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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
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  • What Is A Sabbatical At Work?
  • How To Take A Personal Day
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  • 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.

Key Takeaways

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.

good excuses to miss work on short notice/last minute

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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35 Believable Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice

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Navigating the need for time off work can sometimes feel challenging, but there are plenty of legitimate reasons that may require you to miss work on short notice. In this article, we explore 35 legitimate reasons to miss work, providing examples, explanations, and key points for each.

Whether you're dealing with a personal health issue, a family emergency, an unexpected event, or even a much-needed personal day, understanding these potential scenarios can help you communicate more effectively with your employer.

However, honesty is always the best policy when it comes to taking time off work. Remember that lying or falsifying reasons for missing work can lead to severe consequences, including loss of trust, disciplinary action, or even termination. Always be truthful about your reasons for needing time off. Your employer will likely appreciate your honesty, and in most cases, be understanding of your situation.

This article is set up as a comprehensive list, offering 35 different reasons why you might need to miss work. This structure should make it easy to navigate and find the information that's most relevant to you. We hope this article offers a helpful guide for those unexpected life events that require time away from work.

Illness is a common reason for missing work on short notice. The specific nature of the illness can range from a mild cold or flu to more serious conditions. Importantly, if you are unwell, it is often better to stay home to rest, recover, and avoid spreading any infectious illness to your coworkers. It's always advisable to seek medical attention and follow their advice regarding rest and returning to work.

For instance, if you wake up with a fever and body aches, you may have contracted the flu. In this case, it's crucial to prioritize your health and reduce the risk of infecting your coworkers by staying at home. Remember to notify your employer as soon as possible, and if required, provide a doctor's note.

2. Medical Appointments

Medical appointments, particularly with specialists, often need to be scheduled during regular business hours. This can make it challenging to avoid missing some work, especially if the medical issue is urgent or ongoing. Regular check-ups and preventative appointments are also important for maintaining your health. Employers usually understand this necessity, but it's important to communicate and plan these absences ahead of time when possible.

Imagine you have an appointment with a cardiologist for an ongoing heart condition. These types of specialists often have limited availability, and the appointment could be crucial for your health. In such a situation, you should inform your employer about your medical condition and the need for your absence. Consider offering to make up for the lost time or work remotely, if possible.

3. Family Emergency

A family emergency can happen unexpectedly and needs immediate attention, making it a legitimate reason for missing work. These emergencies could be due to health issues, accidents, or other urgent matters involving a close family member. During such difficult times, your presence might be required for emotional support or practical assistance.

For example, if your partner or child has a severe accident at home and needs immediate medical attention, you might need to rush them to the hospital and stay with them. In this situation, it's crucial to notify your employer about the emergency as soon as you can. Employers often offer family emergency leaves for such situations.

4. Unexpected Childcare Issue

Childcare can sometimes present unforeseen issues that require immediate attention. Your regular babysitter may fall ill, or your daycare center may unexpectedly close. In such cases, it may be necessary to miss work to take care of your child. Balancing work and family life can be challenging, and most employers will understand these occasional unavoidable circumstances.

An example could be a situation where you receive a call from your daycare provider saying they have a plumbing emergency and have to close for the day. In this case, you would need to stay home with your child. It would be helpful to inform your employer of the situation as soon as possible. If your work allows, you could also explore the possibility of working from home for the day.

5. Personal Emergency

Personal emergencies are unexpected situations in your personal life that require immediate attention. These emergencies can include anything from a flooded basement, a car accident, or a fire in your home. These situations often require immediate attention and can make it impossible to attend work.

For example, if you wake up to find your basement flooded due to a burst pipe, your immediate attention and action would be required to prevent further damage. This would involve contacting a plumber, potentially a cleanup crew, and possibly your insurance company. In such scenarios, keep open communication with your employer, inform them of the situation, and give them an estimated time of your unavailability. If possible, try to make up for the lost work time later or work remotely if your situation allows.

6. Mental Health Day

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and sometimes you may need to take a day off to take care of your psychological wellbeing. Overworking, chronic stress, or personal issues can contribute to deteriorating mental health. Recognizing the need to recharge and taking time off can prevent burnout and more serious mental health issues down the line.

For instance, you might be feeling overwhelmed and emotionally drained due to a high-stress project. It's entirely appropriate to take a day for yourself to rest, engage in stress-relieving activities, and regain your mental strength. It's essential to communicate your need for a mental health day to your employer honestly, and ideally before you've reached a point of crisis.

7. Death of a Close One

The death of a loved one can be a devastating event. Grieving is a personal process that takes time and looks different for everyone. Some people may require more time than others to process their loss and may find it hard to concentrate on work during this time.

For example, if a close family member passes away, you'll likely need to take time off for the funeral and to grieve. Most employers have policies in place for bereavement leave and will understand your need to take time off. It's important to communicate openly with your employer about your situation and the time you'll need off.

8. Unexpected Vehicle Issues

Cars can break down unexpectedly, or there may be disruptions to public transportation. These situations can cause delays or make it impossible for you to get to work. Having your car serviced regularly can minimize the risk of breakdowns, but unexpected issues can still arise.

Consider a scenario where your car won't start due to a dead battery. While this is a situation that can usually be resolved within the day, it may cause you to miss work or arrive late. Notify your employer as soon as possible about the situation. If you can, try to find an alternate means of transportation to minimize your downtime.

9. House Problems

Significant problems in your home, such as plumbing issues, power outages, or a broken heating system, may require you to stay home to resolve them. These issues can arise unexpectedly and often need immediate attention to prevent further damage and disruption.

For example, if your furnace breaks down in the middle of winter, you will likely need to wait at home for a repair person to fix it. It's essential to inform your employer about the situation and the expected timeline for resolution. If possible and applicable to your work, you may be able to work remotely while waiting for the issue to be resolved.

10. Jury Duty

Jury duty is a civic obligation that most people will have to perform at some point. The notice usually comes in advance, but the actual dates can often be unpredictable and fall during work hours. Most employers are understanding about the need for jury duty leave, as it is a legal requirement.

For instance, if you've received a notice for jury duty that falls on a workday, you're required by law to attend. It's important to notify your employer about your jury duty as soon as you receive the notice. Most places of employment have policies in place to handle these situations, and they can guide you on the next steps.

11. Attending a Funeral

Attending a funeral, particularly of a close friend or family member, is a legitimate and common reason to miss work. It provides closure and allows one to pay their final respects. Bereavement leave is often provided by employers to accommodate such circumstances.

For example, if a close family friend passes away and the funeral is held during your regular working hours, you may need to take time off work. It's crucial to inform your employer of the situation and provide as much notice as possible. In most cases, employers will understand and allow the necessary time off.

12. Bad Weather

There are times when severe weather conditions can make commuting unsafe. Heavy snow, hurricanes, extreme heatwaves, or flood warnings can all pose significant threats and hinder transportation.

For example, suppose there's a severe snowstorm forecasted for your area that's expected to make roads unsafe. In this case, it would be prudent to stay home and avoid the potential dangers of attempting to commute to work. Be sure to inform your employer as soon as possible about your circumstances. Some employers might even have policies in place for such instances or may allow you to work from home.

Injuries, whether they happen at work or outside of it, can make it impossible for you to perform your job functions or commute to work. They often require immediate medical attention and possibly time for recovery.

For instance, if you sprain your ankle severely while jogging, you might be unable to travel or stand for extended periods, depending on your job. In such a situation, it's best to focus on your recovery to avoid exacerbating the injury. Always keep your employer informed about your condition and provide them with a reasonable timeline for your return based on medical advice.

14. Unexpected Travel

There might be instances where you need to travel unexpectedly due to a family or personal crisis. This could be anything from a sick relative in a different city to an urgent property issue that needs resolving.

For example, if your parents live in another state and one of them falls critically ill, you may need to travel there to support them. In such scenarios, explain the situation to your employer and provide them with an estimated timeline for your return. Most employers understand the urgency of family crises and grant leaves for the same.

15. Court Appearances

Court appearances, whether they are directly related to you or involve a family member, usually can't be rescheduled. These appearances could be for a variety of legal matters and failing to attend can have severe consequences.

For example, you may be involved in a legal dispute and are required to appear in court on a particular day. Make sure to inform your employer about the requirement as soon as you receive the court notice. Provide them with the date and the expected duration of your absence so they can plan accordingly.

16. Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies can be extremely painful and debilitating, often requiring immediate attention. This can include a sudden toothache, broken tooth, lost fillings, or other dental problems. Failing to address these issues promptly can lead to more serious complications.

For example, if you wake up with unbearable tooth pain, you will likely need to see a dentist immediately. It's essential to keep your employer informed about the situation and provide them with an estimated timeline of when you'll be able to return to work based on your dentist's advice.

17. Pet Emergencies

Just like human family members, pets can also have medical emergencies that require immediate attention. Since our pets can't tell us when something is wrong, symptoms may appear suddenly and require urgent veterinary care.

For instance, if your dog ingests something harmful and needs emergency care, you would likely need to miss work to attend to this situation. Be sure to inform your employer about the situation as soon as possible. If your job allows for it, consider working remotely once your pet is stabilized.

18. Illness of a Close Family Member

When a close family member is severely ill, they may need your care and support. This could require taking them to doctor's appointments, providing emotional support, or assisting with their care at home.

For example, if your child wakes up with a high fever and needs to be taken to the doctor, you will likely need to miss work. Communicate the situation to your employer promptly and keep them updated on when you'll be able to return to work. Many employers offer family sick leave for situations like this.

19. School Event

Important school events such as performances, parent-teacher meetings, or sports days often fall during working hours and can require parents to take time off work. Attending these events supports your child's academic and personal growth.

For instance, if your child is performing in a school play that takes place during your work hours, you would likely want to attend. Inform your employer in advance about the event and request time off. Most employers understand the importance of these occasions and will grant you the necessary time off.

20. Home Delivery

Occasionally, you may need to be at home to receive a delivery of a major appliance, furniture, or other large items. These deliveries usually require someone to be at home and can't always be scheduled outside of working hours.

As an example, if you've ordered a new refrigerator and the company can only deliver it during your work hours, you'll need to be at home to receive it. Be sure to inform your employer as soon as you have the delivery date and request the necessary time off. If your job allows for it, you might be able to work from home for part of the day.

21. Home Repair or Maintenance

Occasionally, urgent home repairs or maintenance tasks may require you to be present at home. These could be planned activities like a kitchen renovation or unplanned emergencies such as a leaky roof.

Consider a situation where a pipe bursts in your home and you urgently need a plumber to fix it. You'd need to be at home to handle the situation, which may result in missing work. Communicate the issue to your employer as soon as possible. In many cases, remote work may be possible while you wait for repairs to be completed.

22. Moving House

Moving to a new house can be a time-consuming process. It involves packing, moving large items, and possibly cleaning. Although much of this can be planned for weekends or outside of work hours, the actual moving day might fall on a workday.

If you're moving to a new house and the movers are scheduled to come on a workday, you'll need to request a day off. Make sure to give your employer plenty of notice so they can plan for your absence. They may even allow you to work remotely part of the day if needed.

23. Study or Exam

If you are pursuing further education while working, there may be times when you need to study for an important exam or complete a major project. Balancing work and studies can be challenging, but most employers will support your educational pursuits.

Suppose you have a major certification exam coming up that requires intensive preparation. In such a case, you might need to take a day off to concentrate on your studies. Inform your employer in advance about the exam and your need for a day off to prepare.

24. Marriage or Civil Ceremony

Attending a marriage or civil ceremony, either your own or of a close friend or family member, is a valid reason to miss work. These events often require travel and preparation time, and are generally understood to be important personal commitments.

For example, if your sibling is getting married in a different city, you'll likely need to take time off work for travel and to attend the wedding. As soon as you know the date, notify your employer and request the necessary time off.

25. Job Interview

While it may feel uncomfortable to take time off work for a job interview, it's a legitimate reason to miss work. Interviews often fall within working hours and can't always be scheduled outside of these times. It's best to be discreet about the reason for your absence.

For instance, if you're called for a job interview that's scheduled during your work hours, you may need to take time off. To keep things discreet, you could request a personal day without disclosing the specific reason. Remember to be respectful of your current employer's time and resources while navigating your job search.

26. Volunteer Work

Some people choose to participate in volunteer work or community service that can fall within their work hours. Whether it's a one-time event or a regular commitment, this can be a valid reason to miss work, particularly if your employer encourages community involvement.

For example, you may be involved in a local charity that's hosting a special event during your work hours. Let your employer know about your involvement as early as possible and request the necessary time off. Some employers even offer paid volunteer days as part of their benefits package.

27. Religious Observance

Religious observances and ceremonies are legitimate reasons to miss work. These could include holidays, festivals, or special rituals that are important to your faith.

For instance, if there's a significant religious holiday that you observe which falls on a workday, you'll need to request a day off. Notify your employer as soon as you're aware of the date, and request the necessary time off. Employers are typically understanding of such circumstances and legally obliged to reasonably accommodate religious practices.

28. Personal Emergency

Personal emergencies are unexpected events that require immediate attention. These could include a break-in at your home, a sudden financial issue, or an unexpected legal matter.

Consider a scenario where you have a sudden legal issue that requires you to meet with your lawyer immediately. You would likely need to take time off work to resolve the matter. Be sure to inform your employer as soon as possible, giving as much detail as you feel comfortable sharing.

29. Health Appointments

Health appointments, such as regular check-ups, specialist appointments, or therapy sessions, can sometimes only be scheduled during work hours. Preventative care and management of ongoing health issues are important for your overall well-being.

For example, if you have a specialist appointment that can only be scheduled during your work hours, you'll need to take time off. Inform your employer about the appointment as soon as it's scheduled, and provide an estimate of when you'll be able to return to work.

30. Personal Well-being Day

Sometimes, you may just need a day off for personal well-being. This could be to relax, pursue a hobby, or spend time with family and friends. Personal well-being days can help prevent burnout and improve overall job satisfaction.

For example, if you've been feeling particularly stressed and overworked, you might need to take a personal day to relax and recharge. Let your employer know that you need a day off for personal reasons. Most employers understand the importance of work-life balance and the need for personal time.

31. Child's Sick Day

If you have children, there will inevitably be times when they're sick and unable to attend school or daycare. Often, this will require a parent to stay home with them.

For example, if your child wakes up with a fever and you can't send them to school, you'll need to take the day off to care for them. Be sure to inform your employer as soon as possible. Many employers have policies in place to support parents in these circumstances.

32. Attending a Conference

Many professionals attend conferences, seminars, or other professional development events to stay up-to-date in their field. While some of these may be sponsored by your employer, others may not be, and could require taking time off work.

For instance, if there's a conference relevant to your field happening during your work hours, you may wish to attend. In this case, discuss the opportunity with your employer as soon as you can. They may even consider it as part of your professional development and support you in attending it.

33. Unexpected Family Responsibilities

Unpredictable family responsibilities such as caring for an elderly family member, attending a family reunion, or handling a family dispute may require your immediate attention and presence.

Suppose your elderly parent falls ill suddenly and needs your help. In such a scenario, you would likely need to take time off to care for them. Be open with your employer about your situation and provide them with an estimate of when you'll be able to return to work.

34. Attending Important School Event

Major life events such as graduations, milestone birthdays, or other significant school events are important to attend and can fall during work hours.

For example, if your child is graduating and the ceremony falls on a weekday during your working hours, you'll want to be there. Notify your employer well in advance and request the necessary time off. Most employers understand the importance of these milestones and will accommodate your request.

35. Attending to a Crisis at Home

A crisis at home can include anything from a burglary, fire, or other disasters that require your immediate attention and presence.

For example, if there's a fire at your home, you will need to attend to the situation immediately. Notify your employer about the crisis as soon as you can and provide them with an estimate of when you'll be able to return to work. Many employers will be understanding and supportive in these situations.

Related posts:

  • 50+ Excuses To Leave Work Early (REAL Examples)
  • What is Job Satisfaction?
  • Health Psychologist Career (Salary + Duties + Interviews)
  • Industrial Organizational Psychology (Full Guide)
  • 40+ Famous Psychologists (Images + Biographies)

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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 603,194 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

excuses for missing work family issues

You’re not feeling well.

You can’t predict illness, so calling in sick is an effective excuse.

  • “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.

Sick kids get sympathy, especially if your boss has met them before.

  • “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.

Doctor’s appointments are cliché, but they work when used sparingly.

  • “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.

Food poisoning is sudden and severe, and people know how awful it is.

  • “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.

A chipped tooth is a great excuses to miss work last-minute.

  • “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.

Migraines are severe and make it nearly impossible to work efficiently.

  • “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.

Accidents happen to everybody.

  • “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.

Almost nothing is more universally loathed than a hurt or strained 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.

Mental health is personal, so empathetic bosses won’t push back hard.

  • “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.

In today’s world, Covid is the ultimate excuse to get out of work.

  • “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.

Donating 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.

Adorable pets will get you sympathy from your boss or manager.

  • “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.

Family emergencies work great since they can be vague or personal.

  • “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.

Childcare is hard to find when your usual daycare or caretaker falls through.

  • “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.

Unexpected friends or family are a valid excuse to take time off.

  • “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.

Most people understand that severe home issues can happen any time.

  • “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.

In the United States, almost 1.7 million packages are stolen every day.

  • “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.

If you need your car to get to work, this is a golden excuse to call off.

  • “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.

Getting locked out is a universally frustrating experience.

  • “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.

Religious holidays work as long as you tell your boss a little in advance.

  • “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.”

Community Q&A

Amanda Cousins

  • 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. [21] X Research source Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 2
  • 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 2 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

excuses for missing work family issues

  • 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

What to Say when Calling in Sick with Diarrhea

  • ↑ 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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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. 

  • Main content

6 valid reasons to miss work — and the excuses your boss won't go for, according to career experts

  • There are good and bad reasons to miss a workday.
  • Career strategists say taking time off to care for your health or for a loved one is acceptable.
  • Using a lack of sleep or a missed train as an excuse not to go to work likely won't fly, they said.

Insider Today

There are about 260 workdays in a year. That means many full-time employees are expected to spend about 70% of their time in the office, literally or figuratively.

But there are inevitably days when we need to miss work — for vacation, for personal or family matters, or for some other reason.

While many companies provide their employees an allotment of sick, personal, and vacation days, it can sometimes be hard to tell what constitutes a reasonable excuse for not showing up for work, particularly if it's a last-minute request.

"It needs to be something that helps your employer see why you wouldn't be productive or that the quality of your work would be degraded and lead to problems," Laura Smith-Proulx, an executive-résumé writer and former job recruiter who's coached thousands of employees through layoffs, relocations, promotions, office politics, and other work scenarios, told Insider.

If you're not sure whether you're justified in skipping out on a workday, here are the best reasons for not showing up — and advice for telling your boss.

Good reasons to miss work

1. you've had a traumatic experience.

Perhaps one of the toughest situations to navigate at work is when something unexpected and traumatic happens in your personal life, such as the death of a family member or a friend.

Smith-Proulx said employers most likely wouldn't expect an employee to be at their top performance after such an event, so if you need to request time off, it's best to have a conversation with your boss as soon as possible to allow them to make other plans in your absence.

"You can either share details of the event directly or summarize what happened, depending on what you are comfortable discussing and what actually occurred," she added. "It's possible your boss may quickly understand and you can keep the conversation at a high level with minimal detail.

"No matter what arrangement you set up, make your mental and physical health a priority, while checking in with your team or boss as you are able to do so."

2. You're sick, or you've been around someone who's contagious

Any illness that prevents you from doing your job effectively is a good excuse to stay home.

"If your profession requires you to sit at a desk or stand behind a counter and you're not able to handle these conditions due to flu, a kidney stone, pregnancy complication, broken bone, or other severe incident, most employers would excuse you from work duties until you are able to withstand the requirements," Smith-Proulx said.

Being exposed to something contagious, especially if you work in an office or closely with people in person, can also be a reasonable excuse for missing work.

"Even if you aren't feeling unwell, a positive COVID test means you could infect another worker who is more susceptible to severe effects or even the possibility of death," Smith-Proulx said. "In that case, you should steer clear of the workplace until cleared to return to work."

Smith-Proulx recommended notifying your boss quickly, especially if your workplace will need coverage for the day. Then tend to your needs by monitoring your symptoms.

"If you have a contagious illness such as COVID or the flu, contact your doctor for recommendations on when you can safely return to work — and make sure you're communicating with coworkers and supervisors so they can plan around your absence," Smith-Proulx said.

3. You have no means of getting to the office

Smith-Proulx said that a lack of reliable transportation is an excuse she's heard people use for skipping work.

"If your car or transportation source breaks down or roads are impassable due to ice or snow, you can typically expect an employer to understand the circumstances," Smith-Proulx said.

However, she added, don't expect your boss to give you more than one day off for a reason like this — unless it's an extenuating circumstance you've spoken with your boss about, they'll most likely expect you back the next day.

4. You don't have WiFi, or there are other problems with your work environment

Remote workers who depend on the internet or on childcare to do their job might face instances where these things fall through and they can't show up for work at home.

"Some employers will allow you to delay tasks or deadlines if you cannot access WiFi or are not able to complete tasks away from the office," she said.

However, Smith-Proulx added, companies would probably prefer that you find workarounds that allow you to continue your tasks on an interim basis. For example, she said, if you can't access WiFi at home, you may need to call your boss or use another means of communication to contact them.

"Don't rely on sending a passive email," she said, as your message could sit in your boss' inbox for hours.

If you're dealing with a complication at home — perhaps your daycare has fallen through and you need to take care of your children — it's best to set aside time to convey how you'll deal with this issue if it happens again, Smith-Proulx said.

"Most supervisors understand that life happens and you can't control every factor in your home environment, but may also view repeated episodes in a negative light," she said.

5. You need a mental-health day

There might be times when you just need a day to reset, whether it's because you're burned out or you're dealing with something personal.

"We are working in an unprecedented time, and people are working more than ever before, which can lead to a huge amount of stress," Amy Stoldt , the vice president of people and culture at Snappy, an employee-gifting company, told Insider.

Brooks Scott , an executive coach, recommended adopting a personal strategy for asking for time off for mental-health reasons.

"The best way to communicate with your manager that you'll need to miss work is to focus on your relationship with them by connecting your excuse to something you both share," Scott said.

He suggested using the following script: "Both of us need to have a professional relationship where we can be open and honest with each other. Some personal things have come up, and I need to ask for the day off to focus on my mental health. You know I wouldn't be asking unless it was necessary."

Scott added that it's best to use these types of excuses sparingly, wisely, and truthfully.

6. You're dealing with a family situation

Whether it's a child, a spouse, a parent, or a pet who needs you, it's OK to request a day off to be there for loved ones.

"The best way to communicate a family situation with your manager is to share as much about the situation as you are comfortable with, but of course you are not required to do so," Stoldt said.

She added that it can be good to share how much time you might need to take off so you can help manage job expectations. "You can also offer up that you will work with others on the team to assure your manager that someone is designated as your backup while you are away," Stoldt said.

Bad reasons to miss work

Smith-Proulx said the worst excuses for missing work are the ones your boss expects you to have control over, such as being up late or missing the train.

"When you commit to being on the job, it's expected that you will tend to your own sleep schedule or find alternative means of transportation," Smith-Proulx said. "If you find you are regularly missing work for reasons like these, spend time analyzing how long it takes for you to obtain transportation or ensure you're well rested, which should help avoid routine absences."

She suggested admitting what happened and asking if you can make it up by contributing in some other way.

Many employers understand that time off can't always be planned and should be taken, but they still expect their employees to be productive and regularly available for work. Constantly being absent from work, Smith-Proulx said, "can make it difficult for the employer to continue business, and they may need to replace you with a more reliable employee."

excuses for missing work family issues

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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The Best & Worst Excuses for Missing Work

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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10 [Legitimate] Family Emergency Excuses: Real Examples to Miss Work

Inside: This guide provides 10 legitimate family emergency excuses to help you avoid work, no matter what your employer says.

It’s inevitable. Sooner or later, you will have to miss work for a family emergency.

The question is, what excuse should you use? You don’t want to sound like you’re making excuses, but you also don’t want your boss to think you’re lying.

You rack your brain for a legitimate excuse , but nothing comes to mind. And the last thing you want to do is use one of your “sick days” for something that’s not actually sick-related.

But before you reach for that tried-and-true standby (“my grandmother died”), consider this: there are plenty of other legitimate excuses you can use to miss work, without having to lie .

Just to note… be wary of using these family emergency excuses on a regular basis because it may cause you not to have a job.

In this post, we’ll give you ten examples of real family emergencies that are totally valid reasons for taking a day (or more) off from work.

Are you missing work because of a family emergency? You're not alone. This guide provides 10 legitimate family emergency excuses to help you avoid work, no matter what your employer says. Learn how to gather the necessary documents, make sure your absence is understood, and deal with possible consequences.

What is a family emergency?

A family emergency is an unexpected event that affects the health and/or safety of your family members or other close loved ones.

It’s important to remember that a family emergency is different than a personal emergency, as it involves the health or well-being of a family member.

Below we will cover, family emergency examples you can use.

What’s a good family emergency excuse?

Picture of a family comforting a child for what is a good family emergency excuse.

This could include a sudden illness, injury from an accident, or another devastating event.

Make sure the family emergency excuse is used when you need to miss work due to an unexpected event related to an immediate family member.

Every family is different, so you can also come up with your own family emergency excuse.

Good Family Emergency Excuses

1. Illness or Injury 2. Family Member on Life Support or Death 3. Car Accident 4. Childcare Issues 5. Household emergency

How do you say you have a family emergency?

Picture of someone trying to figure out How do you say you have a family emergency?

For many people, privacy is foremost and they don’t want to delve into all of the details.

However, you must contact your employer as soon as possible.

Be prepared to explain the details of your family emergency, such as when it happened and how long you expect to be away from work.

Offer to update your employer on the status of your family emergency daily. This will ensure they know you are taking the situation seriously.

This post may contain affiliate links, which helps us to continue providing relevant content and we receive a small commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read the full disclosure  here .

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most legitimate family emergency excuses

Picture of a guy looking for the most legitimate family emergency excuses.

Family emergencies are unexpected and often unpredictable events that can have a significant impact on the health and/or safety of your family members.

They can range from medical, financial, or even environmental issues.

Be wise in using a family emergency as one of the good excuses to miss work .

Following are some of the most common types of family emergencies and how to handle each situation:

1. Illness or Injury:

This type of family emergency is usually associated with the unexpected illness of a family member which requires medical attention.

Characteristics of this type of emergency include feeling overwhelmed, being in need of medical care, and feeling uncertain of how to proceed.

2. Unexpected surgery:

There are plenty of reasons for an unexpected surgery including a recent illness or injury to a family member during non-work hours.

Another possibility that happened to us personally was the doctor was able to bump up our surgery by over a month due to a cancellation. With the uptick in Covid cases, this will probably be the norm for a while.

An unexpected surgery will throw a wrench into everyone’s calendar. But, obviously, surgery would be needed.

Also, in most cases, an unexpected surgery is critical in nature and should be addressed quickly.

3. Serious medical condition of family member

Picture of someone in the hospital.

A serious medical condition of a family member is considered an acceptable excuse for a family emergency as it requires extra care and attention. Such a condition can include any health condition that carries a high risk of mortality, such as cancer, chronic heart failure, or dementia.

It can also include any other condition that can severely disrupt a person’s life, such as a stroke or chronic mental health issues.

Taking care of a family member with a serious medical condition can be a long and exhausting journey.

Therefore, it is important to support those affected, such as taking time off work to attend medical appointments or provide care.

4. Death of family member

The death of a family member can be a traumatic event and a valid emergency excuse for taking time off work.

The bereavement leave provided by many companies allows employees to take some time off to deal with any arrangements they need to make, such as funeral and burial arrangements, and to grieve the loss of their family member.

It is essential to check the company’s policy in regard to bereavement leave before informing your employer of the situation and seeking leave. Many companies limit their bereavement policy to include only immediate family members. So, if your loved great-aunt passes away, you may have to take personal time off.

While there is no set time frame for mourning, it is important to give yourself the time and space to properly grieve and heal. Furthermore, employers are generally understanding when it comes to family emergencies and the need to take time off work.

5. Transportation Issue

Picture of a car accident and traffic backup.

This type of family emergency may be caused by car trouble or public transportation hindrance and can be quite debilitating.

Even worse would be a car accident, which can be very stressful and is considered a family emergency.

This type of emergency is common and can happen for a lot of reasons. So it’s important to have a few steps in place to avoid common car trouble or public transportation issues.

Also, needing to arrange for alternative transportation or get a rental car will take time away from your job. Recently, I needed a rental car from my car was in an accident. The process of getting my rental car took over two hours.

6. Childcare emergencies

Childcare emergencies that are considered legitimate family emergencies can vary from situation to situation.

Examples of these emergencies include:

  • A sick child or dependent: If a child or dependent becomes sick and needs to be taken care of, this is considered a family emergency.
  • Babysitter sick: If a babysitter is sick, this can cause a lot of disruption to your childcare arrangements and is considered a family emergency.
  • Daycare center closed: If a daycare center is closed for any reason, this can cause a disruption to your childcare arrangements and is considered a family emergency.
  • Child staying home due to mental health: If your child has to stay home due to mental health reasons, you have to take time off to watch them, and this is considered a family emergency.
  • School is canceled due to weather: This is very common throughout the winter due to snow or ice storms. Thankfully, most school districts are giving families ample time to line up alternative child care plans.

This type of family emergency can arise when you suddenly need to secure childcare for your children.

With many people able to work from home, you might need to be flexible and log in from home. If that is not an option, then you will probably need to take another shift later in the week to cover for your co-workers helping you out.

7. Emergency pregnancy complication

Picture of a pregnant mama

This one is scary and hopefully will never happen to you!

An emergency pregnancy is a situation in which an expectant mother experiences a health complication that requires her to receive immediate medical attention.

Emergency pregnancy complications are often unexpected and can be emotionally and physically draining for both the mother and her family.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), this is considered a legitimate reason and allows an expectant mother the option to take unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks to receive the necessary care. This law protects the mother’s job, allowing her to return to work after she has given birth, and also ensures that her health benefits will remain in place.

8. Domestic violence situation

This is a very difficult situation and you must take the correct steps in order to remove yourself from this situation safely.

An example of a domestic violence situation as an emergency family excuse could involve a situation in which a family member is being abused or threatened by another family member.

Domestic violence does not have to be physical, but can also involve psychological, verbal, or emotional abuse.

In this case, the family member may need to leave their situation immediately in order to protect their safety.

Unfortunately, not all supervisors will be flexible with this type of excuse as it is difficult to produce evidence without a court order, hospitalization, or other extreme circumstance.

9. Natural disasters

Picture of a wildfire

Natural disasters can be devastating and force you to miss work suddenly. Some examples of natural disasters that could be considered family emergencies include:

  • Earthquakes: are sudden, violent shaking of the ground caused by shifts in the Earth’s crust and can cause landslides, tsunamis, and other disasters.
  • Hurricanes: are intense tropical storms that can bring heavy rain, strong winds, flooding, and storm surge.
  • Tornadoes : are rotating columns of air that descend from thunderstorms, causing destruction and damage to anything in their path.
  • Wildfires: are large, uncontrolled fires that can cause destruction to entire communities.
  • Floods: are caused by heavy rain and can cause major damage to property and lives.
  • Avalanches: are natural disasters that can occur in mountainous regions, resulting in mass destruction and loss of life.

Typically, if this type of situation arises, most employers are already issuing guidance on how to handle your work.

However, if you were looking to care for your parents in a disaster area, you will have to contact your boss and make the best plan for your personal situation.

10. Home Emergency

This type of family emergency usually arises from a home emergency such as a flood, leak, fire, or other issues that require immediate attention.

While it is best to tend to these situations outside of work hours, you may have to be available to let insurance appraisers or contractors in to do any necessary repairs.

More than likely, you are feeling overwhelmed with what just happened and uncertain about how to proceed.

You may be able to get helpful advice from your supervisor on the quickest way to handle the situation.

11. Emergencies involving pets

Picture of a pet.

Everyone loves their pets and hates to see an urgent vet appointment happen, a pet going missing, or an illness requiring immediate medical care.

If your pet is seriously ill and needs your care, it is a valid reason to take time off work. Just realize you are likely going to have to take personal time off for the hours missed.

For many, their pets are like their children. However, FMLA does not cover pet emergencies as a reason to miss work for an extended period of time.

12. Personal trauma

Personal trauma is emotional and mental distress caused by a difficult or traumatic experience.

It can be caused by major events like natural disasters, losing a loved one, or a traumatic incident such as a car accident or assault. Other causes are smaller events that take place over a period of time, such as living in a toxic environment or experiencing ongoing bullying.

It is an acceptable family emergency excuse because it can cause severe emotional and mental distress. This can have a significant impact on your family member’s physical and mental health .

In such cases, it is important for the individual to take time away from work to focus on their recovery and well-being.

In addition, it is important for employers to be understanding and accommodating of those needing to take time off for mental health so that everyone can return to work safely and healthily.

How to explain the absence due to a family emergency excuse

Picture of a guy trying to figure out how to explain the absence due to a family emergency excuse.

A family emergency can be a tricky thing to deal with.

You may have to leave work or school for an extended period of time, which can put a lot of stress on you.

Here are the steps you can take to explain your absence with a legitimate family emergency excuse:

1. Communicate the situation to your employer

Contact your employer as soon as you realize you won’t be able to go to work. Doing so helps avoid inconveniencing your boss and coworkers.

While calling your employer to inform them of an absence due to a family emergency, this can be a difficult and stressful experience.

However, try to communicate in a professional and calm manner and ensure to provide your supervisor with all the necessary information.

I explain the nature of the emergency and what steps I will be taking while away.

You need to be careful if you don’t want to work anymore .

2. Find out Your Company’s Protocols

Picture of logging into a VPN

Your employer’s policies for explaining absence due to a family emergency vary depending on the company.

Generally, you should contact your employer as soon as you realize you won’t be able to go to work.

Be honest about why you won’t be there.

To adhere to the business policies, you should check the employee handbook or speak to a human resource representative to ensure you follow the right procedures. You can also contact your superior or risk management officer for more information.

When communicating your absence, you should speak in a professional tone and use straightforward language. Mention any concerns you have regarding the absence and provide the necessary details. However, avoid over-explaining, especially if the reason is personal.

If there are formal policies in place, make sure to follow them.

3. Request time off and Possible Timeline for Missing Work

When speaking to your supervisor, request time off due to a genuine reason.

Tell them you reviewed the company’s policy and procedure regarding taking time off and that you are aware of the protocol.

Make sure to provide a timeline for when you may return to work and updates regarding your situation.

This will demonstrate to your employer that you are still committed to the job and plan to do everything possible to make up for the missed time.

If you are in an ‘at-will’ state, be aware that you can be fired for calling in sick. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that your employer will fire you for taking one or two days off occasionally if you follow the tips about communicating with your boss.

4. Gather all the relevant documents

Picture of a stack of documents.

This will probably be the last thing on your mind during an emergency.

But, you will need documentation to prove your family emergency was legit.

  • Ask for doctor’s notes.
  • Ask for court copies of the paperwork.
  • Take pictures of the accident.
  • Create a digital file of this information.

All of this related paperwork will help to prove your case if you need it.

Also, make sure you have written documentation outlining the situation, your action plan, and timelines for return.

5. Be Proactive with Coworkers to Cover Your Job

Discuss your strategy with your coworkers in advance to ensure they understand. Make sure they are capable of assisting with any responsibilities that can arise during your absence.

  • Inform people working on urgent projects you’re involved with on what to do in your absence.
  • Offer to brief a coworker on any projects you are working on. This will make sure the work is not left undone in your absence.
  • Set up an out-of-office message indicating your coworker is filling in for you.

Prepare to make up for missed work when you return. This may include working extra hours or completing additional tasks.

Being transparent and honest is essential in these situations.

6. Make sure you have access to financial resources

Picture of cash

You will know from your employer whether your family emergency will be paid or not paid.

If money is tight, you may have to dip into emergency savings or a rainy day fund in the interim.

Also, research programs that are able to help provide you with financial resources for your family emergency. This includes scholarships, grants, and other forms of aid.

For instance, the state of Colorado, they have created its own program for Paid Family Leave to pay benefits .

7. Apply for FMLA, if applicable

Picture of a document for FMLA - family and medical leave act.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that guarantees eligible employees of covered employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for family emergencies.

To be eligible, the employee must have worked at the same employer for at least one year and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past year. The employer must have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the workplace.

The FMLA defines a family emergency as an unexpected event that affects the health or safety of an employee’s immediate family. This could include the birth and care of a newborn or adopted/foster child, care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or when the employee themselves are unable to work due to a serious health condition.

During this leave, the employee’s health benefits must be maintained.

8. Know Your Rights

FMLA Employee Guide

If your employer does not allow you to take time off, fires you, does not give you your job back, makes working at the company miserable after taking leave, or does not give you the compensation that you are entitled to, you should contact your state’s Department of Labor.

Additionally, you can review the guide, “Employer violations of FMLA rights,” to understand more about the most common FMLA violations by employers and how to protect yourself.

Family Emergency Email Sample

Picture of someone working on a family emergency email sample

Dear Teacher/Professor/Boss,

I am writing to inform you of an unexpected family emergency that I will need to attend to in the near future. I understand that this sudden absence may cause difficulties for you and the rest of the team and I apologize for the inconvenience.

Included is a list of documents and information that will help you understand the situation and provide me with the time I need to attend to the emergency. This includes:

  • The nature of the emergency
  • Details of the emergency to be shared (immediate family member, what happened, etc.)
  • Bereavement leave available
  • When I foresee myself being absent
  • If I have delegated work to my peers or coworkers
  • Any projects that are considered urgent
  • Any meetings or other deadlines that I am missing
  • If I will be available via phone, text, or email while I’m away
  • Any proof such as a doctor’s note

I appreciate your understanding and ask that you please keep me in your thoughts during this difficult time.

[Your Name]

What are some possible consequences of using family emergency excuses?

Picture of dominoes falling for possible consequences associated with good family emergency excuses.

  • Loss of trust from your employer. Even if you are telling the truth about a family emergency, your employer may take your excuses with a grain of salt if you use them too often.
  • Poor performance and missed deadlines. If you are taking too much time off, your work may suffer as a result.
  • Negative feedback from colleagues. Your coworkers may start to feel resentment if you are taking too much time off, as it will affect their workload and performance.
  • Poor attendance record. If you are frequently missing work, it will be reflected in your attendance record, which could potentially lead to disciplinary action.
  • Longer wait times for paychecks. You may have to wait longer for your next paycheck, as you may not be paid for your time off.

Are there any tips for using family emergency excuses effectively?

Picture of words that say helpful tips.

  • Choose a believable reason for the family emergency. It should be something that shows the well-being or health of an immediate family member, such as you or your spouse, parent, grandparent, child, or sibling on your or your spouse’s side.
  • Explain your situation in a brief, straightforward manner. Don’t go into too much detail, but provide enough information that your boss will understand the gravity and importance of the situation.
  • Be honest and credible. Don’t make up false stories, as this could lead to complications down the road.
  • Ask for flexibility or a modified work schedule. Depending on the situation, you may be able to work remotely or come in later/leave earlier to accommodate the crisis.
  • Follow up with a thank you. Your boss will likely be more understanding if you show your appreciation for their flexibility and willingness to work with you during the family emergency.

Family emergency excuses can have a major effect on workplace attendance.

  • In the short-term, taking time off for a family emergency can impact the employee’s ability to meet deadlines and complete their work.
  • Long-term absences can lead to a decrease in productivity, employee morale, and even loss of revenue.

Also, it can also affect your teammates, who may need to adjust their roles to cover the employee’s duties.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in the United States provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family or medical reasons.

The FMLA covers family members such as children, spouses, or parents, but some workplaces may also include siblings, grandparents, and in-laws.

You can find out all of the FMLA guidelines, terms and conditions to see if you qualify.

Different workplaces handle family emergencies differently.

Some employers may require more details than others, while some may accept the excuse with minimal questioning.

Generally, employers are more understanding when it comes to family emergencies, as these events are usually unexpected and involve serious matters.

Make sure you are honest with your boss about the details of the emergency and be prepared to provide further information if necessary.

That is the #1 reason it would be valid – honesty.

Also, the emergency must involve a direct family member. An immediate family member includes yourself, your spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, or child on your or your spouse’s side.

What should I consider when using a family emergency excuse to miss work?

Picture of a lady considering a family emergency excuse to miss work.

When using a family emergency excuse to miss work, there are several factors to consider.

Most importantly, you should make sure that the reason you are calling off work is indeed a valid family emergency.

If the situation does not affect you or your family’s health or well-being, it may not be considered a valid excuse.

The same goes for good excuses to miss school .

It is important to be honest with your employer when informing them of a family emergency. Lying about an emergency to miss work is not ethical and could result in negative consequences.

In most cases, employers will understand and accept a family emergency as a valid reason to miss work.

Honesty is always the best policy.

Or start to look for low stress jobs that pay well without a degree .

Know someone else that needs this, too? Then, please share!!

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The Best and Worst Excuses for Getting Out of Work

Table of contents.

excuses for missing work family issues

It’s unavoidable that your employees will need to take a day off work once in a while. Whether that’s due to a family matter or a personal obligation, making accommodations for employees who need to call out occasionally is part of being an understanding and supportive employer. However, when excuses for missing work start to go off the rails, you may be wondering – when and how do you draw the line?

What are some common excuses for missing work?

As an employer or manager, you’ve likely heard every reason in the book for taking an unplanned personal day. These are some of the most common reasons for missing work:

  • Transportation issues. This could be a train delay, traffic, or a car breakdown like a flat tire. If the delays are severe enough, the day may be over before the issue on the road is resolved.
  • Illness. Whether your employee has a fever or their child is home with a stomach bug, illness is a valid excuse to call out of work.
  • Weather. A bad snowstorm, heavy rain, or another weather event may create unsafe conditions for commuting or inhibit your employees’ ability to perform any work outdoors.
  • Oversleeping. Alarms can fail to chime for many reasons, and oversleeping long enough can cause some employees to take the day off instead.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right time and attendance solution for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

Good excuses for missing work

Time and attendance are certainly key metrics for employee performance, but you may hear from employees that they need to take time off to handle personal matters. These are some good reasons to miss work:

  • Health maintenance. Going to a doctor’s appointment, undergoing a health screening, and suffering a flare-up of a chronic illness are some valid and important reasons for an employee to miss work.
  • Family obligations. Tending to a family member could involve various tasks that require an employee to miss work, such as attending a parent-teacher conference or taking an elderly parent to the doctor.
  • A home emergency that needs attention. If a pipe bursts or the roof begins to leak, for example, your employee needs to take care of it as soon as possible.
  • Delivery or service window. Sometimes, scheduling a furniture delivery or cable installation during work hours is unavoidable. If this is not a frequent occurrence and you are notified in advance, this is an acceptable reason for your employee to take the day off.
  • Use of PTO. If your company offers paid time off, whether in the form of vacation days or family and sick leave, your employees are entitled to use it within the boundaries of your established PTO policy . Some companies offer unlimited PTO, but an employee must still clear the time off with their manager, of course.

While letting an employee take one day off unexpectedly might impact short-term productivity, the long-term benefit of improved employee morale and reduced turnover can save your business money.

Strange, unusual or bad excuses for missing work

Of course, your employees will occasionally call out unexpectedly. While illness and car trouble tend to be among the most common explanations, it’s excuses like having to prepare for their pet’s birthday or needing to finish binge-watching their favorite television show that gives employers pause. Here are some atypical excuses employers we interviewed have heard from their employees.

Going on the lam

Michael Reznik, CEO of TriFold, said the strangest excuse he ever received from an employee for missing work was because he had lost faith in the legal system and needed to go “on the lam.” 

While the excuse seemed ridiculous on the surface, Reznik said that after further questioning, the employee said he had previously testified against some men, which resulted in them being sent to prison. The employee found out the men were getting out on early parole and was afraid of retribution. 

“At first, I wasn’t sure how to handle it,” Reznik said. “It seemed a little far-fetched, but at the same time, I do care about my employees’ health and safety. I also had to consider other employees’ safety. If some ‘rough’ guys were going to come to our office looking for him, I really didn’t want him to be here.” 

In the end, Reznik accepted the excuse, and the employee returned to work after a few days. A few months later, he gave the same excuse, left, and never returned to work.

A death in the family – of the same person several times over

A death in the family is a perfectly legitimate excuse for missing work. The same family member dying multiple times is a different story. Ola Wlodarczyk, an HR specialist at Zety, once had an employee who called in on three different occasions with the excuse that their grandmother had died. 

“It was obvious the employee was not telling the truth, but we had to be strategic in our response,” Wlodarczyk said. 

After the employee returned from their “bereavement” leave, they were brought into the HR office and confronted with the situation. Wlodarczyk said they were straightforward with the employee, showing them all the previous requests and reasons, including the other grandmother-death excuses, for calling out of work. 

“The employee went completely white,” she said. “Still, we gave the employee a chance to tell us their side of the story. Of course, it’s possible someone misspoke, or even categorizes someone as a close family member in this way, so we gave them a chance to tell their side of the story before disciplining them.” 

In the end, the employee admitted that none of their relatives had recently passed away. In addition, Wlodarczyk said they discovered a litany of other false excuses that the employee had made up for missing work. 

“It was very eye-opening but a learning experience,” Wlodarczyk said. “If we would have gone in and reprimanded the person off the bat, then we would not have uncovered these other lies. So, in the long run, keeping cool certainly helped us.” 

Even when an employee is caught red-handed, offer them the opportunity to defend themselves. Always remain calm and fair, and document everything related to the incident(s).

An unusual injury

In a situation that seems right out of “The Office,” Richard Pummell, HR lead for DevelopIntelligence, had an employee call in sick because she had burned her feet. Although this didn’t occur on a George Foreman Grill, a la Michael Scott, it was related to cooking. 

When the employee returned to work the next day, Pummell said many of the theories he had devised about how exactly her accident occurred were dispelled. 

“Unfortunately, the poor woman truly had been cooking dinner barefoot when a large pot of oil she was using for frying splashed hot oil onto her feet as she was moving it,” he said. “It had required a trip to the emergency room and the application of some bandages.” 

Unfortunately, that was just the first of the food-related injuries to befall this employee. 

“It wasn’t too long after that she called in sick on another Monday,” Pummell said. “She’d slipped on a banana peel and had a bad back.” 

Wild but true excuses for missing work

While some outrageous excuses are obviously made up, others are too ridiculous not to be true.

Multi-cause traffic incident

BJ Enoch, vice president of enterprise accounts for SocialSEO, said that on the morning of an important client meeting, one of his team members texted that he couldn’t make it in that morning because he was stuck in traffic after someone hit a deer and their car had caught on fire. 

“I’d never had a reason to doubt this team member before and wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but this was just a bit too much,” Enoch said. 

Despite his doubts and wanting more answers, Enoch was in the middle of texting the employee to be safe when he received a follow-up message that included a picture of a car in the middle of the highway, on fire, with a deer on the side of the road. 

“We chalked it up as uncontrollable, and he made the hours up,” Enoch said. 

A birthday party for a four-legged pal

Shawn Breyer, owner of Sell My House Fast Atlanta, said he had an employee take off for their dog’s birthday because they had to get the party ready. 

“As weird as the idea was, they brought in pictures from the party,” Breyer said. “They had invited all of their friends and dogs over to the house and actually threw a party.” 

Goats gone wild

A herd of goats traipsing through a house is an excuse most couldn’t even fathom giving. However, that’s one Kyle Birkemeier had to give his employer while working abroad. 

“I had goats and had to call off work when I came home to find that someone had let them into the house, and they pooped on everything,” he said. “My supervisors sure found it hilarious, and eventually, I did as well.” 

When do excuses for missing work cross the line?

While you may shrug off one outrageous excuse as an abnormality, you have a problem when it starts becoming a regular occurrence. 

Jean Paldan, founder and CEO of Rare Form New Media, said she hired someone who gave ridiculous excuses for missing work right from the start of their employment. On what was supposed to be his first day, the new employee called to say his apartment flooded. The next day, his mother, who he said had dementia, had supposedly wandered off, and he had to find her. Over the next four weeks, the employee claimed he couldn’t make it to work because he couldn’t find his medication, he had norovirus, and he had to be with his pregnant girlfriend, even though it was later determined she wasn’t pregnant. 

“We at first thought that he was just having a bad time of it with the flood and his mother, then catching the norovirus, and we were supportive,” Paldan said. “However, he started to flounder and forgot which lie he had told, and that’s when we realized he was a pathological liar. At that point, we decided to let him go.” 

Needing to take a nap, having to participate in a peaceful Armenian revolution, not wanting to deal with “mean girl” co-workers, and forgetting it was Monday were some of the other uncommon excuses HR reps and bosses said they have received over the years. 

How to handle outrageous excuses for missing work

To deal with employees who provide crazy excuses for missing work, it is critical that managers address the situation, according to HR consultant Deborah Woolridge. It is important to address all the reasons for the employee continuing to miss work, even legitimate ones. 

Woolridge said having discussions with the employee gives employers a better understanding of what is going on. The employee could be having a personal issue or looking for another job. Woolridge said confronting the situation lets the employee know that their absences aren’t going unnoticed. 

When a crazy explanation is given, Woolridge said managers should document the situation. 

“Managers should keep track by keeping notes with date and time and explanation,” she said. “In the past, when I have provided an absence report to employees, or lateness report, I found they were legitimately shocked by the frequency of the lateness.” 

Failure to address the situation could have a long-lasting impact on your entire organization. 

“A company might quickly want to nip ongoing excuses in the bud, because if not addressed, it taints the workplace culture and creates issues with other employees who see this person as getting away with the excuse,” Woolridge said. 

When it comes to punishment, companies will likely treat the situation differently. Some might discipline the employee, while others may terminate the employee if they are seeing a pattern of not-so-believable reasons for missing work. Established policies that address absences and tardiness can help employers navigate these situations, according to Woolridge. 

“You should follow your policy, because if you do not, it is not worth having and [it] creates more issues,” she said.

How to track and manage employees missing work

  • Categorize excused and unexcused absences. In your attendance policies , you may want to differentiate between excused absences, like illness, and unexcused absences, like a dog birthday party. While an exhaustive list of potential reasons for unexcused absences may not be possible, you can set clear guidelines about the importance of excused absences over unexcused absences.
  • Establish clear (and plentiful) sick leave and personal time. If an employee only has the minimally required sick leave and personal time, that simply may not be enough to cover all the life happenings that occur in a year. If this is the case at your company, consider revising your policy to be more favorable for employees.
  • Ask for advance notice. Set a policy that your employees must give advance notice (when possible) if they need to take time off. For example, if they know a few weeks in advance that they’ll be undergoing a medical procedure, they should give their manager those few weeks of notice.
  • Track time and attendance. Good time and attendance software can track who will be at work and when, helping you schedule for adequate staffing and make sure that no employee is abusing company policy.

Stella Morrison contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

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The best excuses for missing work

Matthew Broderick stars in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. (Paramount Pictures)

Editor’s Note (23 October, 2014): The top of this story has been updated to reflect a recent CareerBuilder study about the most common excuses offered for missing work.

In true Hollywood movie style, Ferris Bueller went to great lengths to schedule his own day off. But do you have the guile and skills to take a duvet day without getting caught?

Pulling a sickie, taking a mental health day or just finagling a day away from your desk has become quite an art form for some ingenious employees. Case in point: the manager who told jobs website CareerBuilder an employee called in sick because they “caught their uniform on fire by putting it in the microwave to dry”.

In the last year, 28% of employees in the US have called in sick to work, even though they were perfectly healthy, according to a survey commissioned by CareerBuilder. The survey, released 23 October, polled more than 3,000 workers and more than 2,200 hiring managers and HR professionals. The reasons varied: 30% said they just didn’t feel like going to work, 29% wanted a day to relax and 19% wanted to catch up on sleep.

But, what was most telling was the over-the-top excuses employees gave for calling in sick. Among them, according to CareerBuilder, were employee who said they “woke up in a good mood and didn’t want to ruin it” and one who reportedly “had a lucky night and didn’t know where he was”.

Earlier this year, we went to question and answer site Quora to find some of the best excuses for taking a day off . Don’t get any ideas — your boss might be reading this, too. Oh, and according to the CareerBuilder study, some 31% of employers have followed up to see if an employee was telling the truth and 18% of respondents said they’ve fired an employee for pulling a sickie.

Nevertheless, here are some of the very best excuses for a sick day, from Quora readers.

Moniker mix-up

Caroline Zelonka cleverly manoeuvred her way out of an all-day departmental ‘symposium’ that started at 8am on a Saturday. 

“Naturally, I did not want to go, but attendance was mandatory. Come Saturday morning, I REALLY didn't want to go because I had stayed out very late on Friday drinking and carousing,” she wrote. “Then I thought of it: the magical excuse. There are two similarly-named hotels in downtown San Francisco: the Sir Francis Drake and the St Francis. And my boss, who wasn't exactly detail-oriented, had mixed them up a few times when talking about the event. “

Zelonka hatched her plan. “I went back to sleep and then on Monday, I claimed (very earnestly) I had shown up at the St Francis, asked around, and no one there had heard of any room or area reserved for my company. They totally bought it!”

Get squeamish

Clever  Jennifer Miller has a few more tricks up her sleeve. She wrote “I always say food poisoning. It’s something that’s typically gone in 24 hours and doesn't warrant you getting a doctor’s note. For male bosses just mention ‘ovary’ or ‘uterus’ and you are pretty much given a pass.”

Robby Ballard suggested the best excuse for a planned absence, say, one you know you want to take a week or two ahead but can’t get approval for a day off,  “is by claiming a colonoscopy” appointment.

Mother Nature’s manifest

Julie Hume opted for a more exotic tale of woe and wrote that her favourite all-time excuse was “..the typhoon broke all the windows and I need to get them repaired.”

Don’t dishonour the non-dead

An anonymous contributor added: “feigning a death in the family is probably a bad idea.” You “can only use it so many times before you run out of 'family members’. It is a lot easier to pretend to be sick than to pretend to be saddened by a death in the family,” the contributor wrote. What’s more, “obituaries are almost always posted online now. If your boss does his research he can easily catch on.”

Honest excuse

Some Quora readers advocate honesty as the best policy. Marie Stein suggested people “skip the excuses”. She wrote: “If you feel the need to lie about it, just don't.  Just say you need a day or took a day for personal reasons. (Even if it's for an interview or a mental health day).”

“Let someone know, as soon as you know you will be a no-show. ‘Something came up, it's personal, I'm sorry, I can't really talk about it. I should be back tomorrow.’,” she suggested.  “And express your apologies… to the person or persons who are most inconvenienced by your failure to show.”  

Can you top these excuses? Share your thoughts and experiences on BBC Capital's Facebook page or message us on Twitter @BBC_Capital

Quora respondents are required to use their true names under the site’s Real Names policy. To help ensure legitimacy and quality, Quora asks some individuals, such as doctors and lawyers, to confirm their expertise.

excuses for missing work family issues

Develop Good Habits

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.”

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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.

fake excuses to get out of work | great excuses to miss work on short notice | good excuses to miss work on short notice reddit

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 to miss work text message | really unusual sick day excuses | family emergency excuses

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 .

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Good and Bad Excuses for Missing Work

The Best and Worst Excuses for Getting Out of Work

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  • Common Reasons for Missing Work

Good Excuses for Missing Work

Coming in late or leaving early, tips for giving an excuse, worst excuses for missing work, write a good excuse note or email.

  • What Can Happen if You Lie

Be Careful About Social Media

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 40% of workers took a fake sick day during 2017, the most recent year for which data was available. That was up from 35% the previous year.  

We could speculate about why workers feel compelled to call in sick when they’re well. But, the most important thing to you, the potential malingerer reading this article, is to protect yourself from the negative repercussions of faking a sick day. The best way to do that is to be honest—or as honest as you possibly can be, under the circumstances.

The best excuses for getting out of work are truthful ones. Everyone needs a day off now and then. Before you assume that you need a more fanciful explanation, examine your real reasons and ask yourself if they’re legitimate. The list below can give you a sense of what’s acceptable.

And then, for contrast, read on for some truly terrible excuses for missing work. (Hint: llama-related reasons are typically not persuasive to managers.)

Most Common Reasons for Missing Work

CareerBuilder reports that some of the most common reasons for missing work include:  

  • Traffic - 51%
  • Oversleeping - 31%
  • Bad weather - 28%
  • Too tired - 23%
  • Forgetting something - 13%

If you are concerned about using the "I need a sick day" excuse too many times and want to be creative, here are some work excuses that might work when you need a reason to take time off from your job:

  • Appointments  (financial planner, accountant, lawyer, etc.)
  • Babysitter problems
  • Car troubles
  • Child has to get a physical  (for school or sports)
  • Colonoscopy  (nobody wants to question that)
  • Death in the family  (be careful not to use frequently)
  • Delivery  (appliances or other major purchase)
  • Doctor or dentist appointment
  • Family emergency  (you don't need to share details)
  • Family illness  (child, elderly parent, other family member)
  • Furnace needs emergency repairs
  • Leaky pipes
  • Medical procedures
  • Medical tests
  • School closed
  • New baby in the family

You may need to come up with a different excuse if you're going to be late or want to leave work early. The best excuses for being late to work are simple and common – think weather or traffic. The best excuses for leaving early include professional pursuits, like networking events, or personal obligations, like volunteer work.

As we’ve said, honesty is the best policy when it comes to giving excuses for getting out of work. However, if the reason you need a day off isn't acceptable for an excused absence , one of the reasons listed above may be one you can use.

Don’t go into an elaborate explanation – the longer the excuse, the more likely your employer is to think you are lying, and the less likely you will be able to remember it. Also, be sure to tell your boss about your absence as soon as possible.

If you know you'll need to take time off, mention it to your boss ASAP.

The best way to do this is by calling the office as soon as possible, or emailing your boss , especially if you’re calling in sick . If your company has a particular policy for calling in, be sure to follow those guidelines.

There are some reasons you should never give for calling in sick. An earlier survey from CareerBuilder listed some of the most absurd reasons for calling in, including the following:  

  • The employee said the ozone in the air flattened his tires.
  • The employee’s pressure cooker had exploded and scared her sister, so she had to stay home.
  • The employee had to attend the funeral of his wife’s cousin’s pet because he was an uncle and pallbearer.
  • The employee was blocked in by police raiding her home.
  • The employee had to testify against a drug dealer, and the dealer’s friend mugged him.
  • The employee said her roots were showing, and she had to keep her hair appointment because she looked like a mess.
  • The employee ate cat food instead of tuna and was deathly ill.
  • The employee said she wasn’t sick, but her llama was.
  • The employee had used a hair remover under her arms and had chemical burns as a result. She couldn’t put her arms down by her sides due to that.
  • The employee was bowling the game of his life and couldn’t make it to work.
  • The employee was experiencing traumatic stress from a large spider found in her home. She had to stay home to deal with the spider.
  • The employee said he had better things to do.
  • The employee ate too much birthday cake.
  • The employee was bitten by a duck.

Many companies require some kind of formal excuse note whenever you have an absence, such as a sick day or a vacation day.

Keep the note brief and professional. Review sample absence letters before you write your note. In the letter, state when and why you were off – or are planning to be. If you send a note ahead of your absence, include whether you have asked coworkers to take over any tasks.

While you might be tempted to go over your symptoms to prove you really were sick, ignore the urge and just be straightforward. Resist the urge to apologize, either for being sick or for the inconvenience.

Mention if/when you will be available. If you are sending your note in advance of your absence, it's a good idea to share if you will be available, and the best way to reach you. We live in a smartphone era, which means that many people are constantly checking email (even when they're sitting in a paper gown in the doctor's office). Specify if you will be checking your email, and how frequently. You might write, "I'll be checking my email occasionally" or "I'll be largely away from my email but do not hesitate to call me if there is an emergency."

Send your note promptly. If you are sending it the day of an absence, send the email in the morning, before the official start time at your company.

What Can Happen if You Get Caught in a Lie

Do keep in mind that, even if you use what you think is a good excuse, being dishonest can cost you your job if you're caught.

Don't think that your employer won't check up on you. There is always a chance that they will. CareerBuilder's survey reports that 38% of employers who responded have checked up on an employee to confirm their excuse for missing work. Some employers have asked to see a doctor’s note, and others have called the employee to check in on them. Some have even driven to the employee’s house.

If you don’t tell your boss the truth, be very careful about using social media . According to CareerBuilder’s survey, 43% of employers surveyed have caught an employee lying about being sick by checking their social media. Double-check your privacy settings so you are aware of who can see what you post.

Even if you're careful about privacy though, don't post a status, message, or photo that contradicts what you told your boss. Your boss might not see it, but if you're friends with other people at work, it could easily get back to your manager if you're not out of the office for the reason you gave.

The Bottom Line

Honesty Is the Best Policy: If you don’t lie, you can’t get caught. Ask yourself if your real reason for being absent is sufficient.

Notify Your Manager Right Away: Call or email your boss ASAP and let them know that you’ll be out. Review company policy for requirements.

Don’t Give TMI: You don’t need to provide a lot of detail when making your excuse, especially if your reason is personal.

Stay Off Social Media: Especially if you do choose to stretch the truth, resist the urge to post during your absence. Even if your privacy settings are locked up, word may get out.

  • Best and Worst Excuses for Being Late to Work
  • Good (and Bad) Excuses to Leave Work Early
  • Sample Absent Excuse Letters for Missing Work
  • Sample Absence Excuse Letters and Emails for Work
  • Sample Sickness Excuse Letters and Emails
  • How to Call in Sick to Work
  • Sick Day Email Message Examples and Writing Tips
  • Missing Work Excuse Email and Letter Examples
  • Excuses You Can Use to Take Time Off for a Job Interview
  • Excused Absence From Work
  • Absenteeism in the Workplace
  • Can You Get Fired for Calling in Sick?
  • What Are Excused Absences?
  • Letter Example for Missing Work for a Doctor Appointment
  • Absenteeism Is When Employees Don't Come to Work
  • What Is Job Abandonment?

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34 Best Excuses to Get Out of Work (Or Miss Work)

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Learn how to ace your interview with superior confidence.

excuses for missing work family issues

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 to miss 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.

good excuses to miss work

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.

best excuses to miss work for 2022

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!

good excuses to miss work

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?”

good excuses to miss work

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?”

good excuses to miss work

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 .

good excuses to miss work

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.

good excuses to miss 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,

author: patrick algrim

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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Career Sidekick

12 Best Excuses to Miss Work (Last Minute/Short Notice)

By Biron Clark

Published: November 1, 2023

Biron Clark

Biron Clark

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.

Being Hungover

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.

Bad Planning

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.

Work Conflicts

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.

Biron Clark

About the Author

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41 Legitimate Excuses You Can Use to Miss Work Today (Text + Email)

Sometimes life gets in the way of work and we need to call in to miss work at a moments notice. I don’t think you should feel bad about this either as long as you don’t do it too frequently. After all, life has a funny way of throwing a wrench in our plans.

I for instance had a medical emergency last month that I didn’t expect to miss out on work for a few days. I was asked by the doctor to rest extensively so that the hospital staff could better observe/diagnose what was happening to me. I had no choice but to excuse myself and adhere to the doctor’s orders.

The following is a list of some of the situations you may find yourself in. I share a list of legitimate excuses you can use in each scenario to get out of work for a day or even a week if needed.

Legitimate Excuses for Missing Work

Text messages to missing work, email message examples for missing work, are there any bad excuses you should avoid using when calling into work.

  • How often is it acceptable to miss work on short notice at work?

Family emergency

I have to bring my mom to the hospital for a checkup. My sister canceled on her leaving me as her only other option for a ride to the doctor.

Boss, I am currently suffering from a terrible migraine and won’t be able to come in today for work. I’ll come back as soon as I get well and will provide a status update tomorrow morning.

Sick with covid

Good morning. My ongoing runny nose and fever turned out to be more than I thought. I tested positive for covid in a local hospital and was advised by the doctors to isolate and rest for for a few days so I don’t expose my coworkers. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to come in for a few days until I get better and test negative for the virus. I plan to work from home the rest of the week.

prevent drug use

Sometimes you just need to call in.

Car broke down

As I was on my way back home earlier, my car suddenly broke down and I had to bring it to a repair shop immediately. The diagnosis is a dead battery and I expect to be able to return to work tomorrow at the usual start time.

Child is sick

My son missed out on school today due to flu-like symptoms. I was hoping to attend to him and make sure he gets well soon. Unfortunately, my partner also works outside the home and won’t be able to make it.

Child has a play or performance at school

My daughter will play Maid Marian in their school’s rendition of Robin Hood this coming Friday. I may have to accompany her and drive her to the play as my wife would be out of town for work.

Pet has doctor appointment

I’ve told you about Parsley right?! He’s not been noticing his food since yesterday, I think he’s been having stomach issues lately and I need to take him to the vet. I’m hoping it’s nothing major and expect to return to the office tomorrow.

Waiting for a package

I have an important package coming in today that needs my signature in order to be delivered successfully. I’m getting the new iPhone 14 delivered and must be at home to sign for it.

Related Reading: 167+ Positivity Quotes to Give You a Boost at Work and Life 

Need to sign a document

I won’t be able to come in tomorrow for work because an important property sale needs my signature on the paper to commence. If I miss this signing I won’t be able to purchase my first home.

Donating time to charity

Hi Ma’am, I apologize but I won’t be able to be in today for work. Some friends and I are scheduled to visit a local charity today for the benefit of the victims of Hurricane Ian. Thank you so much for giving us the time to give back to the community.

Natural disaster

I don’t know if you have heard on the news, but Soda Springs has been experiencing record snowfall the past couple of days. I won’t be able to report for work today since our driveway has also been blocked by one and a half feet of snow. I plan to work from home the next couple days.

Hi Greg, I’m afraid I won’t be able to come in for work today, I got into an accident after exiting interstate 95, and my car was heavily damaged. The paramedics are attending to me right now and hopefully there is no serious health issue. I’ll keep you updated on my status, but I expect to be out the rest of the week.

Special occasion

I’m afraid I won’t be able to report to work today. I was suddenly invited and substituted as the best man at my friend’s wedding. Apparently, his brother had a work emergency and had to excuse himself from this important celebration. I apologize for the short notice.

A close friend died this morning and I’m afraid I won’t be able to come in today. Therese has been a family friend for over 30 years and we plan to go to their house to console her family and help plan the funeral.

excuses for missing work family issues

Will the boss believe this?

Trevor, I’m having a problem at home right now. Am I permitted to take the day off? If this weren’t an urgent situation, I wouldn’t ask.

Hello, I wouldn’t be asking if you didn’t need to. However, I’m not feeling well today. May I take a day off for mental health?

Hi Carol – I’m starting to feel really exhausted. Can I skip work today and make up for it tomorrow?

Hello Jean, I’m feeling under the weather today and don’t think I’ll be able to finish my task efficiently. I’ll have to skip work today and return as soon as I feel better.

Ben, I apologize but I need to take the day off because I’m not feeling well. I’ll be returning to work tomorrow.

Hello Laura, I need a day off today because I started feeling sick last night and haven’t gotten any better lately.

Related Reading: 181+ Wellness Slogan Ideas to Feel Better at Work 

HR: My doctor has advised that I take the day off because I have a cold. I’ll be returning to work by tomorrow.

Hello. Please excuse me from work today. The doctor I saw confirmed that I have the flu.

Hello Sandy, I need to take the day off because I’m terribly ill. I’m hoping to feel good tomorrow so I can go back to work.

Hi, Mike. Due to an unforeseen sickness, I won’t be able to come in today or tomorrow. It literally hit me like a ton of bricks.

Hi Dan, I may not be able to come in today. It rained so hard last night, water came into our house and flooded the ground floor. We have to take care of this right now to save the basement.

Sir, my apologies but I won’t be able to make it to work today, overnight snow has frozen shut my garage making me unable to access my vehicle

Good morning Neal, I suffered a sprain yesterday while cleaning our house. It would be difficult for me to walk and report for work today. I’ll rest my ankle so I can report back to work tomorrow.

Hi Dale, rolling out our newest project has made this week so much stress that I suffered a migraine. I guess going to work today won’t make me efficient and hopefully tomorrow things get better.

woman at work

I can’t do this today.

As a general rule of thumb, I don’t suggest being too detailed into the reason you need to take a day or two away from work. Every day employees call into workplaces to let them know they’ll be sick or out of the office. As long as your not going on long-term leave and aren’t on a performance improvement plan of some sort, keep the message short and to the point like each of the examples I’ve written below.

Hello Ben, sorry for my late text, but I will need to take tomorrow off due to an unforeseen sickness. I’ve gotten in touch with Nick, who can take over for me during my absence. I’m hoping to feel better and be able to go to work tomorrow.

Hello Joel, I apologize for the hurried text message, as I’m not feeling well and won’t be coming in today. Nothing urgent is scheduled for me today. Anyone who contacts me will receive a message from me in my email.

Hello Maggie! I must take a sick day today, but I’ll try to check my inbox frequently to keep track of any tasks that need to be done right away. I’ll leave a message for others in the meanwhile, and probably I’ll be back tomorrow. Thank you for your patience.

Hello Jason, I’m feeling sick and concerned that I might be getting sick, so I’m heading to the doctor. Dan is willing to fill in for me because I won’t be able to work today.

Hello Tom, I suppose I should take the day off. I’ve scheduled an appointment with the doctor since I don’t feel good. Though I’m crossing my fingers, I’ll keep you updated.

Related Reading: 137+ Funny Quotes about Stress at Work to Survive the Week

I’ll not be able to report for work today due to a key issue, causing me to take the day off for personal reasons. Please advise me if that’s feasible and if you require any other details.

Please consider this letter as official notice that I was forced to miss work yesterday due to a crisis. All of the tasks that were scheduled for this time period have already been performed, and I was reachable through phone and email at all times. If I can offer any other information, kindly let me know.

As a result of my illness, I will have to take today off in order to rest and visit the doctor. I’m hoping to feel better by tomorrow, but after my checkup, I’ll let you know how I’m doing. Craig has volunteered to take over my shift for the day in the meanwhile. I’m grateful for your patience.

I won’t be able to work tomorrow because of a personal illness. I’m going to use one of my paid sick days to recuperate and rest. I intend to frequently check my inbox over the day, but I’ll notify you immediately if things get worse and I have to completely disconnect. I’m sending an email to Jane to ask her to lead the daily check-in session I organized with the group and to assist cover for me.

Greetings Dave! I apologize but I guess I have to take a day off today. I have an urgent meeting with my agent pertaining to a property I intend to move in to so I’ll be living closer to the company. I asked Shane to cover for me in the meantime until I come back tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

Good morning sir, I would just like to inform you that I wouldn’t be able to come in for work today. An emergency meeting was called up by our lawyers regarding our dispute with our gas provider. This will just take today and I’ll be back to work by tomorrow.

Hi Fred, due to unforeseen events, I’m afraid I won’t be able to come in for work today. The inside gutter portion of our roof gave way due to the heavy snowstorm last night. I already called up a resident carpenter to fix our roof today. I’ll be reporting back to work tomorrow first thing in the morning.

I hope you’re having a great day so far Mark. I think I won’t be coming in for work today. The local police have an update pertaining to the break-in that happened in our house last week. They think it would be helpful if we can identify persons of interest regarding this case. Hoping for your kind consideration.

messages for coworker

Don’t use these excuses.

Certainly, not all intentions can be considered as an excuse for missing out on work. These are personal things that give you enjoyment and comfort and definitely not a reason for you to miss out on work.

These personal reasons include, but aren’t limited to the following terrible excuses you should never use.

  • Hangover from the night before.
  • Wanting to watch a soccer game on television.
  • Working at a second job instead.
  • Stating that you just feel lazy today.

Finally, never be disrespectful towards your manager and in a broader sense, when writing an email or text stating you’ll miss work. Missing too many days at work does not only affect your standing and performance in the company, it could have an impact on raises and other merit increases.

How often is it acceptable to miss work on short notice?

Even the employees with exceptional attendance will need to miss a day or work due to sickness or other unexpected event. Refer to your companies employee handbook for the acceptable number of days you may be able to miss annually due to sickness or personal issues. Every workplace is a little bit different.

A lot of employers set 14 – 21 days of vacation leave which includes emergency/personal leave for the whole year. Often, an additional 5 – 10 days will be allotted for sick leave. As long as you don’t reach or exceed the number of annual sick days an employee can use, you should remain in good standing with your employer and manager assuming you’ve met expectations for your role.

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About the Author: Patrick Limdico

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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

20 Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice That Keep You out of Trouble

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

excuses for missing work family issues

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Tips and Cautions for Missing Work on Short Notice

excuses for missing work family issues

  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!

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IMAGES

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COMMENTS

  1. Family Emergency Excuses: 12 Good Reasons to Miss Work

    Download Article The most believable family excuses for time off at the last minute Co-authored by Amber Rosenberg, PCC and Bailey Cho Last Updated: August 27, 2023 Fact Checked Need a reason to leave work or school or get out of an event? Family emergencies are perfect if you need time off because they don't require much detail (most of the time).

  2. 11 Good Excuses To Miss Work on Short Notice

    By Chris Kolmar Jun. 11, 2023 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.

  3. 35 Believable Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice

    Consider offering to make up for the lost time or work remotely, if possible. 3. Family Emergency. A family emergency can happen unexpectedly and needs immediate attention, making it a legitimate reason for missing work. These emergencies could be due to health issues, accidents, or other urgent matters involving a close family member.

  4. 20 Believable Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice

    1 You're not feeling well. Download Article You can't predict illness, so calling in sick is an effective excuse. Whether you're saying you've got the flu, menstrual cramps, allergies, or a stomach bug, keep your story a little vague. Most bosses won't ask detailed follow-up questions—if they do, feel free to invent some sickening details. [1]

  5. Valid Excuses for Missing Work (With Examples)

    Updated November 6, 2022 Although there's usually a policy of scheduling and applying for official leave, employers also understand the need to miss work without notice sometimes. Unplanned leave might be needed for many reasons, be they personal, health-related, or family-related.

  6. Best Excuses To Miss Work on Short Notice

    However, they may consider such information as mental health issues or family matters sensitive and only ask how much time you need to sort out the issue. 4. Unexpected Circumstances ... You need to be honest when giving an excuse for missing work. If you're not open, you may develop a habit of coming up with non-existing excuses to miss work ...

  7. Best Excuses for Missing Work

    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

  8. 6 Good Excuses to Miss Work

    Career strategists say the worst excuses for missing work are things you could control, like not getting enough sleep. iStock. There are good and bad reasons to miss a workday. Career strategists ...

  9. Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice: Tips and Tricks

    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.

  10. The Best & Worst Excuses for Missing Work

    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.

  11. 10 [Legitimate] Family Emergency Excuses: Real Examples to Miss Work

    1. Illness or Injury 2. Family Member on Life Support or Death 3. Car Accident 4. Childcare Issues 5. Household emergency How do you say you have a family emergency? For many people, privacy is foremost and they don't want to delve into all of the details. However, you must contact your employer as soon as possible.

  12. Best and Worst Excuses to Get Out of Work

    Health maintenance. Going to a doctor's appointment, undergoing a health screening, and suffering a flare-up of a chronic illness are some valid and important reasons for an employee to miss work. Family obligations.

  13. Excuse Letter for Missing Work Due to Family Matter

    Why you need the time off How you can distribute urgent tasks to coworkers If you need to postpone or cancel appointments If you can be available by phone or e-mail while you are gone If your employer requires a letter from a doctor or other documentation What to Include in Your Excuse Letter The dates and number of days you will miss work

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    Honest excuse. Some Quora readers advocate honesty as the best policy. Marie Stein suggested people "skip the excuses". She wrote: "If you feel the need to lie about it, just don't. Just say ...

  15. Excuses for Missing Work (20+ Believable Reasons)

    Sample message I am extremely sorry for missing work. I know it is important to come to work and I know I have let down my colleagues and the rest of the company. I had an emergency call from my lawyer about a sensitive issue. I didn't know it could take much of my time and by the time I was done, it was too late.

  16. 19 of the Best Excuses to Miss Work

    7. Home emergency. Especially if you own your home, there are always unexpected issues to take care of. If a pipe bursts or your basement is flooding, you need to deal with it now. Tell your boss the situation: "I woke up to a flooded basement so I have to be here when the workers arrive.". 8. Mental health issue.

  17. 31 Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice (EXAMPLES)

    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.

  18. 5 of the Best Reasons To Miss Work (And 4 of the Worst)

    1. Illness If you're not feeling well, it's best not to go to work. Not only can working while ill worsen your condition, but if you're contagious, you could also infect your coworkers.

  19. Good and Bad Excuses for Missing Work

    Worst Excuses for Missing Work. There are some reasons you should never give for calling in sick. An earlier survey from CareerBuilder listed some of the most absurd reasons for calling in, including the following: . The employee said the ozone in the air flattened his tires. The employee's pressure cooker had exploded and scared her ...

  20. 34 Best Excuses to Get Out of Work (Or Miss Work)

    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.

  21. 12 Best Excuses to Miss Work (Last Minute/Short Notice)

    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.

  22. 41 Legitimate Excuses You Can Use to Miss Work Today (Text + Email)

    Legitimate Excuses for Missing Work. Family emergency. I have to bring my mom to the hospital for a checkup. My sister canceled on her leaving me as her only other option for a ride to the doctor. ... employee handbook for the acceptable number of days you may be able to miss annually due to sickness or personal issues. Every workplace is a ...

  23. 20 Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice That Keep You ...

    02 Lack of Childcare If you have children, this excuse is one of the best out of all the good excuses to miss work on short notice! Simply let your employer know your childcare provider has told you they'll be unavailable on the day you want to miss work. Why It Works All parents can agree, childcare is problematic sometimes.

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    JPMorgan Is in a Fight Over Its Client's Lost $50 Million Fortune. The bank claims it was acting on an investor's wishes to take risks. His family, and doctors, say he was slipping into dementia ...