, or you have an emergency when you don’t. Chances are your social media prowess will give you away. If you’ve made it clear you only have one aunt, and three have now died, that’s suspicious.
The main thing you have to do in the morning is wake up. If you can’t get that together, how are you going to focus on the other things you need to do?
Your boss will know all your strengths and weaknesses, so when you drone on about the ghost that could’ve been a prowler, and you stubbed your toe, but now it’s swollen, and you can’t walk, but you’re going to walk to the pharmacy to get meds… you’re boss will call B.S.
Ghosting work is unprofessional and causes unnecessary panic among your teammates. If you’re brave enough to ditch work, at least come up with a lame excuse.
What If You Lie About Your Excuses to Get Out of Work Last Minute?
Do you want to be lied to about a possible raise coming? A bonus potential in the works? No. So don’t do that to your employer.
- Company Handbook: The bible of your business will detail what is allowed for sick time or PTO. You’ll be held accountable for that.
- Trust Erodes: If your boss can’t trust you to show up on time, why would they trust you with a promotion?
- Employee File: Even if nobody lets on, your employee file is growing with notes of absences, legit or not.
- Colleague Conflicts: So you stuck it to your boss, but your colleagues picked up the slack… again.
Getting time off work at the last minute starts long before building your reputation as a reliable and trusted worker. The more your boss sees your benefit, the more latitude you’ll have when it’s time for a day off or you’re not feeling well.
- Self Improvement
15 Best And Believable Excuses For Missing Work For a Day
If you want to know what are some good excuses for missing work, you’ll love this article.
Do you need a way how to tell your employer that you need to one day off from work? Here is a list of valid excuses you can use. Just keep in mind that it is better be honest rather than creating an alibi.
Your workplace is where you have built a good reputation. It is better to avoid creating opportunities that will compromise integrity and job status.
Given all these reminders, but you are still in a situation that you need to be off from work; then you can check out these types of excuses that your employer will pass off as true.
Believable Excuses For Missing Work
1. appointment with a clinic.
You have to consult with a gynecologist but the specialist that you need to see requires an entire day for the consultation. You can also tell that you are going for dental appointment and having your dentures made.
2. House Problems Excuses
Your kitchen is temporarily flooded at the moment and you are calling because you cannot come for work. You are waiting for the plumber to arrive and fix your kitchen pipes. The situation is not possible for your neighbors to keep an eye on so you are waiting till the maintenance work is done.
3. Your babysitter failed to show up
You are unable to come to work because the babysitter was sick for the day. There are no relatives to temporarily take care of the baby. Your husband can’t fill in as his work is in the other side of town. Your boss might be disappointed because of the deadlines to meet but you can’t work with infant in the office either.
SEE ALSO: How To Negotiate a Higher Salary: Top 15 Salary Negotiations Tips
4. Family Excuses
Someone among your relatives died and you have to go to your hometown for the burial to offer your comfort to the clan. This excuse may be valid for a two–three day absence. You can also tell that your grandfather wants to see you suddenly because of an inheritance, but you have to go home to the countryside.
The possibilities are actually endless.
5. It is Child-Parent Consultation Day at your daughter’s school
Schools are believable excuses because every other employee has a child attending an elementary or kindergarten school. Just make sure your child’s teacher does not know your boss to make sure your cover is safe.
6. You have a digestion problem
Loose bowel movement is a totally awesome excuse because you are compelled to frequent the toilet for hours. Your supervisor will not want you disrupting the department with your tummy problem.
7. Jury Duty
Make use of your jury duty as an excuse to call off from work. If you agree to participate as a jury, you will be given a proof of serving from court that you can submit to your employer or supervisor. Note that employers may know that your jury duty does not last for 8 hours.
8. There are mental health days
Mental health days are classified under unprecedented absences and are called as Personal Days ( 1 ). An employee may phone his/her office to get away from stress and pressure.
9. Emergency Illness
When you want to use this as an excuse for absence, you need to produce a health certificate that you have been confined for days or at least were required to rest for a few days to recuperate. Going down with flu with severe coughing is a commonly used.
SEE ALSO: How To Have Difficult Conversations At Work: 10 [Amazing] Tips
10. You are part of wedding entourage
This is great if the wedding is out of town, or where you are going is located somewhere else. It would be quite embarrassing to bump into your boss into the local supermarket during the “wedding day”. You need to ask for leave in advance so as to not to disrupt your work schedule.
11. You are moving house
If you are renting a bed space, and you are sharing a room with four others, this may be a valid excuse. Most accommodations that are for rent are constantly being renovated so tenants are requested to evacuate to another room or flat.
You can tell your employer that you have been asked to vacate the room and transfer your belongings to another floor in the building.
12. You need to renew or rectify details in your passport and other IDs
What you can do is show up at the office very early as if you are going for the appointment. They will assume that you are going to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to have your passport done. Be ready to present any proof that you have been there just in case.
13. Strict Health Policies
If you are employed in Food Service Company in UK, you might want to make use the chance of getting sick to get a few days off ( 2 ).
Their health regulations are very strict such that if you get sick of diarrhea; or vomited because of something, you will be need to stay off from work for three days depending on the severity of your condition.
The downside of this is you may not indispensable that you may be easily replaced. Treasure your job and don’t abuse those kinds of company policies. Also check first whether your salary may be impacted with your absence.
14. Adverse weather conditions
This is quite an understandable excuse, especially when it’s a hurricane, or a storm, or there is flooding in your area. Your family’s safety is important as well as your own. Employers may even announce the day off when the weather is too bad.
15. Your parent/parents are coming from another state and you have to fetch them from the airport.
Your filial relationship will finally pay off through this. Take some home-baked pudding or pie as a present to your boss, specially made by your mom.
Frequent excuses from work is your subconscious mind telling you that you want another job.
Assess yourself whether you are happy with what you are doing or would want a change of work.
Thank you for reading this article about excuses for missing work, and I really hope that you take action my advice.
I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.
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- Terms and Conditions
Good Excuse for Missing Work: 40 Best Reasons You Can Use Last Minute to Call Off Work
Forming up the perfect excuse to get off work is a tad bit difficult for most employees. Falling ill or feeling tired are no longer excuses to call out of work. You need a valid reason to convince your employee to stay off work.
Therefore, "whats a good excuse for missing work?" Let us help. We have a comprehensive list of believable excuses for missing work.
However, you can practice your good excuses to call off work last minute to be prepared when someone snoops around on a busy day. We highly recommend using this list of 40 bulletproof excuses to get out of work.
What are Legitimate Reasons for Missing?
Getting a day's rest is all an employer can pray for while at work. Whether it's for a doctor's appointment or just a mental health day, sometimes there's nothing better than calling in sick to work.
However, when you're in the office every day and can't remember the last time you missed a shift, that can be easier said than done.
The good news is that you can easily get your day off. Depending on your situation, your boss might buy any of these reasons when you call in sick last minute.
What is a Good Last Minute Excuse?
The holidays are stressful. You might want to call in sick to work and relax at home. But what should you say? Here are 40 reasons to call out of work:
- You don't have any sick days left
This is a good excuse for intermittent or habitual fake sick days, but you should use it sparingly. It may not be believable if you have used this excuse multiple times already or have only worked at the company for a short time.
- Your stomach is upset
Almost everyone has experienced this one before. You can claim you ate something bad or that you generally feel nauseous and need some rest. Be sure to avoid mentioning food poisoning as the cause, as your boss might suggest going to see a doctor or getting some medicine before coming back to work.
While this excuse can be credible, it also comes with complications. You may have to pretend to sneeze and cough a lot when you return to work.
- Your car won't start
This excuse works exceptionally well during winter when temperatures are low.
- I had a car accident
This is the best excuse to call off work, and you will even get sympathy with this one. However, when giving this excuse, make sure you act distressed when talking about it.
Most bosses don't want their employees bringing sicknesses in the office, so this is an excellent reason why you should stay home from work.
- My son/daughter is sick, and I need to care for them
This is an excellent reason for those with small children at home because no employer would want an employee bringing their sick kids to the office.
- Emergency at home
You have an emergency at home, such as a leaky pipe or broken window or other situation where you need professional help.
- You have a sick family member
If you have a sick family member, this can be a perfect reason to stay away from your work desk. Since you likely don't want to call off an appointment unless necessary, it's best to save this excuse as a last resort.
- My house caught on fire
After coming home from work one day, an employee decided to make dinner. While he was cooking, his kitchen caught on fire, causing him to miss work the next day.
- You have a dental emergency
If you ever have a toothache or gum problem that prevents you from eating, this is an excellent excuse to get the rest of the day to relax.
- Doctor's appointment
This is one reason that your boss probably won't question. Just make sure you have an appointment scheduled before using this excuse.
Pets get sick, too, and sometimes they need immediate care from a vet. Just make sure that the pet hasn't already been treated by your veterinarian recently before using this excuse.
- Car trouble
This is another valid reason to miss work without raising suspicion. Make sure that whatever car problem you have wasn't caused by neglect on your part, though.
- You took too much cold medicine
Over-the-counter cold medicine can make some people tired, and if you take too much, it can make it hard to concentrate on your job.
A cough is one of those things that everyone has, so it's not too suspicious when you call off because of it.
- Sleeping in
This only works if you live alone or your roommate is willing to cover for you. Call out as soon as possible and let them know that you just overslept.
- I'm caught in traffic (or my train/bus is delayed)
This is a great excuse for higher-ups who aren't familiar with your commute — if you live in an area without much public transportation.
- You're having a mental breakdown
Mental health is a serious cause to skip work and seek professional help. Your boss will probably wish you all the best while recovering.
- You've been kidnapped
No one wants to be kidnapped, but you should stay home from work if it happens.
What is a good last-minute excuse?
This is a list of the 20 best reasons you can use the last minute to call off work. These are from personal experiences
- You have a fever
- You were up all night drinking or partying
- Your dog is sick
- You're hungover (trust me, it works)
- Your other half is going on a business trip, and you want to spend some time together before they leave
- You have a flat tire/car trouble
- You have food poisoning (This works exceptionally well if you know someone who has had food poisoning recently)
- You have a migraine/headache that won't disappear (I have used this excuse more than once, and it has worked great!)
- Your house is flooded/has no power because of a storm (If you live somewhere where this could happen, excellent!)
- You forgot about a necessary meeting/appointment
- My dog has a midlife crisis
- The universe needs me today.
- I am allergic to the number 2 pencils in this office.
- There's a fly in my car, and I can't drive while he's watching me.
- I have an appointment with a cutie pie at the salon, and it's "no-cancellation-possible" time!
- There must be something wrong with the car. It just won't move when I put it in DRIVE!
- Traffic was horrible, and all the roads were closed for repairs, so I decided to go back to bed for another hour and a half.
- My alarm didn't go off because there was a power outage last night due to a big storm, so I overslept.
- Sorry, boss, but this morning when I got out of the shower, my hair looked so good that it made me want to skip work – can you believe it? ;)
- A fire broke out on my block right by my house, and traffic is just too congested right now.
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11 Good Excuses To Miss Work in 2023
Astrid Tran • 13 Jun 2023 • 7 min read
Employees commonly have a range of good excuses to miss work due to unforeseen circumstances. Learning how to deliver the best excuses to miss work is also important to maintain a professional attitude and prove excellent standing with your employer.
If you are looking for good excuses to miss work for a week, a day, or at the last minute and the best way to deliver them, let’s check out the 11 good excuses to miss work, tips and tricks in this article.
Table of Contents
- 11 Good excuses to miss work
- FAQs Session
- Winning Strategy to Give Good Excuses to Miss Work
Tips for better engagement.
- Importance of Employee Engagement
- Reason For Leaving Job
- Employee Engagement Programs
Need to find a way to engage your team?
Improve retention rate, get your team to talk to each other better with fun quiz on AhaSlides. Sign up to take free quiz from AhaSlides template library!
11 Good Excuses to Miss Work
It is useful to know acceptable excuses to miss work so that you can stay comfortable at home or do your business after asking for work absenteeism. Calling out for missing work isn’t a difficult task, but if you give a wrong excuse might lead to negative results, and you might not want your boss to be doubtful or angry about your sudden leave, worsening is a warning or bonus deduction. So keep reading for the following good excuses to miss work can be the best help. This can be used for both short notices in advance or without prior notice.
#1. Suddenly sick
“Suddenly sick” can be a reasonable excuse for missing work, as long as it is used honestly and sparingly. For example, Allergies, unexpected headaches, and stomachaches can be good excuses to not go to work.
#2. Family urgency
“Family emergency” can be a valid excuse to miss work, especially to miss work for a week as it implies that there is a serious situation involving a family member that requires your attention and may prevent you from being able to work at least a day, even for a week. For example, a family member has been hospitalized and requires your support and presence.
#3. A last-minute request to participate in a funeral
As you have to participate in a funeral and it is a last-minute call from your friends, it is a reasonable excuse for missing work. Attending a funeral is a time-sensitive and important event, and it’s understandable that you may need to take time off work to attend. In most cases, your employer will be understanding and supportive of your need to attend a funeral.
House Moving is a time-consuming and often physically demanding task that may require you to take time off, so it can be one of the good excuses to miss work. You should let your company know the dates you will be moving and how long you anticipate needing off work by giving them short notice beforehand.
#5. Doctor appointment
Not all doctors are available outside of regular work hours or during a slower period of the day or week. Many doctors ask patients to follow their schedule to set up a medical appointment. Thus, a doctor’s appointment is among the best medical excuses for missing work as it is important to prioritize your health and take care of any medical issues in a timely manner.
#6. Child’s Illness
For those who have kids, if their kid is sick, there is no reason for the company to deny this kind of serious excuse to not go to work. It is an urgent situation that requires immediate attention and could not have been anticipated or planned for in advance.
#7. School/Childcare Canceled
Being a working parent is a daunting job, and there are some occasions you have to call out of work to take care of them. If you have children and their school, childcare or babysitting has been canceled unexpectedly, this can be among good excuses to miss work.
#8. Missing Pet
Your manager will understand your unexpected missing pet as it can be a stressful and emotional experience. It’s important to take the time you need to search for your pet and to deal with the situation, and prioritize your well-being during this difficult time. So don’t be nervous about whether it is a good excuse to miss work or not.
#9. Religious Event / Celebration
If you are looking for good excuses to miss work as you have to attend religious events or celebrations, don’t hesitate to mention it to your managers or HR department. Many employers understand and respect their employees’ religious beliefs and practices, and will be willing to accommodate their employees’ needs.
#10. Unexpected Urgent Maintenance
If you need to stay home to deal with a repair or maintenance issue in your house that cannot wait, you could explain to your employer that you need to be present for a repair person or contractor to come to your house. They are good excuses to miss work as many house maintenance services work in regular hours.
#11. Jury duty or legal obligation
If you have been summoned for jury duty or have a legal obligation that requires your attendance, this is a serious excuse for missing work. Employers are required by law to give their employees time off for jury duty or legal obligations, so don’t be afraid to request the time you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s check out the best excuses to call out of work!
Q: What is a believable excuse to miss work?
A: A believable excuse to miss work is honest, genuine, and communicated clearly to your employer. For example, If you are unable to get to work due to car trouble or transportation issues, this is a valid excuse to miss work.
Q: How do I get out of work at the last minute?
A: Getting out of work at the last minute is not an ideal situation and should be avoided whenever possible, as it can inconvenience your employer and co-workers. However, if you do find yourself in a situation where you need to get out of work last minute, here are some steps you can take:
If possible, provide good excuses to leave work at the last minute, for example, a family emergency such as your family member in a car accident or suddenly become sick. After you have left work, follow up with your employer to make sure they have everything they need and to see if there is anything else you can do to help.
Q: How do you call out of work without giving a reason?
A: Personal reason: If your company offers you personal leave to use throughout the year, you can usually take them without having to give specific excuses. Emergency: If you want to maintain your privacy and confidentiality to the extent possible, you can just say that it is an emergency to deal with family or house matters and get out of work.
Q: How do you tell your boss you have to miss work?
A: There are many good excuses to miss work and you can text or email your boss about that. Balancing work and life is not easy and there are always unexpected occasions happening and you have to call out of work to deal with them.
Q: What are considered good excuses to miss work during pandemic?
A: As many companies still remain hybrid working or remote working , you can find some good excuses to miss work such as power outages, or household problems.
Q: What are the best last-minute excuses to miss work?
A: Some emergency situation that is out of your control like home repair, a flood or fire, or a death in the family are good excuses to miss work at the last minute
Winning Strategy to Deliver Good Excuses to Miss Work
- It’s important to be truthful with your employer and to only use legitimate excuses for missing work, as repeated use of fake excuses may damage your credibility and reputation with your employer.
- Remember that your employer may require evidence or other documentation to verify your excuses such as a doctor’s note, or receipt, and be prepared to provide this if necessary.
- You should communicate with your employer as soon as possible to briefly explain your absence and let them know when you expect to be back. This will give your employer enough time to make necessary arrangements to cover your absence.
- If possible, try to arrange your work schedule so that your absence will have minimal impact on your colleagues and work responsibilities .
- Review your company’s policies regarding bereavement leave or time off for personal emergencies to ensure you follow the correct procedures.
- If possible, ask your boss whether you can work at home someday, and prepare online meetings instead, so you can catch up to work quickly. AhaSlides can be a good presentation tool for online working and virtual meetings.
It’s crucial to be honest and transparent with your employer and to let them know why you are absent. Many employers understand the challenges of balancing work and family responsibilities and will be willing to work with you to find a solution that works for everyone. Companies can think of conducting Hybrid working that can help reduce excuses to miss work and increase team engagement.
Ref: The balance
I've got my rhythm with words