Everyone needs to take an unexpected day off work at some point in their lives (or you just can’t get out of bed). Most supervisors like to get a bit of notice when you are 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.
This is one of the trickiest situations because the best excuse is only sometimes the truth. You can give a reason for missing work that is close to reality to make your employer satisfied.
So, below is a list of the best excuses to miss work:
- Doctor or Dentist Appointment
This is the number one excuse you can give your boss. Anyone who has ever experienced a serious toothache or anyone who has ever seen someone experience a serious toothache will always understand this excuse. You have to make it appear to be real that you had a serious toothache that made you seek emergency medical attention hence missing work. Having a toothache or any other medical problem is something normal and everyone can be sick. A general doctor visit note can also be helpful in such a situation.
- House emergency
A broken boiler or a flooded bathroom can also work as an excuse. Things break down all the time and it’s not safe to leave a sparking fridge unattended – your boss will have to understand that. You can easily claim to have a house emergency and expect your boss to be nice about it.
- 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 of work. 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 work 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.
- Family emergency
If you have children, then you can usually get away with telling there’s a family emergency and you have to deal with it. Children getting sick or requiring extra attention can work – even if you don’t actually need to stay at home with them every time.
You can also excuse yourself from work if your parents or spouse have had a serious health problem. However, you definitely don’t want to start lying too much here or draw in your cousins to the lies – remember to have some honesty and believability for the excuse to be good.
- Appointments (Lawyer, Accountant, etc.)
Professional appointments are inevitable in life and your employer may be able to understand if you missed work for an unavoidable appointment with your lawyer or accountant. All you have to do is to give a genuine reason why it was more important to see your lawyer than report to work. You also have to explain in your letter why you couldn’t do it on your off days.
- Car troubles
Car breakdowns happen to everyone and your employer can understand if you give this as an excuse for missing work. With some proof to show that you actually had car troubles, your boss might understand and pardon you.
- Unexpected circumstances out of your control
This 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.
- Delivery of a major purchase
Major deliveries require someone to be home to accept them. Fridges, furniture and the like can’t be left on the side of the door and you can use these occasions as an excuse to not go to work. It’s not always possible to organize the delivery outside of your work hours anyway so it’s a believable excuse – even if you are actually just waiting for a book delivery!
- Traffic Jam
Sometimes we get stuck in traffic for a couple of hours. Before you give your boss an excuse for a traffic jam make sure there was actually a traffic jam on the specific route you used because your boss can actually confirm. Or, if you’re in London, you can usually use strikes or protests as a good excuse.
- Medical tests
Medical tests are part of life. This should not mean that you need to go for medical tests during work days. Before you give it as an excuse, make sure to give a reasonable reason why you chose to go for medical tests during work days.
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 who needs your help taking care of an accident is an all valid excuse.
Things like car crashes, injuries, or anything else that requires your immediate attention all fit into this category.
- Food poisoning
This is an effective excuse because almost everyone can relate to an experience of food poisoning. It’s embarrassing, unpleasant, and not the sort of thing that garners a lot of follow-up questions.
Absolutely perfect for a last-minute excuse to call out of work.
- 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.
Migraine can cause significant pain for hours or even days. Giving out this as an excuse can really save you. Make sure you state in your excuse letter that the migraine was severe and couldn’t allow you to work.
- Child’s doctor’s appointment
Only give this as an excuse if your employer knows that you have a child under your roof. This will sound genuine and he will definitely understand.
- School visit
When you give this as an excuse for missing work, you should make your employer understand that you had limited time to ask for permission and that next time, you will ask for the permission on time.
Please use these excuses to miss work responsibly
We hope you’ve enjoyed these excuses to miss work, but please don’t go overboard. We’d hate for you to get fired or anything…