Learning to deliver the best excuses to miss work on short notice is essential to uphold a positive professional reputation and remain in excellent standing with your employer. Whether it’s due to an illness, death in the family, or a last-minute emergency, missing work happens, even to the most responsible, highest achieving individuals.
Interestingly, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics actually tracks workplace absences weekly. In fact, as of the writing of this article, the months of July 2022 and April 2020 had the two highest monthly workplace absences by far since 2012. One of those was obviously due to the onset of COVID.
That said, providing good reasons verse bad excuses can go a long way to building a healthy, long-lasting, and productive relationship with your boss. Similarly, if you’re wasting time dreaming up “believable excuses,” you’re missing the mark and will probably send the wrong message.
Employers are humans; they’re empathetic and understand situations that cause you to miss work, such as a sick day, car trouble, family emergencies, vacation days, and even a mental health day, are inevitable.
What is the best excuse to miss work on little notice?
A great excuse to miss work is a real one. Acceptable reasons include a car accident, home emergency, doctor’s appointment, or a religious holiday.
As long as you have a legitimate reason, you should not hesitate to ask permission to miss work. In most cases, with a reasonable excuse, you can rest assured that your employer will listen and assist accordingly, whether it’s the last minute, short notice, or prearranged excuse.
How do you deliver an excuse to miss work?
Don’t wait, be honest, try to cover your missed hours if necessary, and keep your employer posted are the best ways to deliver notice that you’ll cut work the next day.
Here, we’ll explore legitimate reasons you can give to miss work acceptably. We’ll also discuss some tips to help you when giving reasons to miss work.
Is It a Bad Thing to Call Off Work on Short Notice?
Giving excuses to miss work can be positive or negative depending on the prevailing circumstances.
It all comes down to whether it’s inevitable to miss work and the impact on your career. If you have genuine reasons why you can’t make it to the workplace, then it’s not a bad thing, and you shouldn’t avoid the conversation and prolong the process. If you give excuses for missing work often, however, your boss may get fed up with your reasons if they’re not genuine.
Similarly, if you give vague excuses for missing work, your boss may see you as unprofessional and lacking integrity, which may bring severe consequences in the long run.
8 Best Excuses to Miss Work With Little Notice
You may not be able to report to work for various valid reasons. However, it shouldn’t be due to a lame excuse that doesn’t make sense professionally.
So, which are some of the best excuses to miss work? Below are examples of a reason to miss work on short/long notice.
1. Personal Illness
It’s impossible to predict an illness, so you have a reasonable ground to miss work on short notice when it happens. When you tell your boss to stay home, they’re less likely to raise issues. They’ll understand you can’t perform well at work when you’re sick. You may also be uncomfortable making it to the office.
Taking the day off, seeking treatment, and resting is better than reporting to work, being unproductive, and probably spreading the illness to colleagues.
Let your employer know you won’t make it to work as soon as you start feeling unwell. You may talk to them later to inform them whether you’re feeling better or still need more time to recover.
Whether you tell them you are down with flu, have menstrual cramps, stomach upsets, or any other illness, they are less likely to ask for more details. Moreover, in case they do, just come up with something and explain it to them.
2. Sick Family Member or Pet
A sick family member or pet is another valid reason to miss work. If a close family member or pet is sick, you may be responsible for helping them get treatment and taking care of them while at home.
For example, if you have a sick child, you may need to take care of them entirely. You may take time off or request your employer to let you work from home as you watch them.
Additionally, if your pet feels unwell, you may need to take them to a vet, especially if they need emergency treatment. You can excuse yourself from work, and your manager or supervisor will consider that a valid reason to miss work.
It’s also good to note that some employers may require you to present a doctor’s note once you return to work, so you have it ready when you return.
3. Personal or Family Emergency
A personal issue or a family emergency is another acceptable excuse for not going to work. Your manager may want to know more about the crisis and ask you for some details.
Some scenarios, such as your expectant spouse going into labor or an accident/sudden illness involving a close family member, can require you to miss work on short notice to be on their side.
However, not many bosses will ask for more details when you say you have a personal or family emergency. 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
Sometimes, unexpected things that are out of your control, such as an emergency situation, may happen and make it impossible for you to get to work. In such a scenario, reaching out to your boss sooner rather than later is most appropriate.
For example, if schools are closed due to bad weather and you are the only caregiver to your children, you may be forced to stay home and look after them.
Getting to work can be impossible if your car develops problems as you head to work and it’s the only available means of transport.
Additionally, if the weather is terrible, you may be unable to travel to work, which is a good excuse for staying home. Bad weather may also affect remote workers if it causes internet connectivity or power outages. In such a case, taking time off work until things stabilize is the only option; your boss will understand when you explain it to them.
5. An Appointment
Many facilities, including medical facilities, operate during regular hours. When you have an appointment in such facilities, you may need to get some time off your job if you work regular hours.
Fortunately, these appointments don’t take an entire day, and you may still work a few hours instead of taking a whole day off. Additionally, you may have time to give notice rather than telling your employer about your intent to be out of work in a few hours.
6. Household Problem
If a household problem arises unexpectedly, then that’s a valid excuse to ask for some time off work. These may include emergencies such as gas leaks, pipe burst, faulty wiring, and roofing problems.
Your boss will understand when you tell them you can’t make it to work due to such problems since they cannot be addressed later, and ignoring them can be disastrous. Just let them know about the problem as soon as you realize it. You can also tell them whether you’ll make it to work after it has been resolved instead of being absent the whole day.
7. Death of a Loved One
The death of a loved one is an acceptable excuse to take some time off work.
Fortunately, most companies have a bereavement policy allowing employees to take a few days off if a loved one passes away.
Explain what happened to your employer but don’t elaborate further if you don’t feel like doing so.
Depending on the relationship with the deceased, most organizations are flexible on the number of days the employee can miss work. It’s customary to ask for permission to miss work to attend/plan the funeral and grieve.
8. Unused Personal Day Off
Depending on the type of work you do, there can be times when it’s not possible to have your scheduled day off. There could be numerous reasons, such as covering for a coworker or your company being swamped with work.
Nevertheless, you’re still entitled to that day(s). When things return to normalcy or during slow days, you can approach your employer and schedule the day(s) that you’ll miss work. Most employers approve those requests considering the circumstances.
9. Mental Health Challenges
Sometimes you need a day to take a mental health day because it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your daily roles and responsibilities. You can find yourself exhausted when you’re constantly expected to perform your duties as an employee, a parent, a spouse, a family member, or a friend.
Most employers and good bosses will appreciate your request to take time for yourself to clear your mind, improve your sleep quality, process your emotions, promote relaxation, and reduce stress, especially if you have a high-pressure job.
The best way to avoid feeling stressed about taking a day off is to schedule a day off ahead of time, taking steps to rearrange your workload or find a replacement for the day. However, if you wake up in the morning and just feel that you can’t face the day’s stress, this may be an excellent time to take a mental health day and make the most of it.
How To Tell Your Boss That You Will Miss Work the Next Day
You must remember some things when you request last-minute time off from work, even if you have a genuine reason.
Contact Your Employer ASAP
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. If there are urgent tasks they want you to complete that day, they can come up with other plans on how someone else will cover for you.
Follow the official protocols when letting them know of your absence. Use the recommended ways of delivering your message.
Follow Your Employer’s Policy
Before telling your employer you need some time off work, check their policy first. Their approach helps you know what is acceptable and expected of you regarding being absent from work.
You can reference your employee handbook or talk to a human resource representative and ensure you follow the laid-out policies. That can save you from trouble.
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, and when a genuine reason comes up, your boss may already have heard more than enough of them. Additionally, you may lose their trust if you’re caught.
Being honest also saves you from thinking of what to say whenever your supervisor asks for updates.
Give Necessary Details
You’re only obligated to give the necessary details when providing an excuse to miss work. Don’t over-explain yourself, especially if the reason is personal; just maintain professionalism and be polite to your employer. If they ask for details that you’re not comfortable sharing, let them know, and do it politely.
For example, you don’t need to tell them all the symptoms if you have a personal illness. Saying something like you have flu or you are feeling unwell is enough.
After you talk to your supervisor and let them know you need to take some time off work to address something, it’s polite to give updates. Updating your boss periodically is especially essential when you take a long time out of work and aren’t sure when you’ll return.
These updates may include an expectation of when you can return to work and any tasks that may be affected due to your absence.
Have a Plan For Covering Missed Work
Have a plan to cover missed work and let your manager know about it. Your absence may affect your work in a way, and you need to let them understand that you’ve plans to make up for the time spent away.
These may include working for more hours once you’re back to work or even working from home. If a meeting is to be held, you may tell them you’ll get notes from a colleague to ensure you don’t miss important information.
If a colleague covers your shift when you’re away, you may devise a plan to work on their behalf in the future. Doing so shows you’re responsible and career conscious.
What is considered a good excuse to miss work?
A good excuse to miss work should be a real, legitimate one.
It’s not supposed to be something you have made up last-minute just to miss work. Your reason could be that you’re feeling sick, bereaving a loved one, or taking care of an emergency.
Something like having a slight headache or feeling tired or unhappy may be considered unprofessional and could make your boss see you as someone who doesn’t take their work seriously.
What are good excuses to leave work early on little notice?
Reasonable excuses to leave work early with late notice include child-related care, pet care, last-minute family arrival, family issue, home break-in, package delivery, utility issue, headache, back pain, stomach issue, menstrual cramps, toothache, contagious sickness, oncoming cold, work injury, and a doctor’s appointment.
What are the best excuses for when it snows to miss work?
When snow hits, getting to work can be impossible, and you must devise appropriate excuses to give your boss. The excuses must be convincing enough since not many employers perceive a snowy day as a solid reason to miss work.
Some of the best excuses include the roads are not safe for driving, or the authorities have advised people to avoid traveling unless it’s for emergency purposes. If you opt to go this route, suggest remote work that you can do, if possible, that can alleviate any issues with you being away.
What are the best excuses to call off work on short notice?
Some of the best last-minute excuses to miss work include feeling sick, having a household problem, or an emergency appointment.
Generally, these excuses need to be unpredictable as it’s unprofessional to give a reason at the last minute when you would have communicated them to your boss several days before.
Can you say you’re feeling tired as an excuse to miss work?
Being tired is not a great reason to miss work unless you’re dealing with constant stress or depression that needs to be addressed. There is a growing movement to destigmatize mental health issues in the workplace, but many employers still do not support mental health concerns as a legitimate reason to miss a day of work.
\Be cautious if you use tiredness as an excuse to miss work on short notice.
Is it a bad sign when you make excuses to miss work?
It is not necessarily a bad sign that you must take an unexpected day off.
If it doesn’t happen very often and you follow the tips above about communicating to your boss that you need to miss work, you should be fine requesting an occasional day off on short notice.
Can you get fired for calling in sick?
If you work in an “at-will” state, an employer can fire you for calling in sick. That said, it’s unlikely that an employer will fire you for taking one sick day or calling out of work occasionally, especially if you follow the tips about communicating with your boss.
What are the best sick excuses to miss work?
Not all sicknesses are considered good excuses for missing work. For example, having a slight headache cannot be a convincing reason for your boss.
Some of the best sick excuses to miss work include body ache, diarrhea, cramping, nausea, fever, etc. You can tell your employer that you’re ill and need to rest or seek treatment.
What are the best last-minute excuses to miss work?
The best last-minute excuses to miss work include personal illness, family emergency, doctor’s appointments, child care, mental health challenges, death of a loved one, and household problems.
In fact, any unforeseen circumstance that requires your attention is among the best last-minute excuses to miss work. Therefore, it has to be something that you couldn’t notify your employer earlier that you’ll have to miss work.
Best Excuses to Miss Work Summary
The most common excuses for missing work include feeling unwell, attending medical appointments, and caring for a loved one. Providing reasonable excuses can go a long way to building a healthy, long-lasting, and productive relationship with your employer. Similarly, if you’re dreaming up “believable excuses,” you’re probably going to send the wrong message.
What are the best excuses to miss work on short notice?
The best reasons to miss work are legitimate ones, such as a car accident, sick leave, family emergency, doctor’s appointment, or a religious holiday.
No matter your reason, ensure that you communicate to your boss on time and let them know you won’t report to work.
How do you ask your boss to miss work?
Don’t wait, be honest, ask other team members to step in, and keep your employer posted when you say you will miss work.
On top of that, be honest, and remember that lies can end up jeopardizing your career. You may also need to share updates, especially if you’re unsure when you can return to work. Additionally, you may have to come up with a plan on how to cover missed work.