When You Need to Call Out of Work: Good and Bad Excuses for Missing Work

7 min read
Lazy day for woman in casual clothes that lying down at home on the bednear laptop

At some point in our career, we had phoned in sick and missed work. Several reasons may prevent us from going to work. For example, car issues, a sick child, a doctor’s appointment, and severe weather are all valid and good excuses to miss work. In fact, even people who are currently in a remote work set-up might have to call out of work. They may need some time off from all the challenges related to simultaneously handling household chores and office work.

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With the current pandemic, calling off work is okay, but you may be required to explain your absence. If you have a good excuse and if you inform your employer immediately, then they will be more understanding and considerate.

Top Excuses for Work Absence

Some of the most common excuses for missing work include sickness, family emergencies, car troubles, bad weather, and meetings. Most companies offer paid sick leaves to cover employees’ sickness, family needs, and health-related concerns. For scheduled appointments such as childbirth, surgeries, and client meetings, employers require an advance notice.

In some cases, employees do not have a valid reason—they simply don’t feel like going to work, so they end up giving bad excuses. For example, they say they’re stuck in a traffic jam, a stray cat chewed on the wirings of their car, or their laptop won’t turn on. However, because of these excuses, employers may not be as understanding as expected.

List of Good and Bad Excuses to Get Out of Work

We probably have experienced being late, or we simply want to take some time off from work. In some instances, we miss work because of good reasons. In other cases, however, our excuses are unacceptable. For example, “I overslept,” or “My cat is missing” might be the truth, but they’re not enough to justify your time off work. Although honesty is the best policy, if your excuse is as terrible as oversleeping, you may cause serious damage to your reputation or even your career.

We may be late or miss work because of valid reasons. Some examples are illnesses, death of a loved one, car trouble, and emergency child care. In any of these cases, be responsible and inform your manager about your status. Thus, you can go back to work with a clear conscience and renewed dedication.

So, what should you say to your employer when you are getting late or planning to miss work?

heavy traffic is one of the good excuses for work absence
When You Need to Call Out of Work: Good and Bad Excuses for Missing Work 1

Good Excuses to Miss Work

Here are some examples of good excuses for work absence:

Feeling Sick

When working in an office, having a terrible headache or a bad case of food poisoning may prevent you from going to work. Even if you are working from home, you may feel too sick to get out of bed and just need to rest. In this case, send an email or make a call to tell your boss that you are feeling under the weather.

Needing to Tend to Your Mental Health

Some days may be too stressful to handle work efficiently. For employees working remotely, the added stress of juggling work and household chores may take its toll on their mental health. So, if you are feeling overwhelmed because of all the work and household responsibilities; taking a mental health day is a good excuse to miss work.

Having a Family Emergency

Family emergencies sometimes happen. For example, you need to rush your sick child to a hospital, or you need to take care of an injured family member. Taking care of your sick loved ones seems a full-time job. It may require you to prepare meals, check for fever and other symptoms, or provide back rubs. When you need time to deal with family emergencies and are unable to work, you have to call off work as you take care of yourself and your family.

Suffering a Loss

Bereaving is another valid excuse to call out of work. Even though some employees may consider work as a productive distraction during this time, your work performance may not be at par with your company’s standards. For this reason, it is better if you take time to grieve before you go back to work.

Having an Appointment

An appointment with your doctor or a client is a good excuse. Sometimes this can take a good chunk of work hours or even the whole day, because of which you may ask for a day off. Thus, you can focus on your appointment without thinking about your workload.

Having a Household Emergency

A household emergency may include a leaky roof, a flooded basement, or a damaged electrical wiring. If a household emergency may need a lot of time or take a whole day to be resolved, then it will be better to take some time off to fix everything. In this way, you can deal with the emergency. Once it is fixed, you will no longer have to worry about it when you go back to work.

Experiencing Bad Weather

During bad weather, in-office workers may not be able to travel to work. Even remote workers may have to call off work if they encounter power outages or internet connectivity issues because of severe weather. In this case, taking a day off may be the best solution until the situation becomes normal again.

blizzard is a valid excuse to miss work
When You Need to Call Out of Work: Good and Bad Excuses for Missing Work 2

Bad Excuses to Call Off Work

In some cases, an excuse is unbelievable. As an employee, you should not make up stories or give bad excuses. Below are some examples of bad excuses for missing work:

  • Losing your car keys or phone
  • Falling asleep on the way to work and missing your stop
  • Being locked out of the house and waiting for a locksmith to open the door
  • Experiencing heavy traffic or bad weather that can be verified or disproved via a traffic or weather app
  • Being beaten up and stabbed and then spending the night in an emergency room (but went on to work the next day with just a scratch on the forehead)

Tips for Giving Good Excuses for Work

When you give an excuse, be as genuine as possible. Be simple and brief, because sometimes the more details you provide, the more complicated and unrealistic your excuse sounds. Avoid giving too much information because employers generally believe that people who lie want to validate their absence with many details.

In addition, follow your company’s policy on taking a leave. For example, call the office, send an email, or text your boss about your absence. To keep your good track record, you need to be as honest as possible. If your excuse is credible or valid, your boss may give you a day off. Thus, you don’t have to feel guilty for telling a white lie. You also maintain your credibility.

emergency call
When You Need to Call Out of Work: Good and Bad Excuses for Missing Work 3

How to Write a Good Excuse Letter for Work

Many employers require employees to submit a formal letter explaining their absence from work. How should you write a good excuse letter for work? Watch the video below for some simple tips.

To sum it up, here are some tips to heed when writing an excuse letter for work:

  • Avoid writing long stories or emails.
  • Give your boss a heads up.
  • Indicate your availability.
  • State your return-to-work date.
  • Remain professional.

heavy rain is a valid excuse to be absent from work
When You Need to Call Out of Work: Good and Bad Excuses for Missing Work 4

Samples of a Good Excuse Letter for Work

The following formats may be used as templates of a good excuse letter for work:

Format #1

Dear [Boss’ Name],

I would like to take some time off on [date] from [time] to [time] for [reason]. I can still work from [time] to [time] and plan to [your proposed activity to make up for your missed time]. However, if you think that it will be better for me to take the entire day off, I will oblige.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and I will discuss this further (or I will provide additional information).

Thank you very much.

[Your Name]

Format #2

Dear [Boss’ Name],

I would like to file a leave of absence on [date] for [reason]. I will be able to check and respond to emails or calls from [time] to [time].

Please let me know if you have any questions, and I will discuss this further (or I will provide additional information).

Thank you very much.

[Your Name]

Sample Excuse Letters

Here are some examples of good excuse letters for work:

Sample #1

Dear Mr. Rich,

I will be unable to go to work because I am down with the flu. I need a few days off and will be back as soon as possible. I’ll check my email to address urgent concerns.

Please let me know if you need further information.

Thank you very much for understanding.

Tom Joe

Sample #2

Dear Ms. Lopez,

I would like to file an emergency leave tomorrow for a swab test. Please let me know if you need supporting documents, and I will provide them for you.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Ann Galloway

Sample #3

Dear Mr. Webber,

I would like to request a two-month leave of absence from February 1 to April 1. I’ll be flying to Los Angeles to take care of my sick father. I plan to cut my trip short once we find a good caregiver.

I will check and respond to emails whenever possible.

Thank you very much.

Kayla Sanders

business worker overslept
When You Need to Call Out of Work: Good and Bad Excuses for Missing Work 5

Excuses for Work: Other Key Points to Consider

Even though you have provided good excuses to miss work, employers might still mark your absence in your profile or performance record. For this reason, avoid lying and be as honest as possible. In this way, when your boss tries to validate your excuse, they will know that you are telling the truth. For instance, your boss can call or visit you to check if you are really ill and show that they are concerned about your welfare.

Keep the following in mind when you miss work:

  • Take phone calls, especially if your boss is the caller. Unanswered phone calls may cause suspicion.
  • If you are an in-office worker, offer to work from home. Thus, you can show how responsible you are and make up for your absence.
  • Stay out of social media. For example, avoid posting vacation photos if you gave a fake sick excuse.

What if the real reason for missing work is that you have lost interest in your current job? Maybe you are no longer looking forward to going to work. And even if you are working from home, getting out of bed seems challenging. In these cases, you probably need to search for another job.

Getting your target job can be tedious, but don’t worry. You can hire experts who provide resume writing services. They can help you make a well-crafted and powerful resume. For your job search needs and career goals, here is an unbiased list of the top resume writing services. Check them out today!