The ideal life would be waking up every morning in a sunny home, ready to face the day, with a fresh pot of coffee already brewed.
However, this isn’t always the case, as the real world can be far more unpredictable. Sometimes you need some extra sleep or a family member needs your help.
In such cases, you need a good excuse for missing work on short notice. Of course, it would help if you had a convincing story that won’t raise suspicions and won’t catch anyone’s attention at work.
After all, using bad excuses to call in sick can cause your manager to question you; even worse, you may lose your job. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of examples of good excuses to call off work last-minute.
Here is a collection of foolproof excuses to get out of work at the last minute without risking getting fired.
16 Good Excuses To Miss Work On Short Notice
Below, we have some good excuses to miss work on short notice that you can use as a last-minute excuse. They are perfectly acceptable when you use them carefully and have a backup plan for getting back to work and delegating duties.
1. You’re Feeling Sick
An actual sickness is one of the best excuses for calling out of work. If you’re unwell and may be contagious, your employer will not want you at the workplace.
The average individual gets a cold twice a year, so missing work due to an unexplained illness shouldn’t raise too many red flags. Explain that you are not feeling well—perhaps you have food poisoning and are feeling ill.
All you have to do is let your boss know that you will return to work once you feel better. A sick day is usually a good excuse to miss work on short notice.
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2. Children’s Care Requirements
Being a parent can be challenging at times, especially for a working parent. One of the best excuses for being absent on short notice is that you have young kids!
A sick child can be an excuse at the last minute, even on the same day as your work shift. Family emergencies occur, and most employers will understand and sympathize if you call in to let them know that you have a sick child to care for.
3. You Need To Attend To A Serious Family Emergency
Family emergencies are one of the best reasons to miss work because you won’t have to answer any follow-up questions.
Tell your supervisor you need to be present for a family member because you are experiencing family problems.
Generally, people don’t want to appear nosy by asking about family problems. Also, it shows others that you’re the kind of person people can count on, which is nice.
4. There’s A Problem With Your Car
Getting to work will be impossible if you get a flat tire or your engine breaks down on the way. Even if it didn’t happen and you don’t have a broken car, it’s a good excuse.
Notify your supervisor that you need to wait for a tow truck or that your car needs a repair. However, if you can work remotely or totally from home, this explanation won’t work.
Even if you don’t drive your car to work, car trouble can be serious and take you out of work for at least a portion of your workday.
5. A Problem Has Arisen In Your Home
The regular maintenance of your property is an important reason to skip work, whether it is a leaking roof or a broken front door lock.
Things will inevitably break down. Everyone experiences it at some point. In most cases, employers understand this reason since they have likely faced similar situations in the past.
Likewise, an employer will understand if an employee needs to call off work due to a home emergency if they hear this explanation.
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6. You’re Expecting An Important Delivery
It is often necessary for someone to be present at home during major deliveries. For example, you will need to inform your supervisor that a new appliance or piece of furniture will be delivered during the day’s work.
You may also have to be available for the delivery guy for several hours at a time, which provides a great excuse to miss work.
Tell your boss that you don’t know when the delivery will take place, so you will need to take the day off.
However, if you already work from home, this is not a good excuse—especially if they’re just dropping off the package and no assembly is required.
7. You’re Suffering From Menstrual Cramps
There’s often nothing worse for a woman than terrible menstrual cramps. However, on the bright side, dealing with menstrual cramps can often be a good excuse to miss work for the day.
It is actually one of the best excuses for a short-notice absence. Tell your employer that you are experiencing painful cramps, and they most likely won’t bother to ask you any more questions.
Painful menstrual cycles are a real thing for many women and most companies would prefer not to get too involved in that.
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8. You Need To Take A Mental Health Day
Get yourself together by taking a mental health day off from work. Mental health is as important as physical health, which is crucial if you want to perform well at work.
Even if you can’t completely restore your mental health with a day off, spending time alone with yourself can help you recharge.
Let your boss know that you’d like to take a personal day to get yourself together so you can show up even better for work.
9. You Are Suffering From A Toothache
There is nothing more painful than a toothache. A severe toothache may even prevent you from eating or opening your mouth.
In addition, your work will be impacted, and you will not be able to concentrate fully. Make sure your manager or boss knows you’re dealing with a toothache. If you have an upcoming dentist appointment, mention that to them as well.
Your boss would seem terrible if they did not let you leave, given how much pain you are in. This is definitely a reasonable excuse to skip out on work at the last minute.
10. You’re Donating Blood
Donating Blood is an excellent way to help patients in need, especially those with traumatic injuries and those undergoing surgery.
One of the best parts is that you can often see a blood donation truck unexpectedly. Most people do not expect someone to return to work after giving Blood.
After donating Blood, you usually feel fatigued and have less energy. Don’t forget to ask for a doctor’s note if you really are giving Blood.
11. You’re Observing A Religious Holiday
Planning ahead may be necessary here if you want to miss work. If you’re taking a day off, make sure it happens to fall on a religious holiday.
It’s only natural that you’d want to appear as if you are celebrating this holy occasion. Plus, most supervisors aren’t going to question you about religion because it’s a part of your personal life.
This will give you the entire day off, and you can enjoy it doing whatever you’d like.
12. An Accident Of Some Kind Happened
One of the most bulletproof excuses is to say that an accident occurred. It could be something as trivial as tripping and falling or something more serious such as getting into a car accident.
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Whatever the case, this is a great excuse to miss work on short notice. Almost everyone has been in an accident, including your boss, making this one of the most reasonable excuses.
In addition, they will be sympathetic to the situation, which is always a plus.
13. Your Internet Connection Is Down
A poor internet connection is a good excuse to miss work on short notice. There’s nothing more stressful and frustrating than when you have a tight schedule or an important presentation due and your WiFi goes out.
Even if you can handle some tasks offline or schedule meetings over the phone, fixing WiFi issues can take up valuable time, especially if you need assistance.
As far as excuses to miss work go, this one is a pretty solid one to use on short notice.
14. You Have Visitors From Out-of-Town Coming To Visit
Maybe it’s true or not, but it’s on our list of solid reasons for skipping work on short notice. It’s pretty simple.
Tell your boss that you will have guests from out of town who will only be in town for a few days and will not be able to see you if you’re working.
Depending on your arrangement, you may have to accommodate them in your home or show them around, which may take the entire day, causing you to miss work.
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15. There Is No One To Watch Over Your Child
Individuals with children can use this as another good excuse. It is perfectly reasonable to skip work if no one can babysit your child or your child’s daycare is closed.
Make sure your boss knows your childcare provider will be unavailable on the day you wish to miss work. Make sure everyone else at work does not have children in the same school or daycare.
Otherwise, your cover could be blown pretty quickly!
16. Your Pet Has An Appointment Or Is Suddenly Sick
You may find that being a pet parent can be just as demanding as being a parent. While pets may need comparable attention, they also require medical treatment, which can result in people missing work, arriving late, or leaving early.
As long as the appointment isn’t an emergency, it’s wise to give early notice. There is no doubt that your boss will understand where you’re coming from, especially if they have a pet at home as well.
Bad Excuses And Common Mistakes When Calling in Sick
Now that we’ve learned all about the good excuses to miss work on short notice let’s go over some of the excuses that just won’t cut it.
These are some of the worst excuses and biggest mistakes that you can make when coming up with excuses to miss work.
1. Using The Same Excuse Over And Over
This one is a pretty common mistake that happens quite often. In the past, if you could get away with missing work for a personal illness, you might start saying that you’re sick whenever you tried to miss work in the future.
Your boss might become suspicious if you are always sick or always use the same excuse. Your job may be at risk if this continues.
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2. Going Into Lengthy Explanations
Sometimes we think that the most believable excuses are the ones that are the most detailed. However, this can actually make your situation worse and backfire on you.
To avoid forgetting something you said, you don’t want to go into too much detail in your excuse. For example, if you say your mother is having heart surgery and your boss asks about it later, you may forget what you said.
Therefore, the details should be kept short and sweet so that your boss gets enough information without you revealing too much.
3. Claiming You’re Stuck In Traffic
Even though car accidents can derail your plans and are a real downside of driving to work, it is always a good idea to check traffic before you leave and prepare appropriately.
A traffic-related excuse to skip work is a terrible one. If you didn’t end up in an accident that is preventing you from coming to work or left you injured, then your car troubles aren’t really an excuse.
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Using traffic as an excuse not to show up at all is a tired excuse that can really damage your job security.
4. You Slept In
All of us wake up once in a while and realize we’ve slept past our alarm. You either didn’t wake up when the alarm sounded, or you slept through it.
By this point, you probably feel drowsy, tired, and confused when you wake up. You might be thinking that you could just skip work and say it’s because you’re feeling tired.
Unfortunately, this is a terrible excuse. You better get up and move if you can’t think of a better excuse!
5. It’s Either Too Nice Or Too Miserable Out
Just because the weather is nice and the sun is shining doesn’t mean you can’t go to work.
A bad weather day is no different. It would help if you still attempted to get to work despite the bad weather outside and/or the snow.
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Unless the weather is life-threatening, your boss won’t want to hear that as an excuse. Likewise, your boss won’t appreciate you ditching work to enjoy a sunny beach day.
6. Your Workload Is Making You Feel Overwhelmed
The stress of having a job may be tough to deal with sometimes. It might sometimes seem overwhelming, but you cannot run away from it.
Talk to your manager if you feel overwhelmed and suffer from professional stress rather than hiding it under lame excuses to avoid work.
Additionally, if you use stress as an excuse to take time off from work, this will reflect poorly on your ability to do your job. If your manager suspects that you cannot perform the job, you could be fired.
7. Spontaneously Using An Excuse That You Would Have Known About Ahead Of Time
There are certain events that you will know about in advance. Being called to jury duty or randomly recalling that you have an appointment that day are just a few examples.
Although your boss may still grant you the time off, it won’t look good if you could have given them notice ahead of time so that they can find someone to help out during your absence.
So keep this in mind when you’re thinking of an excuse to miss work.
8. Going To An Interview For Another Job
You shouldn’t tell your employer if you need to take a day off to attend another interview.
It will immediately signal to your boss that you are no longer invested in the company, which might damage your career.
If your work schedule interferes with an interview date, then take a sick day or schedule interviews at another time to respect your current commitments.
Additionally, if a new job opportunity does not pan out, not using this excuse allows you to return to work without any issues.
Can You Get Fired For Calling In Sick?
It is never a good feeling to wake up feeling unwell in the morning. Maybe you have a sore throat and don’t know why you keep coughing so much.
Maybe you have food poisoning and cannot eat anything. Perhaps you have a bad cold and are feeling under the weather. No matter how you look at it, you obviously can’t go to work today.
The majority of employees have faced a similar situation at some point in their careers. Therefore, taking the day off when sick is pretty common practice.
However, some employers do not provide as much sick leave as others do. When that’s the case at your place of work, taking a sick day may make you feel even worse.
What do you do if your supervisor is irritated or angry at you for calling out sick? Is it okay if no one can cover your shift?
What if your supervisor terminates you because you took sick leave? Is that even legal?
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In many states throughout the U.S., work is considered to be on an “at-will” basis.
Having an at-will employment contract with an employer and working in an at-will state implies that you can be terminated at any time, for any reason.
The reverse is also true: you have the right to leave your job at any time. Even if you have no knowledge that your absence led to your termination, an angry manager may fire you if they notice that you have missed work because of your sickness.
The rights of employees vary by state, however. That being said, you’re unlikely to get fired for missing a single day of work or calling out of work on occasion – no matter where you live in the U.S.
What Are Legitimate Reasons For Missing Work?
Occasionally, all of us need to leave our jobs at the last minute for whatever reason.
Use one of the good excuses to call off work last minute to tell your boss you won’t be in on that day, and you’ll probably get a day off without being penalized.
As we mentioned, some valid reasons for missing work can include a doctor’s appointment, family members needing your help, or simply not feeling well.
Make sure you contact your employer immediately once you know you need the day off. Avoid waiting until the last minute if at all possible. Human resources may ask for a formal email, note, or phone call explaining your absence.
This will be used for record-keeping. Instead, write a brief email explaining why you’ll be away and assure your boss that everything will be taken care of once you’re back.
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Be ready to answer any follow-up questions your boss asks after you get back to work. You don’t have to be suspicious when this happens.
Follow-up questions mean your boss cares enough to see if things are going well, especially if you called in sick or with a family emergency.
You shouldn’t have a problem calling in sick if you are honest with your boss, have a good reason, and infrequently call out.